Flathead High School social studies teacher and department head Sean O’Donnell has been named the Montana history teacher of the year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
The award honors educators for exemplary work in the classroom. Teachers receiving the award have shown creativity, imagination and a commitment to teaching American history, both state and local, in the classroom, according to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. These teachers have also demonstrated use of primary resources to engage students in the classroom, discussing and debating history.
The institute, headquartered in New York, is a nonprofit “devoted to the improvement of history education.”
Some of his current students noted O’Donnell’s passion for good stories, well-rounded source material, enthusiasm for history and concern for students.
“He really spices up the curriculum. I can’t think of another teacher who had a bigger influence on me,” senior Chloe Marum said in a press release.
In addition to teaching, he is a speech and debate coach and organized the History Book Club for Flathead and Glacier high school teachers. O’Donnell has also served as an adjunct professor of U.S. history at Flathead Valley Community College.
The award represents a team effort of the entire social studies department, which works together to plan lessons and activities.
“I couldn’t have done it without this department. It was more than just me,” O’Donnell stated in the press release.
O’Donnell will receive $1,000 and the Flathead library will receive an archive of books and historical resources.
A national history teacher of the year will be selected from state winners and honored at a ceremony in New York City.