Kanawha Co. Educator Named West Virginia History Teacher of the Year

Posted: October 07, 2010
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Drew Wendt, an AP government, civics and community service teacher at Nitro High School in Kanawha County, has been named the 2010 West Virginia History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Preserve America.

Wendt serves a department chairman of social studies and coordinator of community service at Nitro. In addition to participating in drafting the Kanawha County curriculum frameworks for 12th grade, Wendt designed an online civics unit for the West Virginia Department of Education and four separate problem-based learning frameworks for the department’s Teach21 resource.  Under his direction, the student-driven community service projects at Nitro High School have donated more than 12,000 cans of food and given more than $10,000 to charitable causes.

“Great history teachers take required coursework and turn it into a personal experience for their students," said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. "Instead of just telling a story about our past through lectures and textbooks, they encourage students to discover their heritage so that they understand the connection between history and their day-to-day lives.”
Before moving to his current position, Wendt spent three years studying the Constitution in historical context with RESA 3’s Project Teach II, co-coordinated a workshop series with his Central West Virginia Writing Project Fellowship, traveled to Germany with the Goethe-Institute Transatlantic Outreach Program to explore modern Germany, and was named the James Madison Fellow for West Virginia in 2010. He also is the recipient of the Karen Payne Service Learning Award.
Wendt received a $1,000 honorarium. Nitro High School also received a core archive of history books and educational materials from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award is designed to promote, celebrate and encourage the teaching of American history in classrooms across the United States. It honors one exceptional teacher of American history from each state and U.S. territory.
The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards. Through the WVDE’s 21st century learning plan called Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it, West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT, college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.
For more information, contact Joey Wiseman, social studies coordinator at the West Virginia Department of Education, at (304) 558-558-5325, or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

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