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Erin Glenn-2017 Outstanding Middle Level Social Studies Teacher of the Year

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) named Erin Glenn, a National Board Certified eighth grade teacher at East Lake Academy of Fine Arts Middle School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as Outstanding Middle Level Social Studies Teacher of the Year. Glenn will be honored at the 97th NCSS Annual Conference in San Francisco (Nov. 17-19, 2017), and will receive a commemorative gift and a cash award at the Conference Welcome Breakfast on Friday, Nov. 17 at the Moscone Center. 

"To be selected for this award requires that an individual exemplify exceptional education skills. Ms. Erin Glenn exhibits such skills with her students, and using project-based learning and her passion for social studies she ensures that her classroom models research-supported practices. Ms. Glenn is also recognized by various social studies organizations and her peers as an exceptional leader. Thank you, Ms. Glenn for leading your students and colleagues with truth and knowledge," said NCSS President Terry Cherry, “it is an honor for NCSS to recognize your commitment to providing students with the essential knowledge, understandings, and critical thinking skills that give your students the tools necessary to be independent critical thinkers and learners,” he added.

“NCSS is proud to honor Ms. Glenn and her commitment to bringing real-world skills and experiences into her students’ learning. She is a recognized education leader and deeply committed to inquiry in the social studies classroom,” said NCSS Executive Director Dr. Lawrence Paska.

“As an educator, I am responsible for teaching students how to think, not simply what to think, an understanding that will ensure their preparedness for life beyond the classroom,” said Erin Glenn. 

Based on this belief, Glenn’s instruction is driven by the overarching ideal that every student must be equipped with skills to problem solve, critically think, evaluate evidence and prove real-life application of classroom instruction. 

To actively engage her students, Glenn embeds project-based instruction and cooperative learning in their classroom studies. Found in her use of empathy maps, she provides opportunities for students to evaluate historic events from a humanistic perspective. Integrated in their exploration of Shays Rebellion and the Trail of Tears, students are provided guiding questions to evaluate history through multiple lenses. Recognizing the need to foster a spirit of inquiry, she also facilitates classroom debates, one of which, engaged students in their understanding of the preamble to the Constitution. Students gathered and evaluated evidence to determine, “if we have achieved a more perfect union?” Their inquiry began in small groups and concluded with a court room styled classroom debate where students used current events to support or refute this ideal.

Glenn has served as a member of the Tennessee Department of Education’s Social Studies Educator Advisory Committee to draft curriculum standards, as a TNCore United States History and Geography Coach, an Alternative Standards Setting Committee member and as an item reviewer of field test questions for standardized assessments. Within her local district she’s worked to restructure professional learning through a Teach To Lead initiative offered by the US Department of Education known as the Teacher Think Tank. In addition to receiving state recognition as Outstanding Middle Level Teacher by the Tennessee Council for the Social Studies, she is a board member for Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance and a steering committee member for Chattanooga 2.0.

Glenn obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Master of Science in Education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Tennessee. Fellowship involvements with the State Collaborative On Reforming Education (SCORE) and the Hope Street Group provided her a thorough examination of education policy and a firm foundation to advocate those that promote equitable outcomes for all students.

Established in 1983, the Outstanding Middle Level Social Studies Teacher of the Year award recognizes annually a middle level social studies teacher demonstrating exceptional teaching abilities that include integrating key concepts of the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. For more information visit: http://www.socialstudies.org/awards/teaching.