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Ryan New-2017 Outstanding Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) named Ryan New, a teacher at Boyle County High School in Danville, Kentucky, as Outstanding Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year. New 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 from award co-sponsor, the  Newseum, at the Conference Welcome Breakfast on Friday, Nov. 17 at the Moscone Center. 

“We are thrilled to honor Mr. New, a teacher committed to preparing his students for college, career and civic life through the use of inquiry-based learning strategies that provide students the tools and thinking skills to independently or collaboratively gain understanding about an issue, assess potential approaches to an issue, and use the gained understandings and knowledge to take informed action,” said NCSS President Terry Cherry.

“NCSS is proud to honor Mr. New, his dedication to his students, and his passion for fostering inquiry to make social studies learning come alive in his classroom,” said NCSS Executive Director Dr. Lawrence Paska.

New believes that gaining knowledge through investigation, inquiry-based learning, is the cornerstone to students broadening their understandings of themselves and the world. Using the Inquiry Design Model (IDM), a distinctive approach to creating instructional materials inspired by the NCSS College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards, New has developed lessons that enable his students to take control of their own learning, learn to ask questions, utilize sources to derive answers, and communicate their findings and/or take action. 

“The process of inquiry is transformative, my role as teacher is not that of holder and provider of knowledge, but rather that of guide in helping every student unlock the messiness of finding out the world for themselves,” said New. 

Throughout the year, New’s students keep a digital portfolio and track reflections and evolving understandings about taking informed action in their class, community, state, and nation. The compelling question, “What makes a good citizen?” has resulted in motivating them to become involved in everything from planning their school’s Veteran’s Day assembly, to helping the local health department inform the community about their new needle exchange program, to participating in the Women’s March the day after the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.

New has been instrumental in bringing inquiry-based instruction through the use of IDM to the Boyle County School District, which is planning to pilot a deeper learning initiative using the IDM as a vehicle to implement inquiry in other content areas.

New helped write the new “Kentucky Academic Social Studies Standards,” recently had a chapter published in “Teach on Purpose: Responsive Teaching for Student Success,” and has presented at the annual Kentucky Council for the Social Studies (KCSS) Conference and the Kentucky Historical Society Educational Conference. In 2014, New was named as the KCSS high school teacher of the year and in 2016 was elected KCSS President. He was recently named as a semi-finalist in the Valvoline Kentucky Teacher of the Year contest as one of the top three high school teachers in Kentucky. 

New received a Bachelor of Arts in classical studies and history at Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, and holds a Master of Arts in history from Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky, and a Master of Arts in teaching from University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg, Kentucky. He is currently pursuing an educational doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Kentucky, Lexington in addition to a master’s degree in leadership at Campbellsville University, Campbellsville, Kentucky.