Mark Howell, a social studies teacher at Westlake High School, was recently named the 2012 Maryland History Teacher of the Year by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Preserve America and HISTORY®. The award recognizes teachers who display a commitment to teaching American history, exhibit creativity and imagination in the classroom, and use artifacts, historic sites, oral histories and other resources to actively engage students in learning.
Howell was selected for the state honor for his career achievements in education and for the level of inspiration he provides to his students. He was nominated for the award by Westlake Principal Chrystal Benson for his passion and dedication for teaching, for helping to develop partnerships as part of the Civics Mosaic project, and for his support of his peers.
"During my 20 years of being an educator, I have seldom come across a teacher who ensures that all students are successful. Mr. Howell truly starts at the level where the student is and takes the student to the level where they need to be. He is truly mesmerizing," Benson wrote in a nomination letter.
As the state awardee, Howell receives a $1,000 award, an archive of books and resources for Westlake's library and an invitation to attend the 2013 Gilder Lehrman Teacher seminar. He is also eligible for the National History Teacher of the Year award, of which the winner will be announced this fall.
Throughout his 32-year career in education, Howell has taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels. He was instrumental in bringing the Civics Mosaic partnership and Civic Voices instruction to students in Charles County. In 2003, CCPS launched a partnership with a school in Penza, Russia through the Civics Mosaic program, in which students learn about political systems and ideology through the use of comparative methods. Howell was chosen as one of two initial Mosaic Fellows and traveled to Russia to collaborate with teachers and teach with students.
Howell teaches a range of social studies classes at Westlake, including local, state and national (LSN) government and U.S. History, as well as several Advanced Placement (AP) classes. In 2010, he was named the Charles County Public Schools Teacher of the Year and was one of seven Maryland Teacher of the Year 2010 award finalists.
For more information about the National History Teacher of the Year awards program, visit http://www.gilderlehrman.org/programs-exhibitions/national-history-teacher-year.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,700 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 35 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator (students), or Keith Hettel, Section 504 Coordinator (employees/adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, Maryland 20646; (301) 932-6610/870-3814. For special accommodations call (301) 934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.