Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award Winners Announced!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two outstanding teachers received honors today as National History Day (NHD) announced the recipients of the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award. Mrs. Sherry Holder of Conway, Arkansas (junior division) and Ms. Barrie Moorman of Washington, D.C. (senior division) received the top honors this year. Each was recognized at the NHD Contest award ceremony on June 18, 2015 at the Xfinity Center on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park. This prestigious award is granted to one middle and one high school teacher annually. Eligible National History Day teachers can submit nominations or be nominated by a peer. Recipients of the national award are selected from the winners of the 57 state and affiliate winners of the prize. State and affiliate honorees receive $500. For being national winners, Mrs. Holder and Ms. Moorman will each receive $10,000.

Winners are selected by a committee of educators and historians. The panel considers commitment to student development, creativity in the classroom, and inspiring students to engage with history.

“Teachers are the best tool a student can have,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Mrs. Holder and Ms. Moorman are both amazing examples of the impact teachers can have on students. They have shown an alacrity for engaging their students and inspiring them to learn beyond the classroom. I am truly in awe of the amazing work these two teachers have accomplished.”

Mrs. Sherry Holder is an 8th grade teacher at Conway Junior High School in Conway, Arkansas. She is known for using primary source material to engage students in discussion of historical issues. She used nineteenth century articles from the Arkansas Gazette to encourage discussion of issues prior to statehood in Arkansas. Her colleagues wrote of her deep passion and commitment to student success including taking on tasks above and beyond their expectations of her.

Ms. Barrie Moorman teaches 10th and 12th grades at E. L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Ms. Moorman organized her school’s inaugural History Day Contest. By using NHD’s project based learning, she helped students learn how to take advantage of the resources available to them in the District. Her peers speak of an unfailing encouragement and dedication to students and a willingness to take on challenging projects and achieve great success.

Teachers are assessed on their use of creative and engaging teaching methods. The assessment panel considers examples of the following:

  • Active learning projects, such as mock debates or oral history projects;
    Innovative use of primary sources;
  • Integrated communication technology in history research and classroom learning;
  • The use of teaching methods that build a range of skills in students as they study history;
  • Exemplary support and guidance for students working on History Day projects; and
  • Encouragement of students to use their understanding of history to become engaged, informed citizens in their community and beyond.

“Both Mrs. Holder and Ms. Moorman demonstrated a strong commitment to their students and the goals of National History Day to inspire learning and appreciation of history,” said Gorn. “I congratulate them on this high honor.”

This award is sponsored by Mrs. Patricia Behring, a long-time champion of classroom teachers. She sponsors this award to recognize the expertise, commitment, and hours of work teachers spend supporting young historians preparing for National History Day.

Nominations for state and affiliate awards are submitted to respective coordinators of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and international schools in Central America, China, Korea, and South Asia. For a list of all affiliates, please click here.

About National History Day:NHD is a non-profit education organization in College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD offers year-long academic programs that engage over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local and affiliate levels, where the top student projects have the opportunity to advance to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD also seeks to improve the quality of history education by providing professional development opportunities and curriculum materials for educators. NHD is sponsored in part by Kenneth E. Behring, Patricia Behring, HISTORY®, Jostens, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Joe Weider Foundation, and the WEM 2000 Foundation of the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation. For more information, visit

Lynne O'Hara
Director of Programs
Phone: 484-919-2595
Press Release