Teachers from Indiana, Arizona and Utah Receive American Civic Education Teacher Awards

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., June 15, 2012 — Teachers from Indiana, Arizona and Utah are recipients of the 2012 American Civic Education Teacher Awards, recognizing their exemplary work preparing young people to become informed and engaged citizens. The ACETA winners are: Kevin Cline of Frankton Jr. Sr. High School in Frankton, Ind.; Jaime Festa-Daigle of Lake Havasu High School in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; and Richard Ochoa, of Alta High School in Sandy, Utah.

The awards are given annually to elementary and secondary teachers of civics, government and related subjects who have demonstrated exceptional expertise, dynamism and creativity in motivating students to learn about the Constitution, Congress and public policy.  

ACETA is sponsored by the Center on Congress, the Center for Civic Education, and the National Education Association.

Charles N. Quigley, Executive Director of the Center for Civic Education, praised Cline, Festa-Daigle and Ochoa for their dedication to teaching young people the responsibilities of citizenship in our democracy. “It is an honor to recognize teachers who are so enthusiastic about imparting the fundamental values and principles of our constitutional system of government,” Quigley said.

Lee Hamilton, Director of the Center on Congress, lauded the awardees as “guardians of representative democracy” who are “helping students develop the knowledge and skills to work within the political process to improve their communities and our nation.” In presenting the awards, Hamilton said, “We call public attention to the fact that many teachers across the nation are doing a superb job molding the civic character of America’s youth.”

“NEA commends the awardees for their commitment to helping students learn how to think critically and work collaboratively to solve problems — skills that are essential for America to advance in the 21st century,” said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel.

The selected teachers join a distinguished group of 18 prior honorees who have been chosen since the ACETA program began in 2006. The previous awardees are:

Jim Bentley (Foulks Ranch Elementary School, Elk Grove, Calif.)

Nate Breen (Cheyenne Central High School, Cheyenne, Wyo.)

Sally Broughton (Monforton Elementary School, Bozeman, Mont.)

Christopher Cavanaugh (Plainfield High School, Plainfield, Ind.)

Cheryl Cook-Kallio (Irvington High School, Fremont, Calif.)

Mary Ellen Daneels (Community High School, West Chicago, Ill.)

Barbara Simpson Ector (Cleveland Middle School, Cleveland, Tenn.)

Kevin Fox (Arcadia High School, Arcadia, Calif.)

Milton Hyams (Incline High School, Incline Village, Nev.)

Cindy Jarrett (Durant Road Elementary School, Raleigh, N.C.)

Tamara Johnson (Kettle Moraine High School, Wales, Wis.)

Julie Kuhnhein (Highlands High School, Fort Thomas, Ky.)

Galelyn McElroy (Central High School Magnet Career Academy, Louisville, Ky.)

Mark Oglesby (Howell High School, Howell, Mich.)

Donna Paoletti Phillips (Robert Frost Middle School, Rockville, Md.)

Sarah Ann Richardson Turpin (Clemson Elementary School, Clemson, S.C.)

Jackie Viana (Hialeah Gardens Middle School, Hialeah Gardens, Fla.)

Gregory Walsh (Falls Church High School, Falls Church, Va.)

Each year the ACETA program selects and showcases three teachers whose students represent the diversity of the American public and private school systems. Applicants must be full-time classroom teachers of grades K–12. There is no fee to apply. In addition to a two-page self-portrait essay, applicants must submit three letters of recommendation — two from teaching peers and one from their school principal. 

About the Sponsoring Organizations

The Center on Congress (www.centeroncongress.org) is a nonpartisan educational institution established in 1999 to help improve the public’s understanding of Congress and to encourage civic engagement.

The Center for Civic Education (www.civiced.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to fostering the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy.

The National Education Association (www.nea.org) is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.