CALDWELL — Mari Harris, a teacher at Vallivue High School, was named the 2017 Idaho History Teacher of the Year, an award presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
The award highlights the importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary school through high school. The award honors one K-12 teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and U.S. territories. The National History Teacher of the Year will be selected in the fall from the pool of state winners.
Harris is an advocate for history education in Idaho, increasing student engagement with history and civics education. In addition to teaching at Vallivue, Harris is the social studies department chairwoman, National Honor Society adviser, a facilitator for Project Archaeology and a member of the Idaho State Historical Society Education committee.
“You don’t learn history to avoid repeating the past,” Harris said in a press release. “You learn history to see the lessons that we need to pay attention to in the future.”
Harris received her bachelor’s degrees in history and secondary education in 2006 from the University of Idaho and completed a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from UI in 2013.
In addition to a $1,000 honorarium and an award ceremony in Idaho, Harris’ school library will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials. Harris will also receive an invitation to a 2018 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar, a weeklong program that offers teachers daily discussions with eminent historians, visits to historic sites and hands-on work with primary sources.
The National History Teacher of the Year award will be presented by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner at a ceremony in New York City on Nov. 8.