RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Cleveland High School teacher Ella-Kari Loftfield has been named the 2014 New Mexico History Teacher of the Year.
The award, sponsored by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the HISTORY organization and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on behalf of its Preserve America program, was presented to Loftfield earlier this month.
She will receive $1,000 and be in the running to be named the 2014 National History Teacher of the Year this fall
In addition, the CHS library will receive a core archive of history books and educational materials from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and HISTORY. She also will be invited to a 2014 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar and Cleveland will be named a Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School.
Loftfield began her teaching career in the Los Angeles Unified School and returned to her home state of New Mexico in 1994 to teach at Lincoln Middle School.
She spent almost 20 years teaching middle school students and then moved to Cleveland, where she teaches advanced placement and regular U.S. history.
Loftfield deepened her love for history by returning to school to earn a master’s in history at the University of New Mexico. She expects to complete her thesis, “Yes, No, Maybe: The Tule Lake Pilgrimage, a Memorial to the Patriotism of Dissent” this year.
She is a national board certified teacher and mentors teachers working on their own certification. She was the only middle school teacher in New Mexico to work on a curriculum project for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. She also was a participant in two multi-year Teaching American History grants that emphasized the integration of content and literacy.
Loftfield believes that students deserve to be challenged and that, given the right support, they can and will rise to the challenge. In her classroom, students have the opportunity to approach history intellectually through the evaluation of evidence from a wide range of resources, and build historical empathy for the men, women, and children who experienced the events.
“This award gives us the chance to recognize great history teachers across the country,” said Lesley S. Herrmann, executive director of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “It puts exceptional educators front and center.”