2011 Award Nominations Sought! Please see the details in the menu for the McConnell Award and the Preserve America Gilder Lehrman Award. Deadlines for nomination are quickly approaching!


Saline Teacher Jim Cameron Wins Michigan Gilder-Lehrman Award

The Michigan Council for History Education is pleased to announce the selection of James K. Cameron, Saline High School social studies instructor, and the Michigan recipient of the prestigious  2010 Preserve America HISTORY TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Michigan Council for History Education.

With nearly 40 years classroom experience, Cameron is also an active leader in community and state history organizations.  He is an active member of the Saline Area Historical Society, the Michigan Oral History Association, the Historical Society of Michigan, where he chairs the Education Committee, and the Michigan Council for History Education.  He has been MCHE Executive Director since 2000. During that time, he has established the Annette & Jim McConnell Award for Excellence in the Teaching of History, has overseen publication of a quarterly newsletter and a monthly e-newsletter, had coordinated various student contests and projects, and has spearheaded the organization of an annual statewide conference for history educators.

He is chair of the Saline High School Social Studies Department and has served on various Michigan Department of Education Task Forces and committees. His work with MDE includes writing objectives, test items for assessment and curriculum development.

Cameron has also taught as adjunct Professor at Eastern Michigan University, the University of Michigan, and Madonna University.  He frequently is a consultant for Teaching American History grants in school districts across the United States.

His publications include: “Immigration to Saline and Michigan”; “Forging the Peninsulas” (advisor to author);  “ Tests for Forging the Peninsulas,” author; “Michigan Teacher,” newsletter of the Center for Teaching Michigan History, editor; “Ends and Beginnings,” newsletter of the Michigan Council for History  Education, editor; and  Voices Over The Valley, An Oral History of the Saline Valley Farms, Author. 2004.  He is currently doing research on the history of Blaney Park in the Upper Peninsula.

His undergraduate degree is from Kalamazoo College and he holds two Master’s Degrees from Eastern Michigan University.

The History Teacher of the Year Award, under the rubric of Preserve America, recognizes outstanding American history teachers from elementary school through high school, and the crucial importance of American history education. Finalists are selected from each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools, and U.S. Territories. These winners, in turn, become finalists for the National History Teacher of the Year designation.


McConnell Award Winners

Kathryn Hibrar’s was this year’s Annette and Jim McConnell Elementary History Teacher of the Year.  Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Arts, 1993, Alma College, a Master of Library and Information Science, Wayne State University, 1999, and additional graduate coursework Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University all of which she has used to construct an outstanding interactive learning environment in the Warren Woods Public School System.  Kathryn’s background in teaching include positions as a third grade classroom teacher, classroom teacher, St. Clement Elementary, Center Line, MI, fifth grade teacher (1993-96) and Sixth Grade Teacher (1996-97), and since 2009 has been teaching in the Warren Woods Public Schools.

Hibrar’s many accomplishments include successful participation in the Library of Congress Institute: Teaching with Primary Sources, Genesee Intermediate School District, summer 2009, National Writing Project Fellow, 2005-present.  Additionally she also has published “A Journey Toward Inquiry: Implementing the Standards in a Fixed-Schedule Environment.”  Knowledge Quest (Journal of the American Association of School Librarians), Nov./Dec. 2009, 20-23, In the Company of Writers 2005, Weekly Reader Teacher’s Press, 2007. Co-edited and contributed to an anthology of writings created during the 2005 Summer Institute of the Meadow Brook Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project. Over her career Kathryn has also received the Trophy for Outstanding Graduate, Alma College, 1993, a Graduate Professional Scholarship from Wayne State University, 1998-99, and was awarded the Warren Woods Elementary Teacher of the Year, 2001.


This year’s Annette and Jim McConnell Secondary History Teacher of the Year was Marc de Zwaan who is currently teaching at the International Academy, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Hills, MI.  His academic background is stellar and includes undergraduate work at the University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands, with international experience at the University of Sussex, Brighton, England.  Marc holds two Masters Degrees, one completed in 1997 with a Major in History from the University of Groningen and a second Master’s completed in Education from the same university in 1998.  As if that was not enough, due to licensing requirements from the state of Michigan, Marc also completed a second undergraduate degree from Wayne State University.

Marc’s teaching experience is reflective of his international educational experiences with teaching positions in Augustinus High School, in Groningen, Netherlands (97) where he started his career to a short stint as the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (98), before moving on to the  Parkway Christian School, located in Sterling Heights (99-02).  Since 2002 he has been teaching at the International Academy located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan as an IB History instructor.

Over his career Marc de Zwaan has received a number of prestigious awards including twice being selected to participate in the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American Hisotory’s summer institutes on, The Global Cold War, and The Civil Rights Movement at Cambridge University. He also represented Michigan at the 2006 Presidential Academy for American History & Civics; the Academy is a result of a 2005 grant from the U.S. Department of Education; a two-time winner of A&E’s national The Idea Book for Educators teachers contest; and developed grant-winning innovative learning experiences for students in the field of history. Perhaps one of the more prestigious accomplishments was finishing second in a Dutch national education contest where he created an educational web site for high school students regarding Holocaust Denial. Lastly, Marc de Zwaan was also awarded a research scholarship by the Schuurman Schimmel-van Outeren Society.


The Annette and Jim McConnell Preservice Teacher of the Year Award this year was presented to Danielle Doski of Michigan State University.  As a preservice teacher Danielle displays all of the qualities one hopes to find from a teacher at the beginning of their career including a love of the content, and a willingness to put in the extra time it takes to provide quality learning experiences for her elementary students.  Danielle’s award winning lesson included primary sources that explored the copper mining industry in Michigan.  Ms. Doski has also gathered international experience when she traveled to South Africa, and worked in a local school through her connections with the host family.