Rebekah West Keur, M.Ed., a Digital Learning Center (DLC) social studies teacher at Sunrise Middle School, is nominated for the 2021 Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award in the junior division of the National History Day (NHD) National Contest.

“While I am very honored to be nominated for this award, as it pays tribute to my hard work and dedication to my students and their learning, it is only part of the reward I receive from this experience,” says West Keur. “Honestly working with my students in such an authentic way and helping them grow as passionate learners who are falling in love with history and the learning process is the most rewarding thing.”

Each of the 58 National History Day affiliates may nominate one middle school teacher for this award, and West Keur is the junior division nominee from Arizona. Every nominee for the $10,000 award is a teacher who demonstrates a commitment to engaging students in historical learning through innovative use of primary sources, implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical thinking skills, and participation in the National History Day Contest. All nominees will receive $500 as a result of their nominations.

West Keur will use the award money to further her education, as she is currently a doctoral student at Arizona State University (ASU). “In addition to my role as a middle school gifted specialist teaching in the DLC program at Sunrise Middle School, I am also an adjunct professor with Maricopa Community Colleges and an Academic Associate with ASU, teaching in their Master’s of Education in Gifted Curriculum and Instruction program under Dr. Dina Brulles,” she shares.

The national winner will be selected by a committee of experienced teachers and historians, and announced on Saturday, June 19, at the National History Day National Contest Awards Ceremony.Nominees’ work must clearly illustrate the development and use of creative teaching methods that engage students in history and help them make exciting discoveries about the past.

“The nominees for the Behring Award have shown a dedication to teaching that goes beyond the classroom,” says Dr. Cathy Gorn, National History Day executive director. “These educators are leading examples for their peers and invaluable resources for their students. I congratulate Mrs. West Keur on her well-deserved nomination.”

West Keur has been a teacher in PVSchools since 2014, having been recruited from Cartwright School District. Previously she was a teacher in Michigan and has been teaching for 12 years, in total, including internationally.