Tiedra Hutchings, Crim Open Campus’ 2010-2011 Teacher of the Year, is attending the HistoryMakers 2010 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institute on African American Political History, through July 31. Hutchings was the only teacher in Georgia to be awarded the NEH scholarship for The HistoryMakers Education Institute, as well as being one out of 25 in the nation to win also. But this isn’t the only award the APS teacher has won lately. Hutchings, who has been teaching for 12 years, is also a semifinalist for APS’ Teacher of the Year. And last year, Hutchings received a Fund for Teachers grant. With this grant she and colleague Reosha Bush created a research project called “Tracing the Origin of Georgia.” Hutchings traveled to London and Bush traveled to Savannah to discover everything they could about James Oglethorpe, the founder of the state of Georgia.
Hutchings seems to have a phenomenal thirst for knowledge beyond just teaching. “What excites me the most is that I will be among an elite group of scholars from around the world who have a passion for learning how to incorporate the wide gap between what scholars of African-American history have documented and what is currently being taught in American history and civics courses,” Hutchings said. Hutchings’ obvious enthusiasm and understanding of history is something that she hopes the HistoryMakers Institute will help her convey to her students. “I want to use this new found information in periods through Georgia history where African Americans played key roles in the political movements of this nation,” she said. Hutchings wants to incorporate African-American history through oral presentations, thinking maps, interactive videos and many other activities.
Hutchings and the group will gather for four weeks at the HistoryMakers Summer Institute in Chicago to learn about black political history as it relates to the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president, and learn ways to add this new era into their curriculum. Hutchings says she can’t wait for her students to “open their minds to exploring more about African-American political history as it relates to the development of Georgia.”