In a diverse student environment, under limited standards of learning restraints, Alexandria teacher Stacy Hoeflich, relied on her creativity and passion for teaching to make history come alive for her students.
On July 10, Hoeflich, a fourth-grade teacher at John Adams Elementary School in Alexandria, was awarded the first Mount Vernon History Teacher of the Year Award for her efforts.
Hoeflich loves the diverse students she has in her class, and recognized that some students value history and social studies more than others, so she makes the lessons fun. Many times Hoeflich uses pictures and political cartoons to cross any language barriers and the students have responded. You have to tell it like a story; we do act things out, she said.
Gay Hart Gaines, a member of the Mount Vernon Womens Association, presented the award, recognizing Hoeflich as an instructor who brings creativity and passion.
At the awards ceremony at Mount Vernon, Hoeflich clutched the wooden George Washington bust trophy at the podium. I couldnt be more honored, she said, before launching into a story from one of her memorable moments at John Adams about the value of social studies and teaching in general. On a winter day, under a lot of stress, she was making a comparison involving a Trent Lott – Strom Thurmon incident, and John Rolfe and tobacco. It made sense to one student, who recognized the impact that todays events have on the future, fueling Hoeflichs teaching efforts just when her enthusiasm was suffering. He reminded me that the teaching I do is way more important than a job, she said.
Hoeflich was one of six nominees from the metropolitan Washington area nominated for the award, which was supported by an endowment established by the Robertson Foundation. The award recognition was open to any teacher in the Washington, D.C., area who teaches American History in grades 3-12, and has been a teacher for at least two years.
In addition to the trophy, Hoeflich also received $5,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Mount Vernon for 200 students next year. Since there are about 80 to 100 fourth graders at the school next year, she will include other grades as well.
Hoeflich is a native of New Jersey and has taught at John Adams for the past 10 years. She has embraced the diversity that is present in all the Alexandria City Public Schools, and credits the whole staff. I have a really great team at John Adams; I think were making a difference, she said. Mary J. Gibson, principal at John Adams, noted her energy, enthusiasm, and dedication on a daily basis.