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For Immediate Release
Friday, October 24, 2008
Contact:Heidi Guarino 781-338-3106 or JC Considine 781-338-3112

Massachusetts Educator Named National History Teacher of the Year

MALDEN - - A Masconomet Regional High School history teacher has been named the nation's 2008 Preserve America History Teacher of the Year.

David B. Mitchell was named the state's 2008 Preserve America History Teacher of the Year in June, and was selected out of the pool of state winners as the national honoree. First Lady Laura Bush presented him with the award at a ceremony on Friday at the Union League Club in New York City.

Governor Deval Patrick offered his congratulations.

"Nothing makes a bigger difference in the education of a child than a great teacher. Believe me, I know," said Governor Patrick. "I am proud of David and the example he sets."

Mitchell is a Wakefield resident, and has taught History/Social Studies at Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield since 1995.

"The single most important school-based factor in student academic success is teacher quality," Education Secretary Paul Reville said. "David provides a wonderful example of our many dedicated educators who inspire our students to achieve and challenge them with consistently high expectations while providing the content, skill and support students need in order to be successful. I congratulate David on this extraordinary and well deserved recognition."

Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Mitchell D. Chester agreed.

"This is a remarkable honor in recognition of a remarkable teacher," Chester said. "David embodies the finest qualities of educators all across the Commonwealth. He is deeply committed to the excellence of each of his students, and strives each day to instill in them a passion for lifelong learning. I am proud to join David's family, colleagues, and students in congratulating him on this accomplishment."

Mitchell began his career with Teach for America at an elementary school in Los Angeles. He is known for his use of primary source documents to help students feel the "pulse" of history, and encourages his students to spend as much time generating thoughtful questions as getting the right answers.

"He is truly inspiring," wrote Masconomet Regional High Social Studies Department Chair Patricia Puglisi in her letter of recommendation on Mitchell's behalf. "To be able to watch David in action as he introduces students to the documents and guides them through their understanding of historical events is even more inspiring."

All Masconomet U.S. History students participate in a year-long research project focused on their family's history during their junior year. This project requires students to conduct historical research to see the unfolding of 20th century American history through the eyes of their grandparents and other ancestors. Students then prepare a 40-page, four-chapter volume that is published, bound, and presented as a gift or family keepsake at a year-end appreciation dinner.

Launched in 2004, the Preserve America History Teacher of the Year award is a White House initiative and is administered and funded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History. This is the fifth year of the award. The initiative was developed to encourage and support community efforts to preserve and enjoy the nation's cultural and national heritage. Additional information on Preserve America is located online at

Last Updated: October 24, 2008
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