The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) announced recently that Donnie Wilkerson, a teacher at Jamestown Elementary School (Russell County) has been named the 2011 Kentucky History Teacher of the Year.

Wilkerson has been teaching at Jamestown Elementary for seven years after a diverse career that included owning several businesses and serving as the mayor of Jamestown from 1993-98.

As a 5th-grade American history teacher, Wilkerson quickly became a leader with both students and colleagues. He has presented workshops to other teachers and has brought the past to life for his students through exciting class lessons and field trips to places such as Locust Grove and Constitution Square – extracurricular options he provides for students on Saturdays called “Kentucky Adventures.”

Wilkerson will receive a $1,000 honorarium and will be in the running to be named the National History Teacher of the Year this fall. Jamestown Elementary will be named a Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School, and its library will receive a core archive of history books and educational materials from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and HISTORY. Wilkerson also will receive an invitation to a Gilder Lehrman summer seminar and the opportunity to participate in KHS’s Kentucky History Educational Conference this July.

Inaugurated in 2004, the National History Teacher of the Year Award promotes and celebrates the teaching of American history in classrooms across the United States. The award honors one exceptional K-12 teacher of American history from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and U.S. Territories. The selection of the state winner is based upon several criteria, including: at least three years of classroom experience in teaching American history; creativity and imagination in the classroom that address literacy and content beyond state standards; close attention to primary documents, artifacts, historic sites and other primary materials of history, including oral history; and evidence of thoughtful assessment of student achievement.