Justin Mitchell, a social studies teacher at Franklin-Simpson Middle School in Simpson County, has been named the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) 2021 Kentucky History Teacher of the Year.
The award, presented by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, recognizes K-12 educators who have a demonstrated commitment to teaching American history, evidence of using creativity and imagination in the classroom, and who effectively use primary sources to engage students.
Mitchell has taught 8th grade social studies at Franklin-Simpson Middle School since 2010. He also serves as the gifted and talented coordinator, as a school-based decision making council member and as a sponsor for a variety of student clubs.
“[History] is the subject where, as a teacher, I can be creative in how I reach students. I get to be a storyteller, actor, tour guide, archeologist, comedian and artist — all in the course of a week,” he said.
His goal as educator “is to raise up incredible citizens who actively participate in their community, state and nation.”
Mitchell received a bachelor’s in social studies and history and a master’s in education from Western Kentucky University (WKU). He is currently a doctoral candidate at WKU for educational leadership.
Mitchell will receive a $1,000 honorarium, an archive of classroom resources and recognition at KHS’s Annual History Awards. He becomes one of 54 finalists for the National History Teacher of the Year Award, which carries a $10,000 prize and will be announced in September.