July 17, 2021 Submitted by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Christina O’Connor, a teacher at Hingham High School, has been named the 2021 Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year, an award presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to K-12 American history education.
In 2021, parents, students, teachers, and administrators nationwide nominated a record 8,510 teachers for the History Teacher of the Year Award. Amidst a very competitive field, Christina O’Connor rose to the top in Massachusetts.
Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary school through high school. The award honors one K-12 teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and US Territories. In fall 2021, the National History Teacher of the Year will be selected from the pool of state winners.
A member of Hingham High School’s social studies department since 2002, Christina O’Connor has taught A.P. United States History, American Studies, American Political System, and two original senior seminars in the Civil Rights Movement and World War II. She takes a highly scholarly approach to teaching history: investigating primary documents, considering alternate and diverse perspectives, and challenging students to think historically, all while making connections to the present. At the same time, she embeds into her lessons the development of critical, historical thinking and writing skills. Over the years, Ms. O’Connor has been chosen for several highly selective, national professional development programs that she has used to promote her students’ engagement with history, including the National History Day/American Battle Monuments Commission’s Understanding Sacrifice and Memorializing the Fallen programs, as well as the Albert H. Small Sacrifice for Freedom Institute. She was Massachusetts’ winner for the senior division of the National History Day Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award in 2016. In addition, Ms. O’Connor was recently selected to serve as a master teacher to design a set of National History Day student guides utilizing the Library of Congress. Ms. O’Connor earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies at Mount Holyoke College and her Master of Arts in Teaching Social Studies from Brown University.
In addition to a $1,000 honorarium, Christina O’Connor’s school will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials and recognition at a ceremony in Massachusetts.
The 10 finalists for the National History Teacher of the Year Award will be announced on Thursday, September 9, with the national winner announced later that month. An in-person ceremony for the winner will be held in late fall 2021, health and safety protocols permitting. Support for the National History Teacher of the Year Award ceremony is provided by HISTORY®
Nominations for the 2022 History Teacher of the Year awards are now open. Students, parents, colleagues, and supervisors may nominate K-12 teachers for the award by visiting gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy. The deadline for 2022 nominations is March 31, 2022.