Beth Randolph, a teacher in the Fayette County Public Schools, is Kentucky's 2009 History Teacher of the Year.
In addition to a $1,000 prize, she now will be in the running for the National History Teacher of the Year award this fall.
Randolph has been a fifth-grade teacher at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington since 1988. She completed her bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education at the University of Kentucky.
The state history teacher award is administered by the Kentucky Historical Society and is sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
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"Ms. Randolph's active, hands-on classroom projects, in- and out-of-state field trips and overall love of American history convinced the judges that she deserved honor," said Rebecca Hanly, administrator of the Kentucky Historical Society's teacher and student outreach program.
"One judge even noted, 'I wish she was everyone's fifth-grade teacher.'"
Randolph tries to make history come alive for students. For example, she had her students observe President Obama's inauguration in January by dressing up as former presidents, former first ladies and other women of note in American history. They then gave speeches about the major accomplishments of the historical figures they were portraying.
Randolph won the state VFW Citizenship Education Award in 2004, and also has been a semi-finalist for Kentucky Teacher of the Year.