James Percoco

US and Applied History, Grades 11-12, West Springfield High School Springfield, Virginia

Total years as a classroom teacher: 31


Western Michigan University M.A. 1980
Temple University B.S., Secondary Edu./Social Studies 1979

Teaching Experience

1980-Present Grades 9-12, West Springfield High School, Springfield, Virginia

Special Recognition

2010 State Teacher of the Year Award Within a Discipline, History
2010 Virginia Preserve America Teacher of the Year Award, Gilder-Lehrman Institute of History
2010 Fairfax County Virginia Certificate of Recognition
2009 Mount Vernon Teacher of the Year
1998 USA Today Award
1993 Disney Award, Social Studies Teacher of the Year
1993 Archivist’s Award of Achievement, National Archives and Records Administration


  • Mr. Percoco believes that history did not happen inside the four
    walls of a classroom or between the cover of a book. It happened out in
    the world, and to that world students are dispatched. Rather than simply
    pursue textbook knowledge, students encounter real-world learning
    through a series of individualized field trips. For students “history”
    becomes not only a chronicle of past events, but a genuine predictor of
    the road that lies ahead.


  • Mr. Percoco believes that students and teachers work best together
    when it becomes a genuinely shared experience. He lets his students know
    that he likes his job, that he likes working with young people, and
    that he derives great joy from his students’ successes, taking them and
    their lives seriously. He also finds it equally important to not take
    himself too seriously. He believes that authentic teaching of history is
    really rooted in leading young people on a voyage of discovery; a
    journey where they uncover who they are, who they are becoming, and
    working to figure out their place in the world.

Students who have had James Percoco as their American History
teacher leave his classroom with a deeper and more genuine understanding
of what made the United States of America great and what it will take
to keep it that way. Students love him for his passion for his subject,
his commitment to teaching, his concern for them as individuals, his
willingness to listen to them and to address them as young adults; they
also admire him for his integrity, his sense of ethics and his
dedication to moral values

Paul Wardinski, Principal

 “Jim is unique among high school teachers in that he always
gets his students to see beyond the textbook and the classroom, giving
them a chance to view history from different perspectives. Pulling from
his vast repertoire of teaching strategies, his students are never
bored! Without a doubt ‘Percoco’ makes a difference in his students’
lives, and has done so for thirty years! He is an exceptional teacher.

Jennifer Shearin, Former Student