Florida Teacher To Be Inducted into The National Teachers Hall of Fame
CONTACT: NTHF Deputy Director Ken Weaver (620) 341-5660, firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathryn Koerner, Principal, (561) 882-3400, email@example.com
March 28, 2023- EMPORIA, KANSAS – A career teacher at Suncoast High School was surprised at a faculty meeting this afternoon. Dr. Rebecca Hamilton learned that she has been selected as one of only five career teachers across the nation to be inducted into The National Teachers Hall of Fame in the Class of 2023, the 31st class for the organization. Family members and friends joined in a celebration after the announcement. Kathryn Koerner, Principal, worked diligently to keep the event a secret until today.
A 39 year veteran of teaching, Dr. Hamilton teaches the Advanced Placement Capstone Seminar and the Advanced Placement Capstone Research courses to juniors and seniors since 2007. She started her teaching career in 1980 as a middle school English and Journalism teacher for three years then taught English at Pflugerville (TX) High School for 10 years. She taught English at Suncoast High School from 1997 to 2004 and then three years teaching English at Independence Middle School before returning to Suncoast High School in 2007. Dr. Hamilton is the 12th teacher from Florida to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame, joining Dana Kelly, Jane Bray Nelson, Ellen Kempler, Debi Barrett-Hayes, Vicki Swartz-Rosco, Kathleen McGrath, Jane Kozsoru, Joseph Underwood, Dr. David Lazerson, Linda Evanchyk, Dr. Mary Murray, and two teachers who are also inductees in the Class of 2023.
In June, Hamilton will join four other teachers from Connecticut, Texas, and Florida for a series of recognition events in Emporia, Kansas, which include a livestreamed roundtable discussion, participating in community events, rededicating the National Memorial to Fallen Educators, and being honored at the induction banquet and ceremony. The five inductees will also be honored in May at a reception hosted by the National Education Association in Washington, DC as a follow-up to National Teacher Appreciation Day.
Kathryn Koerner, Dr. Hamilton’s Principal, wrote: “Dr. Hamilton masterfully instructs in a blended model of traditional best practices enhanced with trend setting strategies and technology supports. This infusion yields superior instructional momentum and ensures maximum student success and academic performance. She also utilizes her vast knowledge, varied experiences and proven instructional practice techniques to assist new teachers and seasoned colleagues so they too will find success in the classroom.”
Assistant Principal Dawn Gordon noted: “Dr. Hamilton’s dedication to our students’ success comes shining through every single day. She shows her true commitment to her students as she continues to advance our Global Initiatives as a club sponsor for various organizations.”
Michelle Lackovic, English Department Chair, remarked that: “Becky’s passion for her students’ learning is a direct result of her own passion as a learner and intellectual risk taker. Deep inquiry and project-based learning have always been her key to student achievement. Becky’s students respect and adore her because she teaches with knowledge and heart. Becky is equally committed to her department and colleagues.”
Kara Macsuga, NBCT, a colleague and parent observes: “Becky possesses both the character and ability to foster success in her classroom. She exemplifies a teacher who was and continues to be dedicated to the unique individuals her students turn out to be.”
Former student Brandon Wisnicki reflects: “While she has done a beyond incredible job at teaching me the research process, how to write a paper, and presentation skills, Dr. Hamilton, above all, taught me how to be myself and how to think independently. I would not be where I am at both an academic and personal level without her.”
Dr. Hamilton received her Bachelor’s degree from Texas Lutheran University in 1980 and her Master’s degree from the University of Texas-Pan American in 1984. Her Education Specialist and Doctor of Philosophy degrees were earned from Florida Atlantic University in 2002 and 2015, respectively.
Dr. Hamilton was the Macy’s Teacher of the Year in 2014. She was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Edinburgh in 2017. She was selected as a 2020 participant in MIT’s Teacher STEM program and 2022 participant in the inaugural Teaching Hard History. She presented at the 2016 Association of Ubiquitous and Collaborative Educational International at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, the 2017 Hispanic/Latino Studies Summer Institute, and the 2018 African & African American Studies Summer Institute.
Becky describes her teaching style: “Teaching is all about relationships. What can I do to make my students’ lives easier? I have geared my AP Capstone classes to be imbued with student empowerment: multiple built-in presentations throughout both classes and digging into topics of their own choosing through selective research processes. What they learn from me is how to discern credible and valid sources from what has been coined as “fake news,” how to compile a reliable research paper, and how to present information effectively to a given audience. My personal goal for my students is to have skills that will be useful to them in college and in their lives beyond academia.”
The five educators to be inducted were selected for the Class of 2023 by a national selection committee which met in February. “The selection committee is composed of representatives from national educational organizations, corporate partners, and NTHF Membership. The committee evaluates the nominees on responses to questions regarding their professional profile, their teaching both inside and outside the classroom, educational issues and accountability,” said Ken Weaver, Deputy Director of the NTHF. “It is always a difficult decision because all twenty-four semi-finalists are deserving. The committee carefully examines what each candidate has done and is doing for the teaching profession as they try to determine finalists and then inductees. This is truly an honor to be named as one of only five teachers in the nation to be selected this year.”
The National Teachers Hall of Fame was founded in Emporia, KS in 1989 to honor teachers and the teaching profession through a recognition program and museum. Nominees must be certified public or non-public schoolteachers, active or retired, with at least 20 years of experience in teaching grades preK-12. Since the inaugural induction ceremonies in 1992, 150 educators from 41 states and the District of Columbia have been inducted. This year's class of inductees represents the 31st anniversary of NTHF induction ceremonies when the Class of 2023 will be inducted. Inducted alphabetically, Dr. Hamilton will be number 151 in the Hall of Fame.
Some of the major awards each inductee will receive include: