James A. Percoco, AHA award recipient and U.S. history teacher at West Springfield High School in Virginia, has been inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony for the five honorees selected for 2011 will be held on June 17, 2011, in Emporia, Kansas, the location of the Hall of Fame.
Percoco received the Association’s James Harvey Robinson Prize for 2000 for his book, A Passion for the Past: Creative Teaching of U.S. History. In the citation, the award committee described it as a “splendid book” that “shows how educators can use a variety of resources . . . to enhance student learning and to challenge their understanding of the past.” Five years later, Percoco again received an AHA award, this time as a member of the American history team of West Springfield High School, which received the Beveridge Family Teaching Prize at the 2006 annual meeting.
Known for his innovative classroom techniques that made history come alive in his AP classes as well as his “applied history” course, Percoco obviously left an enduring impact on his students, One former student told the Fairfax County Times: “[Percoco] is the most inspirational teacher I have ever had,” and said that Percoco was the reason for his choosing to be a history major.
The induction into the Teachers Hall of Fame will be a fitting and well-deserved addition to a long line of honors. Apart from the AHA awards, Percoco has received recognition from the Gilder Lehrman Institute, the State of Virginia, USA Today, and American University, among others.
The National Teachers Hall of Fame was founded in 1989 by, among others, Emporia State University (on whose campus it is located), the university’s alumni association, and the City of Emporia, to recognize outstanding pre-K through 12 teachers.