Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Linden Heck Howell Outstanding Teaching Award in Texas History

l. to r., Light Cummins, State Representative Julie Johnson,
Awardee Terri Truong,
and Polk Middle School Principal Kelly O'Sullivan

Today I had the pleasure of participating in the ceremony marking the 2019 presentation of the Linden Heck Howell Award for the outstanding teacher of Texas history. This state-wide annual award is made by Humanities Texas to recognize an outstanding teacher of Texas history. It is named for the late Linden Heck Howell of Portland, Texas who served as a board member of Humanities Texas from 1996 until 1999. Ms. Howell was a passionate supporter of Texas history who did much to encourage its teaching in schools across the Lone Start state. 

The recipient is Terri Truong, a seventh grade Texas history at Ted Polk Middle School in Carrollton, a suburb of Dallas. Ms. Truong holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of North Texas, having served on the Polk Middle School faculty for the last four years. She regularly engages her students in a variety of innovative activities and simulations which make history enjoyable and memorable for them. One of the most popular is "Longhorn Day." This involves bringing a live longhorn cow to the campus for the day as a centerpiece to her teaching about the ranching heritage of Texas. Ms. Truong has also rewritten the seventh grade Texas history curriculum for the entire Carrollton-Farmer's Branch Independent School District. 

My part in the program today centered on explaining the programs offered by Humanities Texas in support of teaching, which include an annual series of teacher education workshops along with a number of public programs advancing the cause of history. I also gave Polk Middle School Principal Kelly O'Sullivan a letter of congratulations and a check whose funds will be used to purchase instructional materials. State Representative Julie Johnson of House District 115 for Dallas County presented the award to Ms. Truong, consisting of a plaque and a cash prize.  Representative Johnson also read and gave to the awardee a formal, embossed legislative resolution commending her for the important work she is doing with her students at Polk Middle School. 

Congratulations to Terri Truong!