John Marshall Center Honors Two Outstanding Virginia Teachers

The John Marshall Center presented its annual John Marshall Center Teacher Awards November 17, at the Richmond Bar Association’s Annual Awards Luncheon.  This year’s winning candidates each received e a $2500 prize in recognition for their outstanding efforts educating today’s students about the rule of law under the Constitution and the importance of an independent judiciary. Congratulations to this year’s recipients!

Rebekah Amato is a Government teacher at Clover Hill High School in Chesterfield, Virginia. Ms. Amato earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Longwood University and a Master’s Degree in Education from Virginia Commonwealth University, and has taught for 15 years. Ms. Amato explains that her instructional goal is to “steer students toward civic participation; no matter the topic.” To help excite her students about the U.S. Constitution, Ms. Amato has developed a Supreme Court-themed podcast series and a social media-based set of lesson plans. For the latter, students are tasked with posting pictures of their pocket U.S. Constitution in places that remind the students of their connection to our nation’s foundational document. Clover Hill High School’s Principal, John Phillips, said that Ms. Amato is “an exceptional teacher and she models these practices for peers both within and outside of her department as a member of [Clover Hill’s] deeper learning team.”

Anthony Nobles is a Civics and Economics teacher at Plaza Middle School in Virginia Beach, VA. Mr. Nobles earned a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s in Teaching from the University of Virginia, and has taught for 10 years. When offering her recommendation for Mr. Nobles’s application, Plaza Middle School’s Principal, Leslie Ittner, cited his passion for the subject of Civics and his ability to find creative approaches to engage his students. From a Constitution-centric “Preamble Tic-Tac-Toe” game to lesson plans with a mock Congress activity, Mr. Nobles believes in brining the government alive for his students. In addition to creating these dynamic classroom activities, Mr. Nobles retooled document-based questions used at the high school level to fit the needs of his eighth graders. One particular focus for this lesson allowed students to research the concept of judicial review using political cartoons, excerpts from the Federalist Papers, and primary source letters.

This year marks the awards’ 33rd year of recognizing middle- and high-school teachers who demonstrate excellence and innovation in the teaching of US history, the Constitution, and civics. To date, the John Marshall Center, through the partnership of generous law firms, has given more than $110,000 in support of Virginia’s outstanding history, civics, and government teachers. Thank you to the law firms of McGuire Woods and Whiteford Taylor Preston for generously funding this year’s awards.

The John Marshall Center’s mission is to preserve and honor the founding legacy of John Marshall by engaging and educating learners of all ages about our constitutional history, the rule of law, and civics – inspiring them toward a more perfect union. It is a privilege to work together to ensure “… a Constitution intended to endure,” a constitutional education for all.