The National Council for Geographic Education Announces 2018 Award Winners Celebrating the best geography educators of 2018


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WASHINGTON D.C. – For over 100 years the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) has worked to enhance the status and quality of geography teaching and learning at all levels of instruction. Through our annual awards program, NCGE recognizes excellence in geography teaching, mentoring, research, instructional design and service.

Award nominations are received each year from geography teachers, professors, and experts from around the world. Nominations are evaluated by award specific committee experts who select the award recipients. This year 35 educators from 16 states and 5 countries have been selected to receive NCGE awards honors.

The National Council for Geographic Education is pleased to announce the following 2018 Award Winners:

The George J Miller Award

Our highest honor, this award for lifetime service to geography education goes to: Carol Gersmehl – Michigan Geographic Alliance, Oshtemo, MI and Phil Gersmehl – Michigan Geographic Alliance, Oshtemo, MI

Distinguished Mentor Award

This award for mentoring future geographers and geography educators goes to: Randy Bertolas – Wayne State College, Wayne, NE

The Brunn Creativity Award for outstanding teaching of geography

This award recognize outstanding elementary, middle, and high school teachers who have demonstrated great creativity, originality, and innovation in their teaching of geography.                                                                      

Michael Robinson – Houston High School, Germantown, TN

Outstanding Support for Geographic Education

This award for outstanding contributions to geography education outside the formal classroom goes to: Susan Lahti – Maine Geographic Alliance, Farmington, ME; Ashley Melville – Cobb County School District, Marietta, GA; Amy Miller – DFW World Affairs Council, Dallas, TX; Paul Rittenhouse – James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA; Germaine Wagner – Geography Improvement Project, Casper, WY

Salvatore J. Natoli Dissertation

This award is for outstanding doctoral research goes to: Jinhee Lee - Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

Distinguished Teacher- Higher EdUCATION

This award is for excellence in geography teaching and leadership at the post-secondary level goes to: Karen Barton – University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO; Katherine Nashleanas – University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE; Michael Pretes – University of North Alabama, Florence, AL; Vanessa Slinger-Friedman – Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA

Distinguished Teacher- K-12

This award is for excellence in geography teaching and leadership at the K-12 level goes to: Melanie Davis – Pass Road Elementary, Gulfport, MS; Kevin Dockery – Fred J. Page High School, Franklin, TN; Allison Ewing – Bullis School, Potomac, MD; Teresa Goodin – Henley Middle School, Crozet, VA; Angela Hutchinson – Poteet High School Mesquite ISD, Mesquite, TX; Amanda Killough – Flower Mound High School, Flower Mound, TX; Scott Mace – Charlottesville High School, Charlottesville, VA; Theresa Pierce – Rowan County Early College High School, Salisbury, NC; Mark Skeie – Jupiter Community High School, Jupiter, FL; Megan Smith-Keenum – Forest Hills Elementary, Florence, AL

Journal of Geography Awards

Best Elementary Teaching Article

“Problem-Oriented Learning in Geography Education: Construction of Motivating Problems,”  Gunter Weiss – University of Cologne, Köln, Germany

Best Secondary Teaching Article

“Bridging the Divide: The Potential Role of Contemporary Geographical Research in Schools,” Aleksandra Kazmierczak – European Environment Agency, Copenhagen K, Denmark and Peter Mackie – Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Best College/University Article

“Preparing Preservice Teachers to Incorporate Geospatial Technologies in Geography Teaching,” Wendy Harte – Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

Best Article for Geography Program Development

“Guided Educational Tourism as Informal Physical Geography Education on St. Helena Island, Michigan,” Joseph Lane – Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI and Joseph Stoltman - Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

The Geography Teacher Awards

Best Content Article

“The Mixed Plate: A Field Experience on the Cultural and Environmental Diversity of the Big Island of Hawai'i” Ava Fujimoto-Strait – Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX and John Strait – Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX

Best Lesson Plan

“Exploring on the Overland Trail, Missouri to California, 1858: Including Adaptations for English-Language Learners” Rosa Brefeld - University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO and Sarah Coopersmith - University of Missouri, St. Louis, MO

Geographic Excellence in Media Awards

“Student Atlas of Nebraska” Randy Bertolas – Wayne State College, Wayne, NE

“Atlas of South Carolina Modules” Jerry Mitchell - University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

Award recipients will be honored during a ceremony held at the 2018 National Conference on Geography Education presented by the National Council for Geographic Education. The 2018 National Conference on Geography Education will be held August 6th - August 10th at the Convention Center in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

For more information about the NCGE award program and application process, visit

About The National Council for Geographic Education: The National Council for Geographic Education is a nonprofit membership organization that works to strengthen the quality and effectiveness of geography teaching and learning. We provide a global forum for educators of all levels to exchange ideas and engage in professional learning opportunities to improve their geography teaching practice. We provide the organizational structure needed to advance research in geography education. We publish journals, the National Geography Standards, and a variety of materials for diffusing research and best practices on geography education. We recognize exceptional educators and supporters in geography education. We lead and support a variety of educational and creative programs to support our members and advance global literacy. Visit to learn more.

Contact: Zachary R. Dulli, CEO

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