Chugiak teacher receives History Day award


June 9, 2014


The following news release is shared on behalf of National History Day. Congratulations to Chugiak High School Teacher Debbie LaRue, one of two Alaska teachers selected to receive the 2014 Behring Teacher Award from National History Day. This year, 10 of Alaska's 51 State History Day winners were from Debbie's classes.


Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award Winners Announced

WASHINGTON, D.C. – National History Day (NHD) announced today the teachers selected to receive the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award for their state. The teachers selected have shown outstanding creativity, commitment, and inspiration in developing student interest in history. Each state winner is awarded $500, and is eligible for the National Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award. Two national winners, announced on June 19, 2014, will receive $10,000.


Debra LaRue a teacher at Chugiak High School in Chugiak, AK was selected as the one of two state winners. "Being recognized as a Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year for the State of Alaska is a humbling experience," said LaRue. "My students compete against students from all over Alaska who have been mentored by gifted history teachers. I strive to hone my craft to such a level. The Patricia Behring Award is an affirmation of the time, energy, and expertise I have contributed to my student's history education. It is inspires me to continue my pursuit of a highly engaging history education for each of my students. National History Day will continue to be the pivotal tool for that purpose."


Middle and high school teachers are nominated by their administrators, peers, or self for the award. Each participating state is allowed to select one high school and one middle school teachers to receive the state award and consideration for the national award.


"National History Day firmly believes that quality teachers are the best educational tools that students have," said National History Day Executive Director Cathy Gorn. The history teachers selected as Behring award recipients are a credit to their discipline, and exemplify what it takes to truly be a quality educator."


Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award winners are NHD participating teachers who have demonstrated excellence in the classroom. Their work must clearly illustrate the development and use of creative teaching methods that interest students in history and help them make exciting discoveries about the past, and a commitment to helping students develop their interest in history and recognize their achievements.


Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year State Award Winners:

  • Alaska - Heidi Imhof, Debra LaRue
  • American Samoa - Steven Misaalefua, Tamara Tiavea
  • Arkansas - Darren Vaughn, Bill Topich
  • Arizona - Ron Bahre
  • California - Mary Ong-Dean, Raymond Lopez
  • China – Brenda Petersen
  • Colorado - Elizabeth Milligan, Kristen Lewis
  • Connecticut - Jennifer Hunt, D. Claude Morest
  • Florida - Leslie Porges, Dennis Dill
  • Georgia - Chris Shelnutt, Amy Hendrix
  • Guam - Vince Leon Guerrero, Anthony Blas
  • Hawaii  - Sarah Lowrey Razee
  • Idaho - Jami McLing
  • Illinois - Donna Beck, Aggie Przeslicke
  • Indiana - Richard G. Vander Woude, Dave Wheeler
  • Iowa - Patty Lien, Kirsten Doebel
  • Kansas - Alice Bertels
  • Kentucky - Ashley Adkins
  • Korea – Sharon Gillette
  • Louisiana - Michael Cilano, Tara Cox
  • Maryland - Leah Renzi, Mark S. Howell
  • Massachusetts - Bryan McGraw, Ilyse Mahoney
  • Michigan - Abigail Kuhn, Traci Welch
  • Minnesota - Josh Nutter, Carley Kregness
  • Mississippi – Kimberly Jordan, Heidi Battles
  • Missouri - Maureen Funk, J. Paul Arnold
  • Nebraska - Melissa Stern, Ann M. Mays
  • Nevada - Lindsey Clewell, Jeanine Zelik
  • New Hampshire - Skye Devarney, Molly K. Stevenson
  • New Jersey - Jane Okma, Jayne O'Neill
  • New Mexico - Danya Jones, Allen Andraski
  • New York - Judy Sokolow
  • North Carolina - Kimberly T. Jamison, Lisa Dillon
  • North Dakota - Jewel Marie Lyons, Vern Huber
  • Ohio - Judith Darus, Krista Buckley, Kathy Arnold
  • Oklahoma - Penny Heath
  • Oregon - Lorin Kubishta
  • Pennsylvania - Josh Elders, Kevin Wagner
  • Puerto Rico - Yanira Borges
  • Rhode Island - Vanessa Miller, Edward Kimmerlein
  • South Asia – Jonathan Steely, Jonathan Boyd
  • South Carolina - Waylon A. Ross, Adam Powley
  • South Dakota - Lauren Olson
  • Tennessee - Chris Standridge, Scott Johnson
  • Texas - Patrick Browder, Barbi Binnig
  • Utah - Sara Hacken
  • Vermont - Tyler Willis, Erin Cohn
  • Virginia - Rory Dippold, Holly Frazier
  • Washington - Mary Jo Macala, James Sawatski
  • Washington, D.C. - Yvonne Simpson-Wayne, Matthew Malone
  • West Virginia - Daniel J. Cosgrove
  • Wisconsin - Michael Cirillo, Katherine Haig
  • Wyoming - Mitch Irrgang, Kristy Richmond




NHD is a non-profit education organization based out of College Park, MD. Established in 1974, NHD offers year-long academic programs that engage over half a million primary and secondary students around the world in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. These research-based projects are entered into local affiliate contests, where the top student projects have the opportunity to advance to the national competition at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD also seeks to improve the quality of history education by providing professional development opportunities for educators. NHD is sponsored in part by the History Channel, Kenneth E. Behring, Weider History Group, Inc., WEM Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Southwest Airlines. For more information about NHD, visit

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