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Nashua-Plainfied educator named National History Day teacher of the year

Nashua-Plainfied educator named National History Day teacher of the year
Nashua-Plainfield High School teacher Suzy Turner, left, is shown with National History Day Executive Director Cathy Gorn, in Brussels, Belgium, during a 2019 trip to Europe with other NHD teachers to memorialize fallen service members. Submitted photo

To The Press

A Nashua-Plainfield High School teacher whose students have a record of high achievement in the National History Day Contest has been named Teacher of the Year by that event.

Suzan Turner won the Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award for the grades 9-12 division of the National History Day Contest. As the winner of this national award Turner will receive $10,000.

Each of the 58 National History Day affiliates could nominate one high school teacher for this award, and Turner was the nominee from Iowa.

Turner has been teaching and coaching National History Day students for 16 years.

“Our Nashua-Plainfield students have a long tradition of excellence at the local, state and national level of National History Day,” said N-P Superintendent Keith Turner. “It truly is incredible what students from a small rural school have accomplished in this arena and that is a testament to Turner’s leadership.”

National History Day Executive Director Cathy Gorn said, “I am not surprised by Mrs. Turner’s selection for this honor.”

Turner “not only inspires and teaches students to gain a more thorough understanding of history, but also shares her wealth of experience with colleagues,” the National History Day (NHD) organization said in a press statement.

“Mrs. Turner speaks every language of NHD with finesse,” said Gorn. “It takes an incredibly talented and dedicated educator to teach and mentor both one’s students and one’s colleagues, and she does so with obvious success and admirable humility. If there were an NHD hall of fame, Mrs. Turner would be in it. I congratulate her for winning this award.”

Turner was presented the award during National History Day’s live-streamed National Contest Awards Ceremony on June 20. The annual competition and ceremony took place as scheduled this year, but were conducted remotely due to COVID-19 measures.

The Teacher of the Year Award is sponsored by Patricia Behring, widow of the late Kenneth E. Behring, who previously sponsored the National History Day National Contest for many years.

Since 1994, the National History Day in Iowa program has been coordinated by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

The year-long academic program encourages middle- and high-school students to conduct original research on historical topics. Students enter their projects at local and state contests, with top students advancing to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park.

The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website.

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