Ledbetter named Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year by NCSS

September 7, 2012

The University of Texas Elementary School’s Mary Ledbetter, fifth-grade language arts and social studies teacher, has been named Outstanding Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).

Ledbetter SXSWedu

UT Elementary teacher Mary Ledbetter


The honor will be presented at the 92nd NCSS Annual Conference in Seattle on November 16, 2012. Ledbetter will receive a $3,000 award from co-sponsor Farmers Insurance and a commemorative gift. In addition to receiving her award, Ledbetter will present at the conference.

“Mary is so deserving of this award,” said UT Elementary School CEO and Executive Director Melissa Chavez. “She not only brings her personal best to her students each day, but she introduces them to the world through innovative lesson plans and service-learning projects throughout the year. She’s educating her students with content, and helping them to become caring individuals.”

The annual award recognizes social studies teachers demonstrating exceptional abilities in developing and using instructional material creatively and effectively, incorporating innovative instructional strategies and techniques into their teaching, fostering a spirit of inquiry and encouraging the development of democratic beliefs, values and skills needed to become effective citizens.

“We found Ledbetter to be an exceptional, innovative, passionate, and dedicated teacher capable of kindling a fire in her students to be active, knowledgeable citizens,” said JoAnn Wood, selection committee chair.

With 23 years in education–16 of which have been in the classroom and seven in administration–Ledbetter is passionate about teaching. Ledbetter and her class annually participate in Walk4Water at Ladybird Lake, where students carry water to raise money for a sponsor school. She regularly posts to the UT Elementary School blog to share best practices with other educators and serves on educator panels at conferences. She has trained teachers in Tyler Independent School District on two separate occasions.

In addition, her work with The University of Texas at Austin College of Education Professor Sherry Field has led to presenting at national conferences, published articles in Social Studies and the Young Learner, and a book chapter in “Teaching to the Spirit of Every Child: Lessons Learned in Urban Education.”

About UT Elementary School

UT Elementary is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin and is an open-enrollment campus. It is free to East Austin students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, with a lottery-based admission system. The school employs scientifically based research and best teaching practices, and draws upon a variety of intellectual resources available at the university. To learn more, visit http://www.utelementary.org.


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