Jamestown teacher wins history teacher of the year
By Alana Cerrone
A long-time Jamestown school teacher is selected as Rhode Island's history teacher of the year.
Christine Turilli Bernardo had always wanted to be a teacher, and after 12 years in the Jamestown school system she has been honored with a prestigious award.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History selected her as Rhode Island's history teacher of the year, thanks in part to her "authentic" philosophy on teaching. Bernardo says she makes sure to tie her history lessons to the real world today. She also encourages her students to take their learning beyond the classroom, asking them at the end of each school day to name 5 things they learned that day and can share with their families at home.
Bernardo was nominated by a fellow Lawn School teacher, Maureen McGuirl. "Just the fact that she nominated me is the honor," Bernardo said. "I was kind of blown away."
Now living in Wakefield, Bernardo also has deep Rhode Island roots - she went to the University of Rhode Island and then went on to Rhode Island College for her master's degree. She was a long-term substitute in Portsmouth and Jamestown before being hired full time, now a fifth grade teacher at Lawn School. "Jamestown is a wonderful school system to work for because you can watch the kids grow," she said.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History was founded in 1994 to create programs for schools, teachers and students nationwide. It names a teacher of the year in every state, as well as a teacher from the District of Columbia, the American territories, and U.S. Defense Department schools. Eligible teachers must have three years of classroom education, a demonstrated commitment to teaching American history, and evidence of creativity and imagination in the classroom.
As a winner, Bernardo will get a $1,000 cash prize and certificate of recognition. Gilder Lehrman also grants classroom resources to the school library in the award winner's name. Bernardo will receive her award at school on Monday.