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2021 NJ History Teacher of the Year
2021 NJ History Teacher of the Year
Posted on 08/18/2021
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Medha Kirtane Named 2021 New Jersey History Teacher of the Year

RIDGEWOOD, NJ (July 30, 2021): Medha Kirtane, a teacher at Ridgewood High School, has been named the 2021 New Jersey History Teacher of the Year, an award presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to K-12 American history education. 

In 2021, parents, students, teachers, and administrators nationwide nominated a record 8,510 teachers for the History Teacher of the Year Award. Amidst a very competitive field, Ms. Kirtane rose to the top in New Jersey.

Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary school through high school. The award honors one K-12 teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and US Territories. In fall 2021, the National History Teacher of the Year will be selected from the pool of state winners. 

Medha Kirtane has been working at Ridgewood High School for the last 15 years.  An alumna of the Ridgewood Public Schools, she earned her undergraduate degree from Williams College, where she later served as the Assistant Director of the Multicultural Center, and then earned her graduate degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.  As a member of the Ridgewood High School Social Studies Department, she has taught a variety of courses including U.S. History, Senior Seminar and Law.  She was the Head Coach of the Girls Tennis Program, is the Advisor to the Asian Festival, and serves as one of the faculty representatives to the Home and School Association.

“It is an honor to be part of the Gilder Lehrman family of educators seeking to better ourselves and our craft in order to provide students with the opportunity to grow as historians and citizens of this world,” said Ms. Kirtane. “The organization provides so many resources for practical and scholarly growth, and I have been humbled to even be considered for such an award.  I love learning alongside my students and from both them and my colleagues, so this award is a testament to the Social Studies department and my students as well. Ridgewood has always allowed me to be a student of history and pedagogy, and for that, I am extremely grateful.”

In addition to a $1,000 honorarium, Ms. Kirtane’s school will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials and recognition at a ceremony in New Jersey. 

The 10 finalists for the National History Teacher of the Year Award will be announced on Thursday, September 9, with the national winner announced later that month. An in-person ceremony for the winner will be held in late fall 2021, health and safety protocols permitting. Support for the National History Teacher of the Year Award ceremony is provided by HISTORY®

Nominations for the 2022 History Teacher of the Year awards are now open. Students, parents, colleagues, and supervisors may nominate K-12 teachers for the award by visiting gilderlehrman.org/nhtoy. The deadline for 2022 nominations is March 31, 2022. 

About the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History was founded in 1994 by Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, visionaries and lifelong supporters of American history education. The Institute is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to K–12 history education while also serving the general public. Its mission is to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources.

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. Drawing on the 70,000 documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection and an extensive network of eminent historians, the Institute provides teachers, students, and the general public with direct access to unique primary source materials.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is supported through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Organization of American Historians, and the Council of Independent Colleges.