Local history teacher called 2nd-best in U.S.

Published 9:54 pm Monday, April 20, 2009

The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has named Lakeland High School’s India Meissel second in the nation for United States History teachers.

“You are commended for your outstanding work with your students by helping to make history come alive for them,” Margaret Drummond MacKenzie, historian general for the NSDAR wrote in a letter to Meissel. She later congratulated her for this prestigious award and for her “outstanding abilities as a teacher.”

“It’s just incredible,” said Frances Carr, a member of the Constantia chapter of the DAR, which nominated Meissel for the award. “She was certainly number one in our hearts, and we are just very, very proud of her. We also think Suffolk is very fortunate to have a teacher of her caliber.”

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Last month, the Virginia state delegation of the Daughters of the American Revolution named Meissel the 2009-2010 Virginia Outstanding Teacher of American History after the Constantia chapter nominated her and awarded her with a chapter award of excellence.

“For me, it is an enormous responsibility,” Meissel said at the time. “It means supposedly in someone’s eye you’re standing above the rest. That’s a big deal.”

After winning the state award, Meissel was automatically entered into the national competition, where she competed against the winners from the other state delegations.

Among her many accomplishments, Meissel also has been the recipient of the Mary V. Bicouvaris Award for Excellence in the Teaching of History, the Social Studies Teacher of the Year by the Virginia Council for Social Studies and the Esther Goldman Award for Teaching Excellence given by the Holocaust Commission of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

She will be formally awarded the newest honor at the NSDAR’s annual meeting this July.

The DAR was founded in 1890 and is a non-profit women’s service organization dedicated to preserving American history and better education for children. The DAR has more than 165,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the globe.

Here in Suffolk, the Constantia chapter meets every month. The next meeting will be held at Cedar Point Country Club on May 14.

For more information, e-mail bajastat2@hotmail.com