Dedicated high school social studies teacher and Centre College alumnus Ryan New ’04 is committed to preparing students at Boyle County High School for college, career and civic life through the use of inquiry-based learning strategies. Due to his impressive work, New was recently named Outstanding Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year.
The Outstanding Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year, sponsored by Newseum and given by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), is an annual award given to a high school teacher who exemplifies NCSS and its dedication to inquiry and national themes and standards as outlined by the organization.
“My professors at the University of Kentucky, where I am currently pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in social studies education, nominated me for the award,” New said.
Once nominated, New filled out the application and provided evidence of using inquiry-based learning in the classroom.
This year marks New’s ninth year of teaching. He came to Boyle County High School in 2014, after five years at Washington County Schools.
“After my year at Boyle, I had an opportunity to work for the Kentucky Department of Education as a Social Studies Content Specialist, who helped run the Social Studies Teacher Leader Network for the Ohio Valley Education Cooperative,” he explained. “As one of the writers of the still un-adopted Kentucky Academic Social Studies Standards, it was my job to help teachers understand and assist in instructional shifts toward inquiry-based learning that were inherent in the new standards.”
New returned to Boyle County after working for the state for a year and began implementing inquiry-based learning in his classroom.
“This award means a great deal, as it validates the hard work that my students do each day in my class,” he said. “Because I use inquiry-based learning, students must take a great ownership in their own learning. This particular award highlights those who implement College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework in their day-to-day instructions.
“This award highlights the direction where I think education should go, it validates the productive struggle for students who are trying to answer difficult, yet relevant, questions by examining sources, and it further validates and acknowledges how research at the post secondary level keeps me as a teacher up-to-date on the latest findings.”
Even though New is the recipient of this award, he gives credit to those who helped him along the way, including his students; Kathy Swan, his advisor at the University of Kentucky; and his wife.
Looking back on his time as a first-generation student at Centre, New sees how the College transformed him as a thinker and as a person, both then and now.
“Could I have been a teacher having not attended Centre? Sure,” he added. “Would I be the teacher I am today without Centre? A resounding no. My ideas were challenged by caring professors and by my classmates while my skills were honed through hours of reading, writing, translating and organizing my thoughts and time.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
October 10, 2017