The National Liberty Museum celebrated its 14th annual Teacher as Hero Award sponsored by State Farm® with a Virtual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, September 24. The ceremony honored 10 inspiring teachers who make a difference in the lives of their students. To mark the occasion, State Farm Representatives, National Liberty Museum leadership, friends and family gathered via Zoom to celebrate the accomplishments of these exceptional educators. It is our pleasure to announce this year’s honorees.

 

Congratulations to the 2020 Honorees

Virginia Barbarin
Teacher of African American History
Seba Enrichment Academy, West Chester, PA
  1. Learn about Virginia Barbarin

    Virginia Barbarin teaches Middle School African American History at Chester County’s Seba Enrichment Academy. With humor and compassion, Barbarin serves as a mentor or tutor to many students, often providing supplies to those at need at her own expense. Her lessons inspire her students and encourage them to strive for excellence as they learn about their history, even if it is hard to face unpleasant truths about the history of slavery.


Andrew Coates
5th Grade Teacher
Overlook Elementary School, Abington, PA
  1. Learn about Andrew Coates

    Andrew Coates is a fifth-grade teacher at Overlook Elementary School in Abington, Pa. His gift and passion for teaching makes each student feel special and successful. Making full and creative use of a plethora of internet resources, his daily teaching grounds his students in exposure to and understanding of current technologies.


Kelly Espinoza, good neighbor award
Kindergarten Teacher
Musselman Learning Center, Norristown, PA
  1. Learn about Kelly Espinoza

    Kelly Espinoza is a Kindergarten teach at Montgomery County’s Musselman Learning Center. After a devastating fire killed a student from the school, Espinoza galvanized the school community and the local fire department to distribute and install free smoke detectors for Norristown citizens. Inspired by this success, she spearheaded an annual school fire safety education night where fire prevention education and risk education strategies were provided to the children and their parents.


Sofia Gonzalez
11th Grade English Teacher
Morton East High School, Cicero, IL
  1. Learn about Sofia Gonzales

    Sofia Gonzalez is an 11th grade English Teacher whose boundless energy is evident not only in her classroom but also in her guidance of student club activities. One of these is an activity called “Snowball,” which is designed to help students begin or continue to live a healthy lifestyle.


Paul Larrea
Science/STEM Teacher, Grades 6-8
Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School, Maple Glen, PA
  1. Learn about Paul Larrea

    The Director of STEM education and a member of the Student Safety Committee of the school’s Governance Board, Larrea infuses high levels of content and educational strategies with humor and profound respect for each child. Known for innovation, creativity and a keen knowledge of best practices that ignite his students, he is engaging in ways that help even the most reluctant learners become more focused and involved in their own education.


Jennifer Morris
English as a Second Language, K-8th Grade
Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary, Kensington, PA
  1. Learn about Jennifer Morris

    Concerned that their Hispanic population lacked a specific cultural connection to the school, Morris decided to incorporate Hispanic culture into everyday school activities by conducting part of the daily announcements in Spanish. She expanded this first step of inclusion into a month-long Hispanic Heritage Program, incorporating cultural awareness with educationally relevant lessons. She also created a Hispanic Heritage Career Expo and Carnival De Bethune, an activity where students were immersed in Hispanic culture with food, games, crafts and a student-made Heritage Museum.


Sasha Singh
10-12th Grade Automotive Technology
Jules Mastbaum High School, Philadelphia, PA
  1. Learn about Sasha Singh

    A 12-year veteran teacher of 10-12th grade Automotive Technology at Jules Mastbaum High School, Sasha Singh creates an environment of trust and partnership with his students. His active volunteerism for Hispanic community events inspires his students to participate in community service activities both in school and in their neighborhoods. His former students are still motivated by his example and many return to the school to participate in the Occupational Advisory Committee and as mentors for his current students.


Melissa Tracy, caring classroom award
10th-12th Grade History, Geography & Food Studies
Odyssey Charter School, Wilmington, DE
  1. Learn about Melissa Tracy

    Nominated by a three-year student, Tracy has incorporated her passion for activism into her teaching. Advocating for a more green school campus, she encouraged her AP Human Geography class to meet with Delaware legislators and successfully lobby for a ban on single-use plastic bags. Tracy also developed a school garden with the Environmental Club, culminating in the donation of 1,000 pounds of fresh vegetables thus far to various local food banks and shelters.


Katherine Villone, top exceptional teacher
4th Grade Teacher 
Franklin Elementary School, Bergenfield, NJ
  1. Learn about Katherine Villone

    Katherine Villone is a 4th grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School in Bergenfield, NJ. She was recognized for her dedicated acts of kindness and compassion, and for her ability to mentor and build up every child she meets. During the pandemic, Villone has continuously focused on her students’ well-being, holding numerous virtual game nights and Zoom calls to keep spirits high. She visited each of her students with birthday surprises and made sure they were doing well, serving as a role model, friend and inspiration at these challenging times.


Elizabeth Williams
Teacher of African American History
Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
  1. Learn about Elizabeth Williams

    A teacher of African American history at Central High School, Williams engages her students by making sure they are learning in a way that speaks to their needs as students from multiple cultural backgrounds. Before the pandemic, Williams coached the school’s basketball team, sponsored the Black Youth Coalition, and worked with students to create a school fashion show. When the school closed for the pandemic, she was one of the first teachers to support the students’ participation in a virtual history class.


 

 

NLM honors 14 inspiring students from across the country

The National Liberty Museum celebrated its 20th annual TD Bank Young Heroes Awards with a Virtual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, September 12. The ceremony honored 14 inspiring students, ages 18 and younger, who identified an area where liberty was lacking and took action to make positive change in their local schools or communities.

Learn about these amazing young people here.

NLM Honors Outstanding Educators in the Delaware Valley and Beyond

The National Liberty Museum celebrated its 14th annual Teacher as Hero Award sponsored by State Farm® with a Virtual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, September 24. The ceremony honored 10 inspiring teachers who make a difference in the lives of their students. To mark the occasion, State Farm Representatives, National Liberty Museum leadership, friends and family gathered via Zoom to celebrate the accomplishments of these exceptional educators.

Learn their stories here.

VIRTUAL NLM@Night

While the Museum is temporarily closed, we will continue to offer varied and engaging digital experiences. Our Virtual NLM@Night series offers fun and informative entertainment on the subject of liberty for adult audiences.

Click here to learn about upcoming events.

Do you know a first-responder who deserves special recognition?

We are now accepting nominations for the 2020 Awards of Valor presented by YOUR LOCAL CHEVROLET DEALERS. This Award honors police officers, firefighters, EMTs and other emergency responders for extraordinary acts of courage, empathy, and meritorious community service. To learn more and submit a nomination, please click here.

Chevrolet supports first responders. Learn more.

Do you know a Healthcare Professional who deserves special recognition?

We are now accepting nominations for our 2020 Healthcare Heroes Award presented by Teva Pharmaceuticals. Awarded in four categories, Healthcare Heroes recognizes professionals in healthcare research and treatment whose accomplishments have had a profound impact on others.

This year we are expanding the Community Hero Award category by including all those who participated in helping others in regard to the treatment of COVID-19. Learn more and nominate someone by clicking here.