Mt. Vernon Middle School teacher, Deb Thomas, recently was awarded the Indiana Middle School Geography Teacher of the Year Award from the Geography Educators’ Network of Indiana (GENI). This award is given each year to a middle school and a high school teacher in Indiana who live out the organization’s mission by promoting the value and significance of geography. This award was announced at the annual Indiana Council for the Social Studies Conference, of which GENI is a sponsor.
“It has been a privilege to guide my students along a part of their educational journeys for over thirty years. Although some of them may never scale the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro or tour the Taj Mahal, many will now live and learn alongside others who possess diverse customs and beliefs,” said Ms. Thomas. “Students must prepare for a world that has become exponentially smaller, so history, geographic literacy, and cultural awareness are more critical than ever. GENI helps me and other Indiana educators expand our students’ knowledge and understanding in these areas by offering a variety of student programs, professional development opportunities, and resources.”
The Geography Educators’ Network of Indiana works to ensure that Indiana citizens are geographically literate. The organization serves to provide educators with resources, connections, and teaching concepts that aid them in reaching this goal in their classroom. This allows students to develop geographical skills that will assist them in other aspects of their learning.
Deb Thomas was introduced to GENI when one of her previous students qualified to participate in the Indiana Geography Bee. GENI has been a long-time sponsor at the Indiana Geography Bee. Deb Thomas recalled that “I have been a member of GENI in recent years because I admire their commitment to promoting the study of geography across the state of Indiana.”
Deb Thomas has been a teacher at Mt. Vernon Schools for 30 years. She was recently recognized as a Top 10 finalist for the 2020 Indiana Teacher of the Year Award through the Indiana Department of Education. Ms. Thomas has been exemplifying the use of student engagement, cultural awareness, and community learning in her classroom, helping to instill a love of learning in her students' lives.
Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation would like to thank GENI for extending this incredible award to our own Deb Thomas, and for prioritizing education by providing resources to teachers.