Duke honored as civic education leader

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By Camille McClanahan

Lindsay Duke, an American history teacher at Grant County High School, was recognized by Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes as an Outstanding Civic Education Leader in Kentucky on March 8 at the 2013 KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen Basketball Tournament Finals.

The Kentucky Outstanding Civic Education Leadership Award recognizes teachers, school administrators, legislators and community leaders who have made notable contributions toward promoting or implementing civic learning to prepare students to be active and engaged in their communities.
Duke was selected as the Region 8 winner of this award.
Duke’s teaching is interactive with a lot of hands-on learning.
“I was very excited to be nominated for the award,” Duke said.  
Duke said that it was gratifying to be recognized for the positive learning environment for students.

She creates simulations that mimic the experiences of those being studied, then punctuates the lesson with a modern day application. Whether re-enacting an immigrant’s first overwhelming hours on Ellis Island; the stark realities of the Great Depression; the intimidating atmosphere for African-Americans upon gaining their right to vote; or promoting a mock, modern-day political debate; or being the sponsoring teacher for students in the real-life, peer-led Teen Court, Duke generates experiences that not only make students learn, but also make students think, develop opinions and act. 
Greg Tieke, a student teacher under her leadership, wrote the following in his support of her nomination. “In my experience the best leaders – those who inspire, motivate, and encourage – are those who serve those under their care. That is exactly what Ms.

Duke did for me, and that is exactly what she does for her students.  She does everything she can to reach every student in the classroom, whether that means dropping a light-hearted joke to reach a student or translating every single PowerPoint slide into Spanish so her English Language Learners can keep up with material. She goes above and beyond to serve those under her guidance.”

The Outstanding Civic Educator Award program is sponsored by the Office of Kentucky Secretary of State, the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts, and the Kentucky Department of Education. 

In addition to Duke, eight others from throughout the state were also recognized for their civic education leadership.
Duke, who is a Morehead State University and a Xavier University graduate, has taught  U.S. history for seven years.
Sarah Kellam, a student of Duke’s at Grant County High School, wrote “Very rarely in my 12 years of being a student, have I witnessed an educator continually exceed pre-conceived expectations and surpass documentation requirements as Miss Lindsay Duke does. She incorporates enthusiasm and fun into her curriculum successfully instills a love of learning into her students.”

Duke’s recent leadership projects include her role as co-sponsor of Teen Court, serving as supervising teacher for student teachers in Social Studies and acting as a mentor teacher for the KTIP program.
Her most recent activity involved the fall 2012 Mock Presidential Election Debate. Students participated as candidates and as the debate audience. A mock election was held following the debate.
Duke’s leadership is evident beyond the classroom as she participated in the Teaching American History grant through Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative. She also learned various ways to teach simulation lessons through the History Alive program.
Duke always strives to find solutions to student issues.
Kellam also added, “Her very encouraging spirit made those who had previously been deemed ‘troublemakers’ feel as if they and their ideas as United States citizens were important. This easiness and accepting approach improved comprehension of the actual history being taught and led those who were struggling to understand everything that citizenship and civic duty entailed and the role that they should play in the country’s dealings when they get older.”
Not only does Duke’s work in the classroom speak volumes to the dedication she possesses for civic leadership and education but her willingness to enlighten the generations of tomorrow.