By Melanie Kieve
Sarah Ann Richardson Turpin ’89, a graduate of Clemson’s Eugene T. Moore School of Education and first-grade teacher at Clemson Elementary School, has been named the 2013 South Carolina History Teacher of the Year.
The award is co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the History Channel, and Preserve America, a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and several federal government entities.
A panel of teachers, administrators and academics from across South Carolina chose Turpin for the award based on her use of primary documents in the classroom, the level of inspiration that she provides to her students, and her career achievements in education.
As the South Carolina History Teacher of the Year, Turpin will receive a $1,000 award and will be in the running for the National History Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in the fall.
Because of Turpin’s selection as the state winner, the Clemson Elementary library will receive an archive of books and historical resources in Turpin’s name, and the school will be named a Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School. As an Affiliate School, the school will receive invitations to regional forums with noted historians and access to teaching resources.
"Because I am so passionate about teaching American history and civics education, I am extremely honored that my efforts in this area are being recognized by such prestigious organizations," Turpin said. "Passion for a subject is contagious, and I want my kids to catch the ‘history fever’ from me."
Turpin went on from Clemson to earn a master’s degree in special education from the College of William and Mary. After serving in special education for several years, she is starting her 16th year of teaching first grade at Clemson Elementary.