NSHSS is pleased to highlight our 2013 Claes Nobel Educators of the Year, presented to ten exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success in college and in life. These ten educators are among NSHSS’s student-nominated Claes Nobel Educators of Distinction program that recognizes educators who model best practices in teaching, are a positive influence for students and peers, and who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education, as well as community engagement. Since the inception of the Educators of Distinction program in 2004, NSHSS has recognized more than 38,000 educators worldwide.
Ms. Laurel Spradley
Social Studies Coordinator & Teacher
Earl Warren High School, San Antonio, Texas
Laurel Spradley, who has served as the Social Studies Department Coordinator Earl Warren High for the past five years, stresses students’ thorough understanding of history and realization of their value to society. She was recognized as the Social Studies Teacher of the Year for two consecutive years and is also a recipient of the Pillar of Fairness and a Northside Education Foundation Grant winner. Ms. Spradley has a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction.
After twelve years as an educator, Ms. Spradley continues to uphold the roles of “educator, mentor, and student,” which she believes are essential to her position. She describes her use of the ideals of George Washington as she introduces her students to the curriculum. Ms. Spradley explains, “The last several years I have started the first day of each class by referencing ‘Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.’ The purpose of having students read this text is to show them that civil behavior is timeless and they can change how their generation treats each other and posterity. Life may not be fair, but you can show fairness and care for others. I stress the importance of striving for excellence, while knowing that, once you have achieved a goal, there is always room for improvement.”
Ms. Spradley compares her enthusiasm for academia to that of a game show host as she hopes her students will adopt her love of social studies and care for humanity. Her nominating student writes, “Her attitude is always positive; she gives more than one-hundred percent when she teaches. She is a breath of fresh air for any student; she serves as a great role model for her students. She is the type of teacher that makes you excited to learn. It has been an honor getting to know Ms. Spradley.”