Rhonda Ireland, Lee’s Summit West High School teacher, was recently named Missouri Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year. She will be honored at the National World War I Memorial and Museum during the MCSS Conference luncheon on Feb. 23. As the state honoree, she will compete for National Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year.
Ms. Ireland was praised for her dedication to improving the education of both her students and colleagues. According to MCSS, she credits the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for promoting the “workshop model” which has dramatically changed her teaching style. “It is a difficult shift in that students are so used to being ‘told’ what they need to learn versus ‘uncovering’ it on their own,” she said. “Workshop requires an incredible amount of upfront planning, an enormous amount of research, lab classroom hosting as well as observation of my small group cadre with focusing on student ownership.”
The LSWHS teacher was highlighted as a strong advocate of student choice, for connecting students’ study of the past with modern events and for encouraging diversity. In addition to her work in the classroom, Ms. Ireland shares her time and expertise with colleagues, serving as a mentor to others using the workshop model, participating in book studies and meeting monthly with a group from the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education. She also serves in leadership positions in several state and national organizations.
At LSWHS, Ms. Ireland teaches International Baccalaureate History of the Americas and Advanced Studies World History. She has worked at LSWHS for three years, previously serving as a social studies and lead teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School and as R-7 School District social studies curriculum specialist. She has worked for the R-7 School District for 25 years.
Ms. Ireland sponsors Youth and Government at LSWHS, facilitates Project Grad and is a Titan Advisor 2018 mentor. She previously served as president of the Missouri Council for the Social Studies. In 2010, she received a national fellowship to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and continues to be involved in the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education Teacher Cadre while serving as a docent for the National Archives and Records Administration. Ms. Ireland also is an examiner for the International Baccalaureate Organization.
A Lee’s Summit resident, Ms. Ireland earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from William Jewell College, her certification in secondary social studies from the University of Central Missouri and her master’s degree in history from UCM.