Alum wins national Teacher of the Year award

Posted June 01, 2011

Jan Wallace Shewmaker, a 1965 alumna of ACU, has received the American Lawyers Auxiliary's Elementary School Law-Related Education Teacher of the Year Award. Shewmaker teaches at Nebbie Williams Elementary School in Rockwall, Texas.

The Law-Related Teacher of the Year Awards are presented annually to one outstanding teacher in each of three categories: elementary, middle and high school. The recipients are chosen from applications submitted by public and private teachers all over the nation, based on their innovation, dedication and inspiration in educated related to law. The applications are judged by attorneys throughout the nation. Winners receive a $1500 check and a Teacher of the Year certificate.

Shewmaker has exemplified the qualities this award honors as teacher of gifted and talented students ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade in the Rockwall Independent School District for the last 16 years. Her objective is to instruct and guide gifted students to be lifelong learners, responsible citizens and motivated leaders in their community. Her school named her its Teacher of the Year in 2001.

"Jan exemplifies what we hope our graduates will become: people who commit to excellence and innovation in their teaching," says Dr. Dana Hood, chair of the Department of Teacher Education. "This award demonstrates that Jan is a scholar-teacher who continues to challenge herself and her students."

Congressman Ralph M. Hall says Shewmaker "teaches, loves and mentors children. She has dedicated her efforts to challenging them and offering them numerous unique educational opportunities, including many beyond the classroom."

Shewmaker makes it a point to challenge her students on government and civic issues, according to Rockwall principal Karen Aikman.

"Her students choose project topics to help solve real-world problems. She has taken students to Austin, Texas to testify before a legislative committee and to meet with individual legislators about topics such as immigration or the environment," says Aikman. "During election years, Mrs. Shewmaker makes arrangements to have her students walk through the voting site to see the process in action. Her students learn about our government and become active citizens thanks to her teaching."

Learn more about alumni accomplishments at ACU's Department of Teacher Education website.