History Teacher of the Year Award

Misha Matsumoto Yee, of St. Andrew’s Schools, The Priory, has been named the 2022 National History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Misha teaches middle school and high school U.S. History. Her innovative approach to teaching allows students to take an active role in their education, such as creating a website chronicling the diversity of Asian American experiences and activities that allow students to discover how they would want to teach what they are learning in Misha’s history classes.

Misha Matsumoto Yee’s winning of the award marks the first time a teacher from Hawaiʻi has won the national award.

You can read more about Misha in this great article by John Fea in Current.


Melissa Perkins, a teacher at `Iolani School, is the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History 2021 Hawaii State History Teacher of the Year


Melissa Perkins engages students by tapping into their growing interest in current events, believing that students learn best when they can use the study of history to better understand their world today. She inspires her students to strive for excellence in research, writing, and critical thinking, and she encourages discussion and respectful debate on critical issues in American history—skills that prepare students for both personal success and productive citizenship.

Below you can watch this video introducing Melissa Perkins as the 2021 Hawaiʻi History of the Year. This video was part of the ceremony celebrating Melissa’s achievement at the Schools of the Future Conference in 2021.


Daniel Lewer from Honokaʻa High and Intermediate School is the winner of the 2020 Gilder Lehrman Institute State History Teacher of the Year Award.



Mr. Lewer teaches social studies to 9-12 graders: AP US History, US History, World History, Participation in Democracy, and Modern History of Hawai’i. He believes in creating a true sense of wonder in the classroom, and loves to make his students “struggle” in ways that encourage them to think more fully about complex historical issues that have left indelible tangible marks on the ways we understand the present. 

Mr. Lewer’s belief in providing rich accessible content to students, entwined with his commitment to teaching excellence, prompted him to create History for Humans, which “is devoted to empowering teachers with dynamic and relevant history lessons for students so they are challenged, supported, and engaged in history that matters.”




Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities is the proud administrator of the annual Gilder Lehrman Institute Teacher of the Year award, that recognizes exceptional K–12 American history teachers across the country. The State winner receives a $1,000 cash prize, an archive of books and historical resources, and an invitation to attend a 2021 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar.

The mission of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and resources. It houses a tremendous archive of over 70,000 documents, and administers a network of eminent historians, and is dedicated to providing teachers, students, and the general public with direct access to unique primary source materials.

Nominations for the 2021 History Teacher of the Year Award are now open! Click here to nominate a history teacher who makes a difference in your life.