Virginia Council for the Social Studies 

2016 Teacher of the Year

The 2016 VCSS Teacher of the Year is Mr. Allen Ruliffson. He a world history teacher at J. Frank Hillyard Middle School in Broadway, VA,in Rockingham County. 

Teacher of the Year applicants must prove that they: (1) develop or use instructional materials creatively and effectively; (2) Incorporate innovative and verifiably effective instructional strategies and techniques; and (3) demonstrate an ability to foster the development of democratic beliefs and values, and the need for citizen participation appropriate to his or her students’ grade level in classroom, school, and community settings.

NCSS Elections, 2018-19

The 2017-2018 NCSS Board of Directors and Officer Election begins November 20. NCSS members in good standing as of October 15 are eligible to vote, and will receive instructions and credentials by email for accessing the online ballots starting November 20 at 10:00am Eastern Standard Time.

2016 Friend of Education

Each year VCSS also recognizes a Friend of Education. The VCSS Friend of Education can be an individual or an organization. This award is an honorary recognition, recognizing the nominees efforts in promoting social studies education throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.

The 2016 VCSS Friend of Education is The Holocaust Commission of the Jewish Federation of Tidewater. Among those pictured is Holocaust survivor, Dana Cohen. . 

The globe was generously donated by Nystrom Education. In addition to the globe and the plaque, he receives a $500 award to use in his classroom, an opportunity to present at the next VCSSE, one night free at a hotel for NCSS, and an honorary position on the VCSS Board of Directors. 

The Virginia Council for the Social Studies is endorsing Wesley Hedgepeth for the position of Secondary/High School Classroom Teacher for the Board of NCSS. Below is his biography and Position Statement:

Wesley lives and breathes the social studies! Throughout his career in education, he has taught multiple social studies courses from grades 7-12, at all ability levels, in both public and private schools. He currently teaches IB Global Politics and Contemporary World History at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond, Virginia.

In addition to teaching, Wesley coordinates his school’s Global Engagement Program, both planning and leading international exchanges. Additionally, he coordinates his school’s Model United Nations Program, preparing students for multiple conferences each year, as well as hosting an annual conference. He also serves as a member of both his school’s 5-year Strategic Planning and Technology Committees.

Outside of school, Wesley has represented Virginia in the NCSS House of Delegates since 2014 and currently serves on the NCSS HOD Assignments Committee. During his tenure as President of the Virginia Council for Social Studies, he co-chaired the 2016 NCSS Local Arrangements Committee for the Washington, D.C. conference, twice co-chaired the Virginia Conference for Social Studies Educators, and twice collaborated with the VCSS Executive Board to earn NCSS Gold-Star Council status. He regularly lobbies elected officials for social studies education, works on political campaigns supporting social studies advocates, presents at both statewide and national conferences, and consults for various social studies organizations.

Wesley currently serves on the Virginia Council for the Social Studies Executive Board as Past-President. He received both his Bachelor and Master's degrees from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and maintains a Postgraduate Professional Teaching License from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Position Statement
We live in a society where compromise and moderation appear all but forgotten, where listening comes second to speaking, and where loyalty to one’s side outshines the greater good. Our opportunity is to infuse young people with sincerity and an appreciation of differences. Our world needs more civil discourse, and Social Studies Educators are the civility engineers. It is our task to model for our students the idea that civility and differences do and should coexist. Whether we are preparing our kids for college, career or civic life, we must continue to model this civility.

In recent years we have seen the growth in misinformation and a disregard for the truth. How do we ensure our fellow constituents are critical consumer of information? The devaluation of the truth is extremely damaging to our society. The creation of false information and bullying of truth-tellers is dangerous. We must not shy away from sensitive topics; rather, we must consistently address these issues head-on with thorough research and discussion. Students should understand the idea of loyal opposition.

We must continue to set high standards for conduct in our classrooms and create authentic experiences for our students. Sourcing, Corroboration, and Contextualization--these skills all transcend the social studies classroom. We must continue to demonstrate that viewpoints from multiple sides are not just inevitable, they are imperative in any democratic system. We must continue to teach students the value of truth, of compromise, and show that a diversity of viewpoints can combine wisdom and experience with creativity and ingenuity. We need to live this.