McCallie Teacher Now Up For National Award

Teaching history on any level can be a challenge. But for one McCallie teacher, history is simply a way of life.

And now, Dr. Duke Richey is being honored for his hard work.

Richey is a teacher at The McCallie School.  Richey is 53 years old. Married with three kids.
By many standards, Duke is an ordinary, average kind of guy,

But not really.

Because Duke Richey is Tennessee’s History Teacher of the Year. An annual, prestigious award handed out by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History.

It’s not your garden variety honor.  But Dr. Richey will modestly accept!

“For me to do my job is a joy. And relatively easy, because I work with great kids who are motivated. I was not shocked to win the award, but pleasantly surprised.”

Richey is from Chattanooga. He went to school at McCallie.

After teaching for several years on the collegiate level, Duke decided to come back home to his alma matta.

That was back in 2010. He’s now getting ready for his 12th year teaching at McCallie.

Richey says there are many others who have a tougher challenge in teaching history. He says he has a huge advantage, in that the size of a classroom really matters.

Duke found that out coming from the college ranks.

“When I taught college, I would have 200 to 300 kids in class. I would come home and tell my wife that I don’t have a chance to get to know these people. It’s easier when you have smaller classes.  It’s an advantage when you have only 16-17 students in class.”

Judges used three criteria in selecting the award winner. Leadership, creativity and the effective use of sources.

Richey says being a good history teacher means all of the above, but adds:

“I think it helps to be a good storyteller. Give meaning and context to the subject. Just sitting down with a textbook and telling the kids to read… not a good idea.”

Each state award winner receives a thousand dollar prize. The national award winner will pocket ten-grand.

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