Kory Loyola is recognized by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Kory Loyola is pursuing a doctorate in history and culture at Drew's Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.
Kory Loyola is pursuing a doctorate in history and culture at Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

November 2016 – Kory Loyola, a high school social studies teacher and student at Drew University’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, is the history teacher of the year in New Jersey, according to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Each year, the Institute honors one top teacher in each state. A panel of teachers, administrators and scholars from New Jersey selected Loyola based on her use of historical documents in the classroom, the level of inspiration she provides students and her achievements in education.

As part of the honor, Loyola—who is pursuing a PhD in History and Culture at Caspersen—received a monetary prize, a certificate of recognition and an archive of books and historical resources that was presented in her name to her school library. In addition, she was invited to attend a Gilder Lehrman teacher seminar next year and will be recognized Dec. 2 at the N.J. Council for History Education Conference in Princeton.

A meaningful award

Loyola, who has taught at High Point Regional High School in Sussex for the past 15 years, is elated about the award. It’s particularly meaningful to her because she was nominated by a colleague and fellow Caspersen student, Jackie Sutton. Sutton, who also teaches social studies at High Point, earned a master of letters in 2001 is now pursuing a doctor of letters.

Loyola has taught a wide variety of courses over the years, including Advanced Placement U.S. History, Debate and Public Speaking, American Studies I and II and World Studies. In 2012, she was High Point’s teacher of the year.

Loyola said her experience at Caspersen has made her a better teacher.
At this point, she has finished her course work and is working on her dissertation.

“I know that I have greater expertise in my discipline because of the courses that I have taken,” she said. “And I have had some amazing professors who continue to inspire me daily.”

Influential professors

Among those professors are Lillie Johnson EdwardsKimberly Rhodes, William Rogers and Wyatt Evans. Loyola said of Evans: “I love how he teaches by simultaneously sharing his knowledge and encouraging discussion from his students. He constantly challenges me to go further and to find my own voice as a historian. He has made me a much more confident and competent scholar.”

Evans, who first met Loyola in 2014 when she enrolled in his graduate seminar on the Civil War, described her as a “very devoted teacher” and a “serious graduate student in history.” He added that she was “a fantastic asset for the MAT students in the class.”

Rogers isn’t surprised by Loyola’s success, given her many talents. “Her writing is very strong, her contributions to discussions are cogent and intriguing and her presentations are fantastic,” said Rogers, who has taught her in several courses.

Rogers added that Loyola’s “infectious laugh and great sense of humor—mostly at her own expense—demonstrated once again that being a serious scholar does not require you to take yourself too seriously.”