CONTACT: NTHF Deputy Director Ken Weaver (620) 341-5660, email@example.com or David Bernatavitz, Assistant Head of School, Upper School, and Student Affairs, (407) 469-2561, firstname.lastname@example.org
March 22, 2023- EMPORIA, KANSAS – A career teacher at Montverde Academy was surprised at a school assembly this morning. Dr. Caryn Long learned that she has been selected as one of only five career teachers across the nation to be inducted into The National Teachers Hall of Fame in the Class of 2023, the 31st class for the organization. Family members and friends joined in a celebration after the announcement. David Bernatavitz, Assistant Head of School, Upper School, and Student Affairs at Montverde Academy worked diligently to keep the event a secret until today.
A 34 year veteran of teaching, Dr. Long is the Director of Educational Technology and Innovation at Montverde Academy since 2019. Previously, she has taught elementary STEM in the Charlette (NC) schools and STEM for all grade levels at NASA. She is the 14th teacher from Florida to be inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame, joining Dana Kelly, Jane Bray Nelson, Ellen Kempler, Debi Barrett-Hayes, Vicki Swartz-Rosco, Kathleen McGrath, Jane Kozsoru, Joseph Underwood, Dr. David Lazerson, Linda Evanchyk, Dr. Mary Murray, and two teachers who are also inductees in the Class of 2023.
In June, Long will join four other teachers from Connecticut, Texas, and Florida for a series of recognition events in Emporia, Kansas, which include a livestreamed roundtable discussion, participating in community events, rededicating the National Memorial to Fallen Educators, and being honored at the induction banquet and ceremony. The five inductees will also be honored in May at a reception hosted by the National Education Association in Washington, DC as a follow-up to National Teacher Appreciation Day.
David Bernatavitz, Dr. Long’s Assistant Head of School, Upper School, and Student Affairs, wrote: “Dr. Long has excelled by encouraging her students to achieve at the highest level every day by thinking critically, solving challenging problems, and developing skills such as effective oral communication, scientific writing, goal setting, statistical analysis, and self-reliance. She is uplifting our school community and changing the lives of students.”
Troy Urquhart, Dean of the Middle School, remarked that “Dr. Long is one of the rare educators whose work goes beyond the teaching of a subject area and who helps young people recognize and live into their own potential. Caryn’s work supports the development of scientific thinking, helping students across a wide range of ages develop patterns of thought that support experimentation and problem solving.”
Dr. Rachel Adams, former Associate Dean of the Middle School, observed “Dr. Long specializes in igniting passion for science within her students and then creating opportunities for them to make a scientific impact—on a global scale. What sets her apart is her gift for drawing out the best in those around her and her ability to identify and nurture the potential for greatness buried within the most timid students. Dr. Long can identify unearthed strength within others because it takes strength to know strength.”
Former student Caroline Thornton noted “I attribute my amazement and wonder with science and the stars and planets to my experience in Ms. Smith’s classroom over 30 years ago. Her enthusiasm and passion for molding and shaping young people is still ever present in my childhood memories. Her excitement for lifelong learning has inspired me to never stop learning.”
Michelle Newton, parent of a former student wrote “Through Dr. Long’s exceptional teaching abilities, mentoring and encouragement, my daughter has been allowed to blossom and grow into a more confident individual, so much so that she was chosen to represent her school, and indeed Florida in a global initiative of schools throughout the world.”
Caryn received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education degree from Queens University in 1988, her Master of Education in Elementary Education degree from the University of North Carolina—Charlotte in 1990, and her PhD in Educational Technology from Oklahoma State University in 2015.
The American Association of University Women selected Caryn as an Eleanor Roosevelt Teaching Fellow in 1999. She received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching from the National Science Foundation in 2000. In 2001, she was selected as the Distinguished Teacher of the Year for the National Science Teacher Association and, in 2002, was named Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator. In 2019, she was the Air Force Association of Florida STEM Teacher of the Year and selected as a Space Education Ambassador by the National Space Foundation.
Caryn describes her teaching style: “I approach educating students with two goals in mind; my students should 1) love learning more than they did in previous years and 2) improve their overall attitude about learning. I’ve often described my classroom as controlled chaos. We dance to music allowing the kids ways to transfer complex science knowledge into long-term memory. They lean over tables and answer various levels of questions that scaffold on previous understanding. I design all of my lessons using the 5E process to engage them, explore concepts, explain, expand to make deeper connections, and evaluate through formal and informal methods. Providing diverse role models in the science fields is a crucial part of my kids’ education. Throughout the year, they speak to experts from NASA, NOAA, Boeing, and other agencies/businesses that can bring real world connections to the concepts they are developing.”
The five educators to be inducted were selected for the Class of 2023 by a national selection committee which met in February. “The selection committee is composed of representatives from national educational organizations, corporate partners, and NTHF Membership. The committee evaluates the nominees on responses to questions regarding their professional profile, their teaching both inside and outside the classroom, educational issues and accountability,” said Ken Weaver, Deputy Director of the NTHF. “It is always a difficult decision because all twenty-four semi-finalists are deserving. The committee carefully examines what each candidate has done and is doing for the teaching profession as they try to determine finalists and then inductees. This is truly an honor to be named as one of only five teachers in the nation to be selected this year.”
The National Teachers Hall of Fame was founded in Emporia, KS in 1989 to honor teachers and the teaching profession through a recognition program and museum. Nominees must be certified public or non-public schoolteachers, active or retired, with at least 20 years of experience in teaching grades preK-12. Since the inaugural induction ceremonies in 1992, 150 educators from 41 states and the District of Columbia have been inducted. This year’s class of inductees represents the 31st anniversary of NTHF induction ceremonies when the Class of 2023 will be inducted. Inducted alphabetically, Dr. Long will be number 153 in the Hall of Fame.
Some of the major awards each inductee will receive include:
- A large bronze sculpture of the bell tower (the NTHF logo)
- A framed personalized print of a one-room schoolhouse classroom from American Fidelity
Biographies of Dr. Caryn Long and the other class of 2023 teachers will be available at www.nthf.org on April 15. To request biographies and/or photos, please call the Hall of Fame at (620) 341-5660. A list of current Hall of Fame Members and schedules for the 31st Annual Induction may be found on the web site or by calling the Hall of Fame.