Brandy Arnold, MDW American History Award Winner

Brandy Arnold, U.S. History teacher at JCHS, has been recognized for her excellent work in American History by the Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter, NSDAR.

Brandy Arnold, teacher of U.S. History at Jefferson County High School (JCHS), has been recognized for Outstanding Work in American History for 2020 by the Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter (MDW), National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). The certificate was presented by MDW Recording Secretary and Arnold’s teaching colleague Karen Bible on February 12.

Arnold earned her Bachelor of Arts in History (1998) and her Master of Science in Education (1999) from The University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and she followed those degrees with an Education Specialist Degree from Lincoln Memorial University in 2003. She has been teaching U.S. History at JCHS since 1998 when she arrived to complete both practicum hours and her master’s degree under the mentorship of David Noonkesser.

In the past 22 years, Arnold has combined her interest in family, local community, and national history and her strong desire to help others. She noted that she has had several great mentors along the way. “I always find it interesting to talk to someone about their career path or life story and hear mention of teachers along the way who opened doors for them in some way or other,” said Arnold. She believes that our free and public education is the cornerstone of our society and feels privileged to be a part of the process of unlocking opportunity for the “amazing young people” she works with every day.

Although many people may have memories of memorizing names and dates that they soon forgot, Arnold says, “My classroom is student centered, and students focus on sharpening their skills as readers, writers, and historians. We teach important skills such as decision-making, conflict resolution, and tolerance. Allowing the chance to discover our history through virtual field trips, primary source analysis, and reading is my favorite part of teaching.”

According to Arnold, the Jefferson County School System has been in operation since August with little interruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Teachers and students have been meeting daily for traditional in-person instruction and allowing distance learning in an asynchronous online format. Although progress is being made daily, school is not without challenges as everyone has to adapt to required guidelines for safe interaction and to different learning methods. She noted, “We are teaching perseverance through example and giving all students the opportunity to continue coming to school in some capacity, whether it be virtual or in person.”

Secretary Bible stated that Arnold was selected for the award because of her excellence in teaching. Bible has worked with Arnold for many years and has heard only positive statements from her history students. She shared the words of Jacey Rush, a senior at JCHS, who said that Mrs. Arnold is very organized and teaches in a unique way. Rush added Arnold’s methods are interactive and engaging. Bible’s daughter was enthusiastic about Arnold’s method of teaching about local government through having students meet and interact in person with county leaders.

For information about the DAR, contact Registrar Karen McFarland at (865) 258-8670 or Regent Jane Chambers at (865) 591-3857.

Source: Submitted by Jane Busdeker, Corresponding Secretary, MDW Chapter, NSDAR