National Council for Geographic Education
National Council for Geographic Education
The National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) is a non-profit organization chartered in 1915 to enhance the status and quality of geography teaching and learning.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Muscatine High School educator Rachel Hansen was recognized with an AP Human Geography Distinguished Teaching Award by the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE).

The AP Human Geography Distinguished Teaching Award recognizes excellence in geography teaching for the AP Human Geography course and is given out annually. NCGE recognizes educators and advocates who have made outstanding contributions to geography education. Awards are given for teaching, research, and service. Award nomination materials are submitted online. Winners are recognized at a special ceremony during NCGE’s annual conference. Hansen was nominated by Dr. Alex Oberle, a professor at UNI and head of the Geography Alliance of Iowa and Kim Young, a social studies teacher in Boston who Rachel has worked with on several National Geographic projects.

Oberle said: “in my career I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many outstanding educators from across Iowa and around the country. Rachel stands out for not only being extraordinarily innovative but for putting innovation into action in the classroom in a way that supports all students. She is committed to sharing these novel ideas and best practices with fellow teachers, even finding ways to reach teacher education students, positively impacting the next generation of educators.”

Young added about Hansen: “as a teacher, she has made meaningful impacts locally, nationally, and globally. Locally, Rachel leads her students in using geography to take action in their own community. Nationally, she collaborates with teachers like myself on best practices and project ideas. Globally, she collaborates with National Geographic Explorers to protect the wonders of the natural world through storytelling. Rachel is an inspiration to teachers everywhere.”

Hansen has taught at Muscatine High School since 2012. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Iowa and is currently working towards a master’s degree in geography from the University of Northern Iowa. Prior to becoming a teacher at Muscatine High School, Hansen taught social studies in Fort Dodge at Phillips Middle School and Fort Dodge Senior High.

“Rachel Hansen is absolutely deserving of this recognition,” Muscatine High School Principal Terry Hogenson said: “She is collaborative, engaging, and goes above and beyond daily to meet the individual needs of all of her students. We are looking forward to her completing her master’s work at UNI and being back with our students here in Muscatine.”

Hansen spoke of the recognition: “I am incredibly honored to receive this award from NCGE and grateful for their support of educators and students around the US. This award reflects a true team effort. I am thankful for supportive colleagues in the Geography Alliance of Iowa and at MHS who inspire, encourage, and collaborate on engaging community projects. It’s an absolute pleasure to wake up and put my passion to work each day, but there’s no way it happens without the curious, smart, and flannel-loving bunch of students who I have the great privilege to teach in Muscatine. They trust me when I say the crockpot will warm up. It is a true joy to learn alongside them, and this award is a well-deserved celebration of their work and willingness to let curiosity lead their learning.”

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