Brookhaven educator nominated for National History Day Teacher of the Year

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Brookhaven educator Falana McDaniel, founder and teacher at Families United Training Center, has been nominated for Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year in the junior division of the National History Day National Contest.

An Oxford teacher, Marisa Atkinson — of Lafayette High School — has been nominated in the senior division.

The award is presented in recognition of the pivotal role teachers play in the lives of students. 

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Each of the 58 National History Day affiliates may nominate one high school and one middle school teacher for this award, and McDaniel and Atkinson are this year’s nominees from Mississippi. Every nominee for the $10,000 award is a teacher who demonstrates a commitment to engaging students in historical learning through the innovative use of primary sources, implementation of active learning strategies to foster historical thinking skills, and participation in the National History Day Contest. All nominees will receive $500 as a result of their nominations. 

“This award NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “These educators are leaders and innovators in the teaching of history, and we are all the more impressed because of the extended difficult teaching circumstances due to the pandemic during the last year. I wish to congratulate both Ms. McDaniel and Mrs. Atkinson on their well-deserved nominations.” 

The national winner will be selected by a committee of experienced teachers and historians, and announced on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the National History Day National Contest Awards Ceremony to be held virtually due to COVID-19. Nominees’ work must clearly illustrate the development and use of creative teaching methods that engage students in history, and help them make exciting discoveries about the past. 

NHD is a non-profit organization based in College Park, Maryland, that seeks to improve the teaching and learning of history. The National History Day Contest was established in 1974 and currently engages more than half a million students every year in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. Students present their research as a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, or website. Projects compete first at the local and affiliate levels, where the top entries are invited to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. For more information, visit

Mississippi History Day is a program of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, in partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. It encourages students in grades 6–12 to research and create unique projects that showcase their creativity, critical thinking skills, and love of history. MHD provides teachers with resources and research tools that will engage students and increase their confidence and knowledge of history. For more information, visit