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Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

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Mrs. Laura Bush Presents “Preserve America History Teacher of the Year” Award to West Virginia Teacher

October 5, 2006, NEW YORK, NY—Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States and Honorary Chair of the Preserve America initiative, today presented Gerry R. Kohler of Parkersburg, West Virginia, the 2006 “Preserve America History Teacher of the Year” Award during a ceremony held at Lincoln Hall in The Union League Club.

"Great history teachers take required coursework and turn it into a thrilling personal experience," said Mrs. Bush.  "They don’t just tell the story of America’s past through lectures and textbooks: They
encourage students to discover our country’s heritage themselves, through artifacts and primary sources."

The “Preserve America History Teacher of the Year” Award, a project of the Preserve America White House initiative, is administered and funded by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Earlier this year, finalists were selected from each state, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and U.S. Territories in the Pacific. The national “Preserve America History Teacher of the Year” was selected from the state finalists.

During her 27-year career in education Mrs. Kohler has taught at both the elementary and secondary level. Currently she teaches the 9th grade United States History to 1900 at VanDevender Junior High School in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Among many other efforts, she also is the Vice President of the Wood County Historical Preservation Society. With her students, she organized a Junior Historical Society which encourages students with an enthusiasm for history to help clean up and maintain two historical cemeteries in their community and future projects include a Civil War campsite this spring. 

The goals of the Preserve America initiative include: a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past; strengthened regional identities and local pride; increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets; and support for the economic vitality of communities.

Preserve America is a White House initiative created for the purpose of encouraging and supporting community efforts to preserve and enjoy the Nation’s cultural and national heritage. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and other Federal agencies partner to administer the various components of Preserve America.

Updated October 6, 2006