Sewickley Academy history teacher named the fifth R. P. Simmons Family Chair for Excellence in Teaching

Friday, August 30, 2019 | 3:48 PM

On Friday, August 30, 2019, Middle School history teacher Kate Lukaszewicz was awarded a R. P. Simmons Family Chair for Excellence in Teaching by the Board of Trustees and Head of School Kolia O’Connor.

Two R. P. Simmons Family Chairs for Excellence in Teaching were established in 2012 by Richard P. Simmons to recognize outstanding teaching at Sewickley Academy. Holders of the Simmons Family Chair must have an acknowledged command of their subject, reflect consistent best practices in their teaching, demonstrate a commitment to the growth and learning of all children, and devote significant time to their professional growth and development, as well as the professional development of colleagues. Such faculty will also represent the best traditions of teaching at the Academy and consistently strive to fulfill the school’s Mission. Each Chair will be held by a member of the Sewickley Academy faculty for a term of four years.

“Our newest R.P. Simmons Family Chair for Excellence in Teaching is a talented scholar and teacher, who inspires students to think deeply about how the subject of their studies informs and influences their daily lives.  In answer to the perennial student question: why do we have to know this? Our honoree can respond with vigor: because you need to know this in order to be an informed participant in civic life,” Mr. O’Connor said.

“While making connections between the subject and students’ interests, our honoree is also keenly attuned to the need to build the analytical and communications skills that will allow students to evaluate new situations and to use what they know to support their views,” Mr. O’Connor continued. “In this way, she gives vibrancy to the idea that students will be guided by divergent yet informed opinions.”

“To walk into Ms. Lukaszewicz’ classroom is immediately to enter the realm of a passionate practitioner, one whose work in the classroom is consciously aligned to reflect the Mission and Core Values of the school. She connects the work of her classes directly to Character, Diversity, and Community, and consistently maintains the highest standards of Educational Vigor. She loves her subject and sharing her enthusiasm, which is infectious, with her students,” Mr. O’Connor stated. “With a particular interest in U.S. Presidents, our honoree is a walking treasure-trove of interesting facts about American history and those who have been privileged to occupy the highest office in our land. Looking to bring U.S. history to life, Ms. Lukaszewicz completely redesigned the Academy’s Grade 8 trip to Washington, D.C. to make the experience even more relevant and compelling for students.”

Prior to joining the faculty at Sewickley Academy, Ms. Lukaszewicz served as the Lead Educator at the Senator John Heinz History Center. At the History Center, she designed and presented all student and teacher learning experiences and coordinated National History Day for the Pittsburgh region. She earned her B.A. degree in history, English, and political science from the University of Pittsburgh, and Master’s degrees in government from Johns Hopkins University and public history from Duquesne University.

Congratulations, Ms. Lukaszewicz!

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