District Five educator receives national teaching award

Lexington-Richland School District Five educator Ali Hendrick 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.

“I was very surprised and humbled to find out that I received this recognition,” Hendrick said. “I am thankful for the SC Geographic Alliance and how they support social studies teachers, for my colleagues at Dutch Fork High School for their collaborative spirit, and for my students that push me to be better every day. It is imperative for our students to have a good geographic sense of the world and the AP Human Geography curriculum prepares them to be a global citizen no matter their future career path.”

Hendrick was nominated by Mike Mewborne, director of the South Carolina Geographic Alliance. She has been an active team member on a National Geographic grant with Jerry Mitchell, chair of the University of South Carolina Department of Geography, Mewborne, and a number of other local teachers.

Mewborne said, “Ali and I were in the same cohort in graduate school and I have always looked up to her. She teaches with a strength and confidence that allows her to challenge and grow her students, but also to challenge and grow herself. We have been working since 2018 on a project to create a bridge curriculum to implement after the AP Human Geography exam that prepares students for AP World History, allowing teachers and students to make the most of their class time in meaningful ways. Ali, Jerry, and I recently wrote an article on this project that will be published in 2022 in The Geography Teacher, a peer-reviewed academic journal on geography education.”

Hendrick has served at Dutch Fork High School since August 2012. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina’s Honors College and has a master’s degree in teaching from the university. Prior to becoming a teacher at Dutch Fork High, Hendrick taught social studies at Mid-Carolina High School.

“Ali Hendrick is most deserving of this recognition,” Dutch Fork High School Principal Dr. Gerald Gary said. “She is collaborative, engaging and goes above and beyond daily to meet the individual needs of all of her students.”