At a ceremony in Annapolis last month, UPAG?s Lee Preston was named winner of the 2003 ASM Patricia Seitz Teacher of the Year Award.
"The glowing tributes from his principal, colleagues and students were enhanced by the massive amounts of evidence to his achievements. He is a role model for all archeology students and to those who believe in the discovery of one's past", the selection committee said.
Lee has been teaching social studies in the Howard County school system for 36 years. A few years ago he moved from Atholton High School to the new River Hill but his influence has been felt throughout the system. He wrote the original anthropology curriculum guide for county schools in l972 and the new 32-page version in 2002. The anthropology class is a full-year course and includes lessons on the cultural and physical perspective; highlighting prehistoric and historic archeology sites throughout Maryland. He provides students with hands-on learning that includes surface searching, field excavation, laboratory analysis and experimental archeology such as flintknapping, pottery replication, artifact identification and human measurements.
River Hill principal R. Scoot Pfeifer said, "I have known him professionally for 17 years. He has dazzled students with his passion for this subject throughout that time." Not only students taught by Mr. Preston, but students in six other high schools have benefited from his passion and expertise in this area. He creates 'excavation sites' at the school and has students from year to year work with them; he runs trips to some of the premier archeological sites in the country and in the region -- Mesa Verde, Jamestown and others -- and he teaches experimental archeology lessons. Mr. Preston's classroom is a wonder to behold. It exudes anthropology.... In my 29 years in education, I have never known an instructor like Mr. Preston whose impact on students spans the age range of 12 to adult.... He is the county 'guru' who assists teachers new to the course to develop skill and expertise in teaching it.... His energies remains boundless and his commitment to students is complete. He is a class act in every way."
In recognition of his other activities, including being the guiding spirit of UPAG, teaching archeology at Howard Community College and holding public archeology sessions at the UPAG site, the Patapsco Female Institute, Lee won ASM's William B. Marye award in 1996. He thus becomes the first person to win both of the Society's top honors.