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2013 Belz-Lipman Award Winners Announced

February 11th, 2013

 Tennessee Holocaust Commission announces the winners of the 2013 Belz-Lipman Holocaust Educator Award
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The Tennessee Holocaust Commission (THC) announced today the winners of the 2013 Belz-Lipman Holocaust Educator Award.  The winners are:

Anita Puckett, DeKalb Middle School, Smithville, TN
Julie Kinder, Robertsville Middle School, Oak Ridge, TN
Noelle Smith, South Greene High School, Greeneville, TN 
Rebecca Hasselle, Dyersburg Middle School, Dyersburg, TN

 These educators will receive a $1500 scholarship which can be used to develop new curriculum, purchase resources and attend trainings that will help further engage their students in the study of the Holocaust. The award ceremony will take place on April 8, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in Legislative Plaza in room LP12, as part of The Tennessee Holocaust Commission’s Annual Day of Remembrance Holocaust Commemoration.  The commemoration is free and open to the public.

Since 1995 the Tennessee Holocaust Commission (THC) has sponsored the Belz-Lipman Holocaust Educator Award. Established by Memphis entrepreneurs and philanthropists Jack A. Belz and Ira Lipman, the award recognizes outstanding educators who excel in the teaching of the Holocaust.  Each year educators from East, West and Middle Tennessee are honored. Past recipients of the award have gone on to attend international conferences, been appointed as teacher fellows to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and served as educational liaisons for the THC.

Anita Puckett graduated from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN with a B.S.Ed. and an M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership. She has been a teacher at DeKalb Middle School in Smithville, TN for 16 years.  Mrs. Puckett currently teaches reading and U.S. History. She has been teaching about the Holocaust for twelve years. Ms. Puckett has attended the Atlantik-Brueke Project, visited the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, and attended many conferences that have allowed her to meet several Holocaust survivors.  Mrs. Puckett feels it is important to teach about this crisis in history as soon eyewitnesses to this period in history will no longer be alive to share their stories and therefore, we must be their voice because, "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it.”

Julie Kinder teaches eighth grade Language Arts at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, TN. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Communication Arts from Carson-Newman College and her Master of Arts in Education from East Tennessee State University. She serves as the adviser for the RMS yearbook, online newspaper, and literary magazine. She is in her second term as President of the TN Alpha Gamma Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa. For the past sixteen years at Robertsville, she has led students in a unit on The Diary of Anne Frank and the contextual history of the Holocaust. She hopes that learning about the Holocaust will “help students appreciate the value of all human life and foster compassion in an increasingly hostile, disconnected, and apathetic world.”

Noelle Smith has taught social studies at South Greene High School for eleven years. She infuses Holocaust education into her courses and leads a Holocaust literature book club at her school.  She also coaches cross country, sponsors the National History Day team, and advises the Student Council. Most recently, she earned an Ed.S. as a reading specialist from the University of Tennessee. Noelle has participated in events coordinated by the TN Holocaust Commission and values her experiences with this organization.

ecca “Becky” Hasselle is gifted and special education teacher at Dyersburg Middle School. She has taught for 22 years and believes learning should challenge students and stimulate participation. Ms. Hasselle has integrated Holocaust education into her curriculum because she feels it  encourages students to think critically about this history, reflect on prejudices and make connections with modern events as well as personal connections like peer pressure. "I want my students to learn the importance of making good choices and that one person can make a difference." 


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To apply for the prestigious Belz-Lipman Award please fill out our application form and send it to the following address.

Tennessee Holocaust Commission
Attn: Belz-Lipman Application
2417 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37240