When he received the Prigmore Faculty Chair last year, Michael Doubleday says the occasion was “an incredible honor and one of the highlights of my professional career.” But the award is more than just gratifying recognition of the five-year history teacher’s work, he says. It’s also a vehicle for his becoming an even better educator.
Like the school’s numerous other chairs and instructorships, the Prigmore—which provides a $4,000 stipend for five years—enables teachers to pursue new areas of professional development and deepen their expertise through educational opportunities. “Just knowing that the money is there is incentive to get creative and do things that I might not do otherwise,” he says.
In the past year, Michael has taken a weeklong seminar in American foreign policy at the University of Texas at Austin, taught by renowned scholar Jeremi Suri and sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He also spent a weekend in New York City, touring the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. Both experiences informed his classroom discussions on related topics, he says. But his efforts have paid off in other ways, as well.
“I think it is great for the kids to learn that we as teachers are students also,” he says. “As a history teacher, I try to instill that desire to learn and teach that the subject of history is fluid. As new information becomes available, it changes what we think about events or people. That’s one of the most fascinating things about the study of history: There is always something new to learn.”
Thanks to the Prigmore Chair*, Michael Doubleday has the resources to extend his mastery.
*The Prigmore Faculty Chair was given by G. Daniel Prigmore ’61 and Kristin J. Prigmore ’88 in memory of his parents and her grandparents William H. Prigmore and Dr. Mildred J. Hausmann. To be given to a member of the History Department selected by the Headmaster who is considered most able to “teach history with a perspective that encourages students to seek out all of the contributors leading up to the events history has recorded.”