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Press Release

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Teacher Receives National American Civic Education Teacher Award

~ First teacher in the Sunshine State to be honored for efforts in teaching the Constitution, Congress and public policy ~

TALLAHASSEE — Jackie Viana, a Social Studies educator and department chair at Hialeah Gardens Middle School in Miami-Dade County, has been named a winner of the 2010 American Civic Education Teacher Award (ACETA), an award sponsored by the Center for Civic Education, the Center on Congress at Indiana University and the National Education Association. The award recognizes three exemplary teachers annually from throughout the United States for their work in preparing young people to become informed and engaged citizens. This is the first time a Florida teacher has won the award.

“My heartiest congratulations go to Jackie Viana for her exceptional commitment and passion for bringing civics education to life for her students,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “The democratic process is a vital component of our nation’s strength and I am delighted that Florida is represented so well for an award of this caliber.”

A wide variety of teaching methods bring excitement about civics, law and government into Jackie Viana’s classroom. From simulated citizenship ceremonies to mock trials, her civics classes are more like laboratories for learning. Students enrolled in her classes have been successful over the years in finding viable solutions to a wide range of critical issues in their local communities and at the state level. Last year, her students were successful in improving the safety of a dangerous intersection by designing an improved traffic light system.

The ACETA winner will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., this summer to participate in an educational program that includes observing floor sessions and committee hearings in Congress, meeting members of Congress and other key officials, and visiting sites such as the National Archives and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American Civic Education Teacher Award is given annually to elementary and secondary teachers of civics, government and related subjects who have demonstrated exceptional expertise, dynamism and creativity in motivating students to learn about the Constitution, Congress and public policy. For more information, visit