By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE -- A Port St. Lucie teacher was recognized recently for her efforts on teaching the history of the Holocaust by receiving the Gutterman Family Outstanding Holocaust Educator of the Year award.
Belkis Madera, a sixth-grade teacher at Oak Hammock K-8 School in Port St. Lucie, was the only teacher from St. Lucie County, as well as the only teacher from a middle school being honored this year.
The social studies teacher coordinated a Holocaust education program that resulted in a school museum.
"Mrs. Madera exhibits a superior ability to foster excellence in education and contributes to student learning and the development of knowledge and leadership skills which will continue with these students throughout their lives," said Carmen Peterson, principal of Oak Hammock K-8.
Her professional accomplishments include being a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, a Fulbright Scholar and a National Board Certified teacher in social studies.
The two other teachers from the area were honored at the Florida Atlantic University's Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education's annual teacher appreciation dinner were Maureen Holtzer, who teaches at Palm Beach Central High School and Monica Freidmann, who teaches at Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton.
The award is given by the center every year to teachers who have demonstrated a positive impact on their school and community in the field of the Holocaust and human right education.
"It is important to recognize the teachers who go above and beyond the basic requirements of the Holocaust education mandate," said Rose Gatens, director of the center. "We celebrate the accomplishments of these outstanding individuals who are truly making a difference in the lives of their students, in their schools and in the world."