Welch to Receive 2019 National Educator of the Year Award

August 21, 2019

COLUMBUS, OH – Joseph Welch, an eighth grade social studies teacher and team leader at North Hills Middle School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was selected to receive the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) 2019 Educator of the Year Award. The award, supported by the AMLE Foundation Fund, recognizes outstanding practitioners in middle level education—those who have made a significant impact on the lives of young adolescents through exemplary leadership, vision, and advocacy. The award will be presented in November at #AMLE19, the 46th Annual Conference for Middle Level Education, in Nashville, Tennessee.

“It is such an honor to be named the AMLE Educator of the Year, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to teach middle school students. The energy, insight, and unique perspective and voice that each student brings into class makes each day a great day to be a teacher. To be recognized by AMLE, the preeminent organization that seeks to provide powerful learning opportunities to students during such a transformative time in their lives, reminds me how fortunate I am to work with my students and colleagues,” said Welch.

Welch, a National Board Certified Teacher, promotes student engagement as active and involved citizens, often fostering partnerships with community members and local organizations so students can develop personal connections and a sense of belonging. He was the 2017 AMLE Collaboration Mini-Grant awardee for a project that connected students with community members who lived through an impactful historical event. He hosts educators from around the state, who visit his classroom for ideas on best education practices for middle school students, such as fostering student voice in the classroom. He has presented at local, regional, state, and national events including the annual conferences of AMLE, the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education (PAMLE) and the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).

Welch was named the 2018 National History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator as a member of its Class of 2015 and has been invited back to Apple Education Institutes in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Welch was the 2016 PBS Learning Media Lead Digital Innovator for Pennsylvania, and a Google Certified Trainer. He served in a leading advisory role when his school became a 1:1 iPad school. Welch also led a team to create the first ever full-length interactive American history iBook in western Pennsylvania. He brought the first chapter of the National Junior Honor Society to North Hills Middle School, allowing students to build on their experiences to develop character, citizenship, academics, service, and leadership. Additionally, Welch serves as a mentor teacher to colleagues and works as a cooperating teacher for undergraduate and pre-service teachers, a role he finds particularly rewarding.

According to North Hills Middle School Principal David Lieberman, “Joe is an advocate for each and every student, working to find multiple strategies to reach out, engage, and challenge them at their level while creating the best educational learning environment possible. He is the teacher every student deserves to have in front of their classroom. He is a self-starter who does his craft well and shares often with others locally and nationally.”

Carlene Bensch, a parent in the school district, said, “Mr. Welch is charismatic, creative, and extremely knowledgeable in so many educational facets. He has excellent classroom management skills and develops a rapport with not only his colleagues, but with his students and parents alike. My son was truly inspired by Mr. Welch on a daily basis.”

According to AMLE Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Auditore, “We’re proud to honor Joseph Welch for his dedication to serving his students with respect for their individual needs at this critical time of life. Mr. Welch embodies the spirit of excellence in middle level education and is an example to all who aspire to have a positive impact on young adolescents.”


About the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) helps middle grades educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools. A membership association with more than 54,000 teachers, principals, counselors, and others as members, AMLE provides professional learning and networking opportunities to those who work with students ages 10–15. www.amle.org www.amle.org/annual

Media Contact
April Tibbles | AMLE Chief Communications Officer | 800-528-6672 | atibbles@amle.org