The Civil War Trust has named Joe Foster, formerly of Bethesda, as its 2014 teacher of the year. Foster was recognized and presented the award at the Civil War Trust's National Teacher Institute in Atlanta, Ga., in July.
Foster is a 1989 graduate of Union Local High School. He is the son of Carl and Marjorie Foster of Bethesda.
For the past 14 years, Foster has taught high school social studies at Waynesfield-Goshen Schools in Auglaize County, Ohio. In addition to teaching American history, world history, government and economics, Foster teaches a one-semester elective course on the Civil War, for which he developed the curriculum.
In 2011, Foster founded the Civil War Brigade, a student service organization that promotes Civil War history by helping preserve battlefields and educate the local community about Civil War history. So far, the brigade has raised more than $3,500 for the Civil War Trust and the Gettysburg Foundation.
Students of the Civil War Brigade have presented at the Ohio School Board Association Student Achievement Fair, hosted Veterans Day dinners, traveled to Gettysburg for the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and performed many community presentations and service projects.
In 2012, Foster was named the Ohio history teacher of the year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute.
Over the past year, he has been a guest speaker for the Conestoga Society in Columbus and has had his lesson, "Roaming with the Gnome: Using a Mascot to Teach the Civil War," featured by the Civil War Trust.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit organization in the United States devoted to the preservation of Civil War battlefields. To date, the Civil War Trust has helped preserve more than 39,000 acres of battlefield land. In addition to battlefield preservation, the trust sponsors educational initiatives designed to increase awareness of the war's history and provides numerous professional developments for teachers and many educational resources.