Year Honored: 1999James Madison University
At the time of the Award, Philip Bigler was:Teacher
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
After 23 years of teaching, Philip Bigler says that the opportunity to return to his alma mater, James Madison University, as its director "was impossible to pass up." Previously, Bigler spent two years as historian of the Arlington National Cemetery. He then returned to teaching history at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria. Under his tutelage, students debated current issues as members of a Greek polis, argued Constitutional law before a mock Supreme Court and collected oral histories from residents of the Soldiers' and Airmen's Home. Named National Teacher of the Year in 1998, Bigler was also Jefferson's lead teacher trainer. In 2007, along with fellow Milken Educator Stephanie Bishop (VA '01), Bigler authored and edited Be a Teacher: You Can Make a Difference, a book for pre-service and novice educators.