Five Educators Nationwide Named WorldStrides Teachers of the Year | WorldStrides

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Charlottesville, Va.—WorldStrides, the nation’s largest accredited educational travel provider, has named five educators WorldStrides Teachers of the Year. The awards, made in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, recognize outstanding educators from across the country who are committed to experiential learning and the welfare of their students.

Nominations were sent in by students and parents. The winners were selected from more than a 1,000 nominations from teachers in the 5,000+ schools in WorldStrides’ network.

Michelle Bennett, Jamestown Elementary School, Jamestown, Ca. —Bennett, a sixth and seventh grade History and English teacher, was nominated by several students and parents. Bennett has travelled with WorldStrides since 2016. Her group travels include trips to Washington, D.C. and New York. As an educator in a low-income area, she believes travel gives her students the opportunity to see a world outside of their normal routine.

Richard Tinsley II, Oakcrest High School, Mays Landing, N.J. — Tinsley, a music teacher, believes in the power of performance and travel and going above and beyond for his students. In addition to being an educator, Tinsley is an advocate for his community and his students.  He performs in a music group, provides vocal rehearsal assistance to students who want to break into the music business, and refers students to other vocal teachers if he thinks collaboration with that coach will improve the student.

Nathan Dapper, Twin Oaks Middle School, Prior Lake, Minn.—Since 2009, Nathan Dapper and his colleagues have brought more than 2,000 Minnesota middle schoolers to see the nation’s capital. During a difficult year, his hard work and love for education have shined through. According to one of his nominators, “Mr. Dapper is a teacher that gets so into what he is teaching that we all see his eyes sparkle. He has a son with cancer who is very young and seeing Mr. Dapper show up to school every day with a smile on his face and a quick “hello” in the hallway is so inspiring. He is that one amazing teacher that allows his students to have an opinion and be part of every conversation. There was not one day when I did not look forward to coming to his class. He has a way of teaching history. He makes the stories come alive. Mr. Dapper genuinely cares about his students and makes them all feel valued and loved.”

Catherine Hart, Duxbury High School, Marshfield, Mass.– Catherine is a dedicated Latin Studies teacher with a passion for foreign language and travel. According to one of her nominators, “My daughter has had Catherine Hart throughout her 4 years of high school.  She has been a fabulous teacher who supports, teaches and understands her students.   I admire the commitment and patience she has with all of her students and has given them the opportunity to experience the world of travel to broaden their understanding of culture, language, and geography.  My daughter will be graduating this year and know Catherine Hart will be that teacher who has made the difference in her life.”

Theresa Hollenbeck, Winston Churchill Middle School, Carmichael, Ca.— Theresa Hollenbeck is a seventh grade science teacher from Winston Churchill Middle School in Carmichael, Ca. is a dedicated teacher with a passion for science and travel.

According to her nominees, “Ms. Hollenbeck is the most patient, dedicated, energetic teacher I have ever met. In addition to being an amazing and influential teacher to my child, she is also organizing this World Strides trip to Florida. She has worked so hard this year, always going above and beyond the call of duty. She also makes learning science fun. This year has been really challenging for my child, so having Ms. Hollenbeck’s class to look forward to has truly been a blessing for her. We are forever grateful for her. World Strides would be lucky to have this outstanding teacher as their teacher of the year.”

What makes this distinction an accolade of the highest order is that it comes from their own students and parents,” said WorldStrides CEO Jim Hall. “The nominators took time out and share with us the qualities that make them educators they respect, admire, and appreciate.”

All recipients will receive a plaque, $250 Amazon gift card and gifts for their students.




About WorldStrides

WorldStrides, headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., is the largest educational student travel company in the United States. The company was founded in 1967 to provide middle school travel programs to Washington, D.C., and has grown to provide educational programs for more than 400,000 students annually from more than 5,000 K12 schools and universities to over 100 countries around the world. The organization’s full suite of programs are tuned to learners at stages from elementary through post-graduate levels, and feature specializations like performing arts, sports and travel study abroad. For more information on WorldStrides, visit


Media Contact: Jessica Shein, Public Relations Manager, WorldStrides 434-951-8532/



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