James A. Percoco

James A. Percoco has taught at West Springfield High School in Springfield, Virginia since 1980. The recipient of numerous education awards, Percoco was one of five individuals inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2011. He was selected for the first USA TODAY All-USA Teacher Team in 1998 and named Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 1993 at the Walt Disney Company American Teacher Awards.

His first book, A Passion for the Past: Creative Teaching of U.S. History (1998) received the 2000 James Harvey Robinson Prize from the American Historical Association. From 1998-2004, Percoco served on the Board of Trustees for the National Council for History Education. An advocate for promoting good history education Percoco has served as an educational consultant for the National Archives and Records Administration, where he received the Archivist’s Award of Achievement in 1993, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Since 1991 students in his nationally recognized Applied History, an academically rigorous high school public history program, have contributed over 20,000 man-hours to historic sites, museums, and history agencies in Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. Each spring Percoco dispatches student interns to the history work force with Marian Wright Edelman’s words, “Service is the rent each of us pays for living.” Applied History Interns have worked at Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, Arlington House: The Robert E. Lee Memorial, Gunston Hall, Carlyle House, the Octagon Museum, and the Alexandria Black History Resource Center among others. “His work is exceptional, path breaking, and innovative. He cares about his students by making history more than just memorizing dates,” says Dwight Pitcaithley, Chief Historian of the National Park Service. According to Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough, “The real secret of the Percoco classroom magic is that unbeatable combination of a love of teaching and an all-out love of his subject.”

In 1999 Percoco was selected by the United States Department of State, education sponsored program, Partners In Education, to travel to Russia for two weeks to work with Russian educators in a collaborative exchange. In December, 2005, Percoco led a delegation of American History Educators to Beijing, China to participate in a China-United States International People –to – People Conference on education. He will be leading a second delegation this November and delivering the American keynote address. His second book, Divided We Stand: Teaching about Conflict in U.S. History was published in 2001. In 2004 Percoco was appointed by the Dean of the School of Education at American University an Adjunct Professor in Education and was named by the University as History Educator-in-Residence and teaches in the School Education and the Department of History. Percoco is a member of the Advisory Board of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. His third book, Summers with Lincoln: Looking for the Man in the Monuments was published in 2008. Percoco's writings have also appeared in The Washington Times and American Art Review. In recent years Percoco speaks for a variety of groups in the History Education field.

Jim Percoco and his 2007 Applied History class can be seen in Paul Sanderson's latest documentary Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture for which Jim Percoco also served as an advisor.