The winner of the Maryland Geographic Alliance’s James B. Binko Outstanding Geography Educator-of-the-Year Award is Dustin Rhodes of Harford County Public Schools.
Currently, Mr. Rhodes teaches sixth-grade contemporary world geography at Magnolia Middle School. His innovative teaching has been highlighted on Baltimore’s WBAL news as well as in a National Education Association publication, serving as a public record of his commitment to geographic literacy and global understanding. Prior to his career in teaching, Mr. Rhodes served in the U.S. Air Force.
In a letter of support, Supervisor of Social Studies for Harford County Public Schools, Erin Lange, stated that “Time and again, Dustin has shown himself to be a risk-taker instructionally in order to meet the needs of the students in his care and to grow their capacity for geographic thinking. From his work tackling the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine to a Model United Nations project-based learning unit, Mr. Rhodes is constantly pushing his own pedagogy in order to inspire and challenge his students.”
One example of Mr. Rhodes’ outstanding work with geography has been his students’ use of interactive maps to explore the physical and human geography of Ukraine in relation to the ongoing conflict with Russia. Ms. Lange sums up Mr. Rhodes’s influence by noting that “his classroom is a place where students feel a sense of belonging and are empowered to think critically about geographic themes.” For more about Mr. Rhodes’ teaching about the war in Ukraine, see https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/teaching-about-war-ukraine.
This award is named for Dr. James B. Binko, a lifelong advocate for geography education. Spanning more than 50 years, his remarkable career included work as a Maryland public schoolteacher, an education professor and dean of the College of Education at Towson University, and an educational consultant for the National Geographic Society.