MANSFIELD — Superintendent Teresa Murphy and Principal Mary Watkins are pleased to announce that a teacher at Mansfield High School has been named the recipient of the 2021 William Spratt Award for Excellence in Teaching High School Social Studies.
MHS Social Studies teacher Julia Atwood nominated her fellow Social Studies teacher Melissa Heeden for the award, which is given out annually by the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (MCSS). Atwood was notified that Heeden had won the award on Tuesday, June 15.
Atwood said she nominated Heeden because of how deserving she is of special recognition.
“Melissa is a hardworking and dedicated educator whom I have had the pleasure of working with for the last 14 years,” Atwood said. “I have collaborated with her on countless occasions and designed two courses with her over the years. I have watched her give countless hours to Mansfield High School as both a teacher and a coach, and I have seen how the students look to her for guidance.”
Atwood said Heeden’s passion for Social Studies and desire to help her students are just two of the many traits that make her a fabulous teacher.
Heeden has been teaching for 16 years, 14 of which have been in Mansfield (all at MHS). She coached volleyball for 13 years. She teaches ninth grade World History, 10th grade U.S. History and a 11th and 12th grade elective Social History through Sports; she created the Sports History elective four years ago.
“I am truly humbled by Julia’s nomination,” Heeden said. “This came as a complete surprise. I truly feel as if my entire department could earn this award, because I work with an incredible team. After such a crazy year, it was extremely kind of Julia to think of me, and I sincerely appreciate the award and recognition.”
Heeden lives in Mansfield with her husband (a local business owner) and their two children.
“This is a very special recognition for a very deserving teacher,” Principal Watkins said. “Melissa is an outstanding teacher, and her students love her classes and her enthusiasm.”
An in-person awards ceremony for Heeden and all of the MCSS award winners will be held in the fall.