TAUNTON — Superintendent John Cabral and Interim Principal Scott Holcomb are pleased to announce that Taunton High School Social Studies Curriculum Supervisor Peter Gillen was named a recipient of the 2021 Yale Educator Award.
Gillen has been recognized by the Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions as part of the Yale Educator Recognition Program. The program recognizes outstanding educators from around the world who support and inspire their students to perform at high levels and achieve excellence. This year, the Yale Educator Recognition Program recognized 305 nominees, who represent 38 states and 17 countries, 50 teachers and 21 counselors.
Gillen was nominated by a matriculating student and chosen as a Yale Educator Award recipient by a committee of Yale admissions officers. The Yale Admissions Office attributes the exceptional quality of the Yale student body to educators like these recipients of the 2021 Yale Educator Award who help to shape their students long before they attend Yale.
Gillen has been teaching high school and community college since 1998. He began his tenure at Taunton Public Schools in 2002 serving as a history teacher. For the past eight years, he’s served as the Social Studies Curriculum Supervisor at Taunton High School. Within his position, Gillen develops curriculum and professional development for the district social studies department, supervises 16 teachers and advises
the Model United Nations Club.
Gillen is also credited with revising the district’s K-12 curriculum in collaboration with the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and K-8 Humanities Director. Revision included changing the course sequence, adding historical thinking skills to each unit of instruction, promoting local history and the use of primary sources, and training teachers in the use of Understanding by Design. He also expanded Taunton Public Schools’ Advanced Placement program, adding three new courses including Human Geography, Comparative Government and Seminar, and more than doubled student enrollment in AP courses since he began his position in 2012.
“This is yet another example of how the staff at Taunton High School continuously go above and beyond to positively impact the lives of the students surrounding them,” Interim Principal Holcomb said. “We are grateful for Peter Gillen’s unwavering dedication to Taunton High School and congratulate him on his recognition. It is important to take these moments to celebrate and reflect upon the positive impacts educators have on the lives of their students.”
Gillen also serves as Taunton Public Schools’ Mission Committee chairman for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, as an Instructional Leadership Team Member, and co-founder and co-director of The Enlightenment Project, which is an enrichment program for students in sixth through ninth grade.
Gillen holds a master’s degree in history from Providence College, a master’s degree in philosophy from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Villanova University. He has also received numerous awards and fellowships throughout his tenure.
“Peter has been a vital member of our school community for over the past 20 years and has spearheaded numerous projects and initiatives to better our social studies curriculum,” Superintendent Cabral said. “We are pleased to see him receive this prestigious award as it is a testament to his hard work, dedication and the lasting impact he has had on the Taunton Public School student body.”