May 26, 2020
Cypress Woods High School Street Law and Government teacher Leah Stephanow, left, was among 12 winners across Texas to receive the Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award in 2020. In earning the award, Stephanow won a $5,000 check and an additional $1,000 for Cypress Woods for humanities-based instructional materials. Here, Stephanow is pictured with Texas State Rep. Dr. Tom Oliverson.
May 26, 2020—Cypress Woods High School Street Law and Government teacher Leah Stephanow was recognized as a 2020 winner of the Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award, an honor that is awarded to only 12 humanities educators across the entire state.
Stephanow follows in the footsteps of other Humanities Texas award winners from CFISD, including retired Cypress Woods High School teacher Candace Tannous, former Langham Creek High School teacher Dr. Matthew Campbell, Cy-Fair High School Spanish teacher Cameron Stephen and Jersey Village High School ELL teacher Kim-Ling Sun, who were honorees in 2015, 2016 and 2018, respectively.
The award is given by Humanities Texas, a nonprofit, educational organization that provides programs that advance humanities education throughout the state. Full-time teachers of English and language arts, foreign languages, history and social studies are eligible to be nominated for the Humanities award. In addition, a teacher must have an impact on students and make education enjoyable.
“I’m honored to be included in such an elite group of teachers from across the state,” Stephanow said. “I believe that it’s a great honor to have my 30 years of work teaching in humanities recognized.”
After accepting the nomination, Stephanow wrote two essays and submitted three letters of recommendation. In one of her essays, Stephanow talked about how she started the Street Law course in CFISD in the early 1990s and how the course has spread to all 12 CFISD high schools. Stephanow also talked about her close relationship with the League of Women Voters – Cy-Fair and how that relationship has helped register high school students to vote and has helped students go and vote for the first time through their social studies classes.
In addition to earning this distinction, Stephanow will receive a $5,000 reward and an additional $1,000 for Cypress Woods humanities-based instructional materials.
Stephanow has previously taught U.S. History and Economics, but her favorite course to teach is Street Law.
“The cool thing about Street Law is I have former students that reach out to me or I run into and they tell me how they use the information they’ve learned in that class in everyday life,” Stephanow said. “I ran into a former student who I taught in 1999 and he told me that exact thing–that he uses the information he learned in Street Law in his everyday life. It’s just cool to know I’m teaching something that students enjoy.”