Dedicated Jacksonville teacher studies with distinguished scholars

In June, a Jacksonville teacher was selected to attend a prestigious professional development institute in San Antonio sponsored by Humanities Texas in partnership with The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Pamela Dennis, who teaches Texas history and U.S. history at Jacksonville Middle School, participated in “Texas: From Republic to Mega-State,” which took place from June 24–27 at City Education Partners, the Witte Museum and the UTSA campus.

The institute focused on the Republic and early statehood periods, Mexican Americans and Native Americans in nineteenth-century Texas, Texans in the Civil War, cattle and railroads, the Populist and Progressive Movements, women’s suffrage, efforts to secure civil rights for African Americans and Latinx Texans in the twentieth century, LBJ’s Texas, the state’s oil industry and the rise of two-party Texas. Participants also had the opportunity to tour the exhibition “The Art of Texas: 250 Years” and attend a lecture by exhibition curator Ron Tyler.

Author Stephen Harrigan, whose forthcoming history of Texas will be published by the University of Texas Press, delivered the institute’s keynote lecture. The program faculty included distinguished scholars from universities across the nation who worked with teachers to improve the quality of classroom teaching in Texas. The institute offered dynamic presentations, probing discussions and focused seminars in which scholars and teachers developed strategies for engaging students.

“This summer institute was great and without comparison,” Dennis commented. “This program will benefit my students by providing me with various resources to challenge and improve student learning.”

“Humanities Texas was pleased to cosponsor the San Antonio institute,” said Executive Director Michael L. Gillette. “Giving talented teachers the opportunity to interact with their peers and leading scholars will enable them to engage students with exciting new resources and perspectives on our state’s history.”

“Texas: From Republic to Mega-State” was made possible with support from the State of Texas, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation.

Humanities Texas is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Its mission is to advance education through programs that improve the quality of classroom teaching, support libraries and museums and create opportunities for lifelong learning for all Texans.

For more information about Humanities Texas, visit