2017 Administrator Recognition Certificate

Presented to James HillSuperintendent, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

We recognize Superintendent James Hill for his support of Nebraska Writing Project educators through the teacher writing workshops held for the past several summers at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. James Hill is nominated by workshop leaders Diana Weis and Jan Knispel.

The lead nominator, Diana Weis, writes:

It does not take long to recognize the deep appreciation and sincere respect the staff at Agate has for their Park Superintendent, James Hill.  Speaking with him, one soon understands why.  He is open and supportive to ideas, gives constructive guidance to creative projects, and is an avid supporter of education and interpretation.  With these talents, he has given the Agate staff a consistent basis and strong footing for success. Under his leadership, the partnership with the Nebraska Writing Project and the National Park Service began and continues to develop. Simply stated, the NPS collaboration and Agate Writer’s Workshops would not have happened without James’ guidance, support, and love of place.  He has a love for Agate that stems from an understanding of place and is rooted in the stories it holds.  He sees all aspects of the park (science, history, and personal narratives) as intertwined.  To him, these pieces are layered stories critical to each other, each needing, and deserving, to be told.  Because of these layered stories, the idea of partnering with the NeWP to hold writing workshops held nothing but possibilities for James.  The Nebraska Writing Project has always demonstrated a love of place-based writing and education.   It is a common thread shared with the National Park Service and in particular with James Hill, Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Park Superintendent.

Jan Knispel, the second nominator, adds this:

Each year James has listened to the needs of the NeWP/Agate workshop facilitators and teacher/writers. In the past, James has made it possible for the NeWP facilitators to have lodging at the park, opened the visitors’ center, ranger areas, and archives to the facilitators and the teacher/writers. This year, Superintendent Hill has made it possible for participants to camp in the park because there are few lodging or camping facilities within a number of miles. This will allow our teacher/writers and facilitators to be more involved in the park activities and to avoid long drives to Agate, as well as attend a dinner/cookout at the park and have a writing experience there. Seeing the various historical documents and artifacts adds to the experience of the park and the writing of place based material by the participants. One experience that stands out in my mind was his explanation of how to identify fossils which lead me to be able to identify a fossil in its natural placement a year later in another locale. James made it possible for me have that experience.

We are very grateful to have the support of administrators like James Hill. His vision of place based education and his practical support of teachers traveling to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument from all areas of the state are a clear aid to our work as educators and as citizens of our region.

Please join us in honoring James Hill with the 2017 Nebraska Writing Project Administrator Certificate of Recognition.

Robert Brooke
Director, Nebraska Writing Project
5 May 2017