Ridgefield history teacher to receive Keeler Tavern award

Tom Broderick

Tom Broderick

Contributed photo /

Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center has named Scotts Ridge Middle School Tom Broderick its 2019 recipient of the Anna Keeler Award for Excellence in History and Civics Education.

KTM&HC will present the award to Broderick at its second annual Fall Party on Sept. 14. All funds raised at the event support KTM&HC’s full-day, immersive, and curriculum-aligned school programs developed in partnership with teachers for students in pre-kindergarten through high school.

Established in 2015, the award recognizes a teacher whose passion and dedication motivates students to understand how past events shape the present and inform the future. Broderick will receive the award for partnering with KTM&HC’s Education Department, including Cheyney McKnight, historical interpreter with www.notyourmommashistory.com, to teach eighth grade students about slavery through the poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America,” written by 18th century enslaved African American poet Phillis Wheately.

The Wheately poem demonstrates the power of words to move people to action. “Phillis Wheately was a powerful voice against slavery who corresponded with influential figures in her lifetime, including George Washington and Lord Dartmouth,” said McKnight. “By examining her life, an enslaved black woman with no rights, students are challenged to examine their own privilege and agency and how they can use their voices to effect change.”

“The experience of enslaved individuals and their attempts to assert agency amidst trauma is central to understanding America, past and present,” said Broderick. “I was thrilled to be invited to collaborate with Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center to deepen students’ understanding of these important topics, and I’m honored to be chosen to receive this award.”

Developed by KTM&HC for a youth audience, the program was part of a series called First Principles: Revisiting the Founding Era launched by several town partners to explore themes of the founding era and their relevance to contemporary society.

The award is named after Anna Keeler, the youngest daughter of Timothy and Esther Keeler, who famously operated Keeler Tavern during the American Revolution. As a young woman, Anna Keeler taught at Whipstick School where she was paid ten shillings a week. She spent her life in Ridgefield and lived to be 75 years old.

“We’re delighted to present this award to Tom Broderick at our Fall Party,” said Hildegard Grob, executive director at KTM&HC. “Tom’s approach to education aligns perfectly with ours at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center — to ensure an education rich in history and civics to help students become well-informed, civic-minded, and eager to engage in our democratic traditions.”