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2014 Belz-Lipman Award Winners

March 10th, 2014

The Tennessee Holocaust Commission (THC) announces the winners of the 2014 Belz-Lipman Holocaust Educator Award. The winners are: 

  • Kim Gregory,Davidson Academy, Nashville, TN
  • Keith Wood,Christian Brothers High School, Memphis, TN
  • Lance McConkey, Sequoyah High School, Madisonville, TN
  • Wendy VanDyke, Fayette Academy, Somerville, TN

These educators will receive a $1500 scholarship which can be used to develop new curriculum, purchase resources and attend trainings that will help further engage their students in the study of the Holocaust. The award established by Memphis entrepreneurs and philanthropists Jack A. Belz and Ira Lipman recognizes outstanding educators who excel in the teaching of the Holocaust.  

Kim Gregory began teaching in 1989, and she was immediately drawn to the study of the Holocaust. She sought out help from the local Jewish Community Center, and since then, she has continued to seek out more resources to aid in communicating the lessons of the Holocaust to her students, including taking her eighth grade students to the National Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. each year, and taking her A.P. European History students to the Tennessee Holocaust Commission's Irving and Elizabeth Limor Conference for Educators. Kim currently teaches Eighth Grade English and she teaches AP European History, European History to 1450, and Psychology to high school students.  

Keith Wood, a native of Schenectady, New York, is a 20-year veteran teacher who came to Memphis in 1994. He has   taught at Sheffield High School, Millington Central High School and is currently teaching at Christian Brothers High School. He is currently enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Memphis in history. A product of Schenectady’s ethnic melting-pot, he was surrounded by Italians, Poles, Germans, Jews and African-Americans in a very diverse population. He is driven by the opportunity to teach students to see the world through a different set of lenses, lenses that challenge the norms that society dictates for us. And, along the way, allow students to find voice in their own history and the history of others.  


Lance McConkey has been a high school social studies teacher for the past ten years. He obtained his BS degree in history from Tennessee Wesleyan College, a Masters in the Art of Teaching from Lee University, and his Educational Specialist degree from The University of Tennessee Knoxville.  Lance is in the final stage of completing his PhD. at UT Knoxville. He currently teaches at Sequoyah High School in Madisonville, TN. He incorporates a 3-4 week unit of study on the Holocaust while teaching his contemporary issues class. Mr. McConkey plans to use the funds from this award to purchase more resources for his students in their study of the Holocaust and other Genocides.     


Wendy VanDyke is the history department chairperson at Fayette Academy in Somerville, TN. She teaches AP US history, standard US history, and sociology.  She is married to Joe and has one son, George.  Wendy has attended both NEH and Gilder Lehrman seminars and is an Abraham Lincoln fellow. As a member of the National Civil Rights Museum and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Wendy has always incorporated the Holocaust and the prevention of genocide into her class curriculum. She is extremely thankful for this honor and opportunity through the Tennessee Holocaust Commission.