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These teachers represent a variety of our membership’s grade levels and geographic areas. They will serve as consultants on special projects, give feedback to the Board of Directors, share ideas to support classroom teachers and promote history education.
Monta Vista High School (CA)
Bonnie Belshe is Social Studies Department Chair and teaches US history and AP US history at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, CA. She has an MA in education from the University of San Francisco and an MA in history from San Jose State University. Her research specialties are civil rights history and American women’s social history. She has been a three-time summer scholar for the National Endowment for the Humanities and was named the California History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute in 2014. In 2017–2018, Belshe was named as one of six teacher fellows for Mount Vernon’s Lifeguard Teacher Fellowship.
Her research and lesson plans for Mount Vernon focus on incorporating 18th century women’s history into high school history classes. She currently holds a teacher support grant from the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University. Belshe’s research will be on comparing first and second wave feminism for black and white women and she will write high school lesson plans based on her research with the library’s primary source materials. She has co-hosted several webinars for WGBH on using the PBS Learning Media resources and American Experience. Belshe is a member of the 2018-2019 Teacher Advisory Council for the National Humanities Center. When not teaching, she loves to read, travel, enjoy the beach, and finding the best snorkeling spots.
Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center (IN)
I graduated from Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana in 2005 with a degree in Social Studies Secondary Education. For five years, I taught all social studies classes in grades 6- 12 in an alternative program in my hometown of Kankakee, Illinois. I also received a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in English as a Second Language from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois in 2013.
In 2014, I moved to Indianapolis, where I currently reside. I teach World History at Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center, which is part of the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, a large, urban school district on the west side of the city. I am passionate about history because I love stories. The awesome thing about teaching history is that I get to tell stories, and help students tell stories, every day plus, they’re all true!
I’ve spent time working and sharing in living history museums, learning across the country at teacher institutes, and developing new curriculum for my students. Outside of the classroom I am an avid Chicago Bears fan. I love to read, bake, and eat what I’ve baked. I am also slowly amassing what I hope will one day be an impressive collection of globes.
Kelseyville High School (CA)
I have been a high school history teacher for twelve years. During that time, I have taught a variety of social studies courses from civics and economics to world history, geography, and American history. I currently teach modern world history, AP US history, and AVID at Kelseyville High School in Kelseyville, California. My main passion is teaching world history, however my main goals as a teacher are to encourage curiosity and inquiry in all of my students. I earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in teaching history from Austin College in Sherman, Texas. My education and history professors inspired me to continue learning about history and to bring that enthusiasm to my students.
My goal as an educator is to give students an updated look at history by having them explore primary sources and individual voices to discover the nuances of the events that have led us to the present. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy traveling with an emphasis on exploring culture and food so that I can bring the experiences back to my students. I also enjoy reading and exploring the outdoors of Northern California with my partner and dog.
Palm Bay Magnet High School (FL)
Jennifer A. Jolley is a National Board Certified Teacher who has taught secondary social studies since 1993. She currently teaches at Palm Bay Magnet High School, a STEAM school located on the Space Coast in Melbourne, Florida. Throughout her career, she has taught a range of social studies subjects including Advanced Placement courses—U.S. Government and Politics, Comparative Politics, U.S. History, and World History. In 2013, she successfully obtained renewal with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards until 2023. She was named a James Madison Fellow of Florida in 2010, and has twice been awarded the honor of High School Social Studies Teacher of the Year (Broward County, FL 2006 and Brevard Public Schools, FL 2016). She has received educational fellowships to the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Germany, Mongolia, and to many historic locations within the United States. She has traveled in Latin America, Asia, and Europe, and she has lived in Japan and Colombia.
In the last two years, she has participated in two NCHE sponsored TIAH colloquiums: US Patent and Trademark Office and NASA. She will co-present at the annual Organization of American Historians Meeting in Philadelphia on behalf of NCHE in April 2019. Most importantly, she is proud to serve on NCHE’s Teacher Advisory Group (TAG). Additionally, she serves as the District 9 Board Member for the Florida Council for Social Studies, as an Ashbrook Center (TeachingAmericanHistory.org) Ambassador, a Transatlantic Outreach Program (TOP) Trainer Specialist, and a member of the iCivics Educator Network. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Flagler College in Social Sciences and Philosophy/Religion and a Master of Arts in American History and Government from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, in Ashland, Ohio. When she is not teaching or traveling to conferences or weekend seminars, she enjoys salt-water fishing and going to the beach.
Sauganash School (IL)
Hi! My name is Renee Kreczmer. I am the mother to three adorable and smart little dogs. I have a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and two Master’s degrees from University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University. I teach third and fourth grade Writing and Social Studies for Chicago Public Schools. I’m lucky to live in a city with such a rich history, and enjoy visiting historic sites in other cities.
My love of history began when I started teaching it to third graders and I have subsequently authored a children’s history book of Chicago titled Just Add Water: Making the City of Chicago. On those rare occasions when I have energy after the school week and after school work I enjoy going to concerts, reading, taking photographs (of bands), or just lying on the couch with my three fur babies
Norfolk Public Schools (VA)
Melissa Mitchell is the Elementary History Teacher Specialist for Norfolk Public Schools in Norfolk, VA. She earned her B.A. from Virginia Wesleyan University and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Averett University. As a Teacher Specialist, Melissa provides support to the district’s elementary teachers by developing instructional materials, providing professional development and classroom coaching, and working with students in the area of History and Social Science. Prior to this position, Melissa taught fifth grade for fifteen years at Bay View Elementary in Norfolk, where she was selected as the 2016 Teacher of the Year and named to the Top Ten Teaching Team for the district.
In addition to her work in Norfolk, Melissa has served on several committees for the Virginia Department of Education and was awarded the 2017 Sunburst Educator of the Year for her work with military students through Young Audiences Arts for Learning Virginia. Melissa spent her years in the elementary classroom striving to expand her knowledge of pedagogical practices in the area of history instruction. This drive motivated her to attend numerous teacher institutes, conferences, and workshops in the quest to improve her craft. Among her favorites are the Summer Teacher Institutes at Jamestown and Williamsburg. Melissa’s favorite history topics are Virginia and U.S. History.
She has a strong interest in learning about the historical people behind the scenes and can often be found sharing her knowledge with the teachers in her district. A life-long learner herself, Melissa has passed on her love of history to her two children. Family vacations often include visits to museums and historical attractions. Luckily, her husband shares her enthusiasm for history and is always game for a bit of learning on their trips. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys camping, reading, watching sports, and loving on her two dogs, Wrigley and Lincoln
Downington East High School (PA)
Ellen Resnek currently teaches tenth-grade World History and Advanced Placement European History at Downingtown East High School in Exton PA and is the advisor to their National Honor Society, Model UN, Generation for Change, Red Cross, Ted X, and Key Clubs. She assists in the coordination of DASD Danish Exchange with the Marie Kruses Skole in Farum Denmark. She is a reader for the AP European History Exam. She also teaches the University of Pittsburgh College in High School Course; HIST 0101 Western Civilization 2. She received her Bachelors of Arts in History from the University of Massachusetts in 1988 and hold 2 Masters Degrees from Wilkes University.
She is also a member of the Teacher Advisory Board for The National Constitution Center; responsible for promoting highquality, nonpartisan, civic education through a variety of activities and programs. Throughout her teaching career she has attended multiple teacher seminars from NEH, Gilder Lerhman, FPRI, Classrooms without Borders, USS Midway, Yad Vashem, Bilateral TEACH Initiative, and TAH to name a few. She was the Second-place winner of the George Washington Prize for Teaching America's Founding in 2008 and received the Lucile Cornetet Individual Award for Professional Development from the Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation in 2008. In 2011 she traveled to Germany with the Transatlantic Outreach Program. Since that time she has collaborated on a number of programs with TOP.
She is also a member of the TOP Professional Development Trainer Specialist network . She was awarded the TOP Fellow of the Year for 2018. She has been married to her husband, Bob, for 30 years and has 2 grown children, Sam and Cecilia. Both have relocated to Colorado after graduating from Penn State and James Madison University respectively. She and her family enjoy cycling, hiking, and traveling.
Boston Public Schools (MA)
Christian Scott is a middle school Social Studies teacher in Boston Public Schools. Christian received his BA in English and MEd from the University of Massachusetts Boston. In the classroom Mr. Scott puts an emphasis on student engagement and expression by incorporating arts and technology into his curriculum. He promotes civic engagement and somehow manages to squeeze in over a dozen field trips each year. A lifelong learner, Christian can often be found strolling around museums, attending place-based professional developments or listening to really nerdy podcasts. Long ago Christian graduated culinary school and worked in French restaurants, and he can still whip up a fancy family dinner.
Carlisle Area School District (PA)
Kevin Wagner is the Social Studies Program Chair (6-12) for the Carlisle Area School District in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and has been an educator for 22 years. He currently teaches AP U.S. History and AP Seminar. He holds a BA in Social Studies Certification/History from Messiah College and a MA in Educational Leadership from Shippensburg University. He has received numerous awards for education, including the Thomas W. Holtzman, Jr. Educational Leadership Award for outstanding contributions in educational administration, the National Liberty Museum’s “Teacher as Hero” Award for making a difference in the lives of students, and the AHA Beveridge Family Teaching Award.
He holds membership in NCSS, PCSS, MSCSS, NCHE, and AHA and serves on the PCSS board, the PA NHD Advisory Council, and the Pennsylvania Teachers Advisory Council. Outside of the classroom, you can find Mr. Wagner continuing his love of history in researching the lives of World War II soldiers and the hidden history in his small town.
Austin High School (TX)
Cherry Whipple, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, is a National BoardCertified history teacher at Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas. She teaches the Advanced Placement U.S. History portion of an interdisciplinary course, American Studies, partnered with an AP English teacher. As an AP instructor, she often shares her knowledge and resources with teachers around the nation through her online presence and through face-to-face venues. Cherry uses her experience in humanities-related to present at the local and national level, including at the AP Annual Conference and the Western History Association Conference, where she received a Charles Redd Center Teaching Western History award.
Cherry was honored as the 2018 Texas History Teacher of the Year from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, a 2018 Outstanding Teacher of the Humanities from Humanities Texas, and received a James Madison Fellowship to work on her graduate degree in history at Ashland University. A strong advocate for the humanities, Cherry served on the 2017 National Humanities Center Teacher Advisory Council, works with the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Western Region on teacher-historian collaborations, and attends many professional development opportunities around the nation, such as institutes by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Ashbrook Center, the Western History Association, The National Council for History Education, and the Texas Council for the Social Studies.
In addition to her teaching role, Cherry is the chair of the Innovative Media and Technology Department on her campus, is a Campus Innovation Coach for her school district, and supports instructional technology and blended learning through workshops, mentoring, and advocacy. She currently is finishing her MicroCredential for “Transformative Technology” and hopes to continue her innovative pathway by working on additional credentials in project-based learning, literacy, and advanced academics. Outside of her school duties, when Cherry is not spending time with her granddaughter and family, she consults on U.S. history topics for major textbook publishers at both the Advanced Placement and college levels.
Alston Middle School (SC)
I am Pren (“Dunn”) Woods, a native of Charleston, SC. I am in my 11th year of teaching social studies at Alston Middle School in Summerville, SC. This is my 21st year of teaching. My 7th grade world history class is full of theatrics as we make history come alive and relevant. I have told my students that it is my expectation that they will transform the worlds (e.g., places of worship, school, neighborhood, sports, etc.) in which they live into better places. To achieve this classroom dynamic, it is critical that my students and I work with primary sources which help us see how the history narrative is often missing the voices of those who are marginalized.
I love my job tremendously. Mondays excite me because I get to say, “I have five days with my students. Make them count.” I love the NCHE’s focus on primary sources and providing top-notch professional development opportunities for teachers and I am thrilled to be in the teacher advisory group. When I am not teaching, you can find me eating amazing food somewhere, thinking about my next travel plan, and karaokeing.
The National Council for History Education provides professional and intellectual leadership to foster an engaged community committed to the teaching, learning, and appreciation of diverse histories.