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2013 NCSS Election-Candidates
In keeping with the constitutional provision for nominating candidates for the board of directors, the nominations committee named candidates for four board of directors categories to serve three-year terms. The committee named two candidates for vice-president. Each nominee was asked to submit a photograph, a 200-word biographical sketch, and a 200-word position statement. These items are printed here and the text is unedited, except for changes to conform to a standard format.
The NCSS board election is conducted online through a Internet election service. Voting opens February 1, 2013 and closes March 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. Individual NCSS members of good standing as of December 31, 2012 will receive instructions on voting by email.Candidate Speeches from the 2012 House of Delegates Candidates Forum (recorded November 2012.)
As a Minneapolis Public Schools teacher for 18 years, Michael has taught all of the social studies, served as department chair and been a program coordinator. He has taught middle school, high school, online courses, adult diploma, GED, and social studies methods. Previously, Michael was president of the Minnesota Council for the Social Studies and is currently president of the Indiana Council. As a state teacher/leader and former NCSS board member, he understands the commitment of continually being an advocate for social studies education. When the Governor sought to implement a set of standards that specifically excluded NCSS and the Minnesota Council, Michael led MCSS to build a coalition that wrote an alternative set of standards, and then worked with legislators to pass them. When the same Governor tried to divide Minnesota social studies teachers into separate disciplines, MCSS fought to keep a single license. Working with a dedicated board of directors, MCSS came back from a financial crunch to solvency. Michael continues to work on behalf of social studies education while pursuing his Ph.D. and as an Instructor at Indiana University. Michael loves traveling to new places with his wife and son, and reading history books in a hammock.
As the curriculum was narrowed and social studies marginalized under NCLB, teachers labored to bring authentic and meaningful citizen education to American students. Now that many of the most onerous provisions are being lifted, teachers are looking for guidance and advocacy in this new world of even more responsibility and accountability. For nearly one-hundred years, NCSS had continued to be the preeminent organization fighting for social studies teachers, and aiding them to be more effective in the classroom. Yet, with budgets squeezed and teacher salaries frozen, we have lost membership and attendance at conferences. Our State and regional affiliates are struggling to meet today's challenges and create new opportunities for growth.
The future of NCSS is in the hands of young teachers who bring energy, curiosity and vitality to the organization. Along with professional development and advocacy, NCSS builds the next generation of leaders in the field. To shape a strong foundation, we should reach out to young teachers, mentoring them through personal contact, social media, and online tools. NCSS has a rich history of being on the forefront of support for teachers. Our challenge, going into the future, is to continue that tradition and form a new, lasting, legacy.
Kim O'Neil, past president of NYSCSS and CNYCSS, is a candidate for the vice-president position for the National Council for the Social Studies. Kim is currently serving her second term on the Board as the elementary representative. During her tenure she has held annual meetings with her Congressmen on Capitol Hill to discuss the ill effects the 2001 NCLB legislation continues to have on the teaching of social studies at the elementary and secondary levels. She has served as co-chair of the International Visitors' Task Force, is a member of the editorial board for the Young Learner publication and of the review board for the NCSS Notable SS Trade Books. She is a co-author of the 2012 Goethe Institut curricular materials and serves as the outreach teacher liaison for the Moynihan Institute Center for European Studies at Syracuse University. Kim is a National Board Certified teacher and has taught for 35 years as an elementary and middle school teacher in Liverpool, NY.
The most significant issue facing social studies education today is the resounding effect that the 2001 "No Child Left Behind" legislation continues to have on social studies education across the United States. Never have I felt a direct impact of national legislation in my classroom as I have since NCLB was instituted. I continue to see changes reverberating at the district, state, and national level. Because of the requirement to give yearly tests in ELA, math, and science, and to publish the results in local newspapers, many administrators across the US are instructing teachers to focus on these subject areas only. Without the inclusion of social studies as an equal core subject in the legislation, social studies education will continue to be marginalized and leave the classroom entirely. How can we promote and maintain our democratic system without teaching citizenship? As educators we must work diligently to keep the teaching of social studies in classrooms across the United States for it is the foundation of our democratic system. Our challenge is to make our legislators aware of the ramifications of the 2001 NCLB as it is currently written. As a board member of NCSS, I have met with Congressional aides who were completely unaware that social studies was being marginalized! I will continue to support the efforts of NCSS to educate our political leaders and keep the membership aware of current legislation. Without the inclusion of social studies in a future revision of The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the inevitable negative impact on our democracy is truly alarming.
Elementary Classroom Teacher
Kimberly Heckart has focused on teaching in learning for the past 22 years. She graduated from Truman State University in 1990 with a BSE in Elementary Education. Later she received her Reading Endorsement from Iowa Wesleyan College and her Master's Degree in Elementary Education from Viterbo University. She currently teaches third grade in the College Community School District in Cedar Rapids, IA, and Elementary Social Studies Methods at the University of Iowa. Kim has been a member and presenter of both ICSS and NCSS since 2001. She was named Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year of both ICSS and NCSS and Gilder Lehrman Teacher of the year in 2007. She is actively involved with educational programs of two local museums, Brucemore and The African-American Museum. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, a daughter attending the University of Iowa, a son who is a junior in high school, and her husband. They all enjoy traveling, especially to historical places. Reading, scrapbooking, and gardening are hobbies that keep her busy. Kim continues to strive to be a life-long learner and activist for her students.
One of the most significant issues facing social studies education is the lack of emphasis on such a critical subject. With state and national pressure of high-stakes testing, social studies has been deemed by administrators as the subject that can be "left out" since it is not "reported". More than ever students, teachers, and administrators need social studies as an avenue to encourage a context of belonging to a country where the greater good can and will prevail. Social studies provides a means to connect to their heritage, build a sense our country's foundation of freedom and democracy, a sense of history, and gain 21st Century Skills to succeed in the our global world. As educators, it's our duty to make connections across the curriculum and enhance the opportunity for socials studies to be taught. I would address this issue by continuing to advocate for cross-curricular professional learning communities within schools, integration of literacy strategies into social studies, educate teachers "how" to teach social studies with content and strategies, and actively involve students in service learning and community projects to build basis for 21st Century Skills. United we must stand to advocate for the future of our students with social studies at the forefront.
After completing my teaching degree from Brigham Young University and receiving my state 1st-8th grade teaching certificate for Utah, I began my career teaching at Windsor Elementary in Alpine School District. There I taught all the elementary subjects to 5th graders in a Spanish Immersion program. Through the 26 years in which I have taught, all in either 5th or 6th grade, my emphasis in my classroom has been to find ways to integrate all the subjects with each other, with a special emphasis on social studies.
I am a member of the Utah Council for the Social Studies (UCSS) and the National Council for the Social Studies. In March of 2011, I received the Utah Council for the Social Studies Elementary Teacher of the Year. In December, I was honored to be named the National Council for the Social Studies Outstanding Elementary Teacher of the Year for 2011.
Currently, I'm a fifth grade teacher, I'm serving as a member of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Mentor Advisory Group, the secretary of and steering committee member for the Utah Geographic Alliance, and a master teacher/ in-service trainer for the Alpine School District's Teaching American History Grant.
For me, the most significant issue currently facing social studies education at the elementary school level is the idea that social studies is not as important as other academic subjects taught in the school day. Some suggest that social studies should not be given equal status in our daily instruction time, as well as in professional development opportunities and support for teachers. Another misperception is that educators cannot effectively and efficiently teach literacy skills and strategies through the content of social studies (history/geography).
It has been my experience, throughout my twenty-six year teaching career in the classroom, that these subjects must and should be integrated, to not only provide our students with balanced instruction, but also to encourage and support all learners. It is imperative that we show how much we value our history by giving it, and all of the social studies curriculum, sufficient time and support in our instruction/learning time with the students.
Secondary Classroom Teacher
Growing up in a family with a deep love and respect for history, I literally lived the discipline of history and social studies, participating in pre-1840 rendezvous reenactments from about the age of three through my high school years and living in a log cabin deep in the woods for most of my life. This instilled in me not only a love of social studies, but also a desire to have others come to know what I know—that history is alive within us and we are, indeed, the creators of it.
This passion led me to a career in education. I graduated with a degree in Broadfield Social Studies/Sociology and have been a high school social studies teacher for fourteen years in a small, rural school district in central Wisconsin. I have also been a part-time technical college instructor of sociology and economics.
I value the opportunities I have received to better prepare my students for their roles as global citizens. I look forward to working at the national level to advocate for social studies education and for a reassessment of the importance of social studies in building an engaged citizenry.
The most significant issue facing us today is the political devaluation of our discipline. We are losing our importance as core curriculum. This is being seen in elementary schools across the country, as class time once dedicated specifically for social studies is being shortened or eliminated altogether in favor of more reading/language arts or math time. While there is no argument that these skills are extremely valuable for young people to learn, there seems to be little discussion outside our social studies circle about the importance of the life skills and knowledge students will not receive as a result of their lack of social studies preparation. We need to develop a more forceful voice on this issue.
As a member of state social studies committees, I have looked over lists of skills developed by global skills advocacy organizations. Most of these critical skills for the 21st century global citizen directly related to social studies. Why is this not our battle cry? We need to use this and other research to promote social studies in a fresh way. Social studies skills are keys to future success.
My name in Anton Schulzki and have been teaching for 30 years in Colorado Springs. I currently teach as part of the International Baccalaureate program, and serve as our schools Advanced Placement coordinator. Through the years I have taught a wide range of social studies classes and have been an active leader in the building and district. I was department chair for 12 years and helped to develop curriculum for the school and district. I became very active in helping to develop assessments for Colorado, my district and school. I served on the 2006 NAEP United States History Exam review panel. My work with these assessments led me to become far more involved with NCSS. In the past years I have presented at state, regional and national conferences on a variety of topics. I was elected to the House of Delegates in 2008 from the Canada Community. I was honored to be elected to Steering Committee for the House of Delegates in 2009 and served as the chair of the Steering Committee at the annual conference in 2010. In 2011, I was appointed to the Colorado Council board of directors and serve as their delegate to the House of Delegates.
In this second decade of the 21st century, NCSS needs to look to the future with a clear vision. We need to come together as social studies educators to view that futurewith a renewed sense of purpose. We must continue to make our vision clear to the public, politicians and most importantly among ourselves, and our voices heard loudly, clearly and collectively. We have developed new ways ofreaching out to our students through new technologies, yet, at times, we fail to reach out to each other and decision-makers at every level. I would like to help NCSS reach out to all constituencies including current members, and more importantly, new teachers. I am eager to develop the type of mentorships that will lead to innovative ideas in the classroom, using experience and exuberance to be truly transformative. Our vision for the future must move our disciplines to the forefront and become the leaders of the educational debate. The year 2020 will be on us before we know it and we need to look to that year and beyond with 20/20 vision. I want help lead NCSS look to that date and beyond and appreciate your support.
K-12 Classroom Teacher At-Large
This is my 28th year as an educator. I have taught every social studies subject except Psychology and Sociology. I currently am the Secondary Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for Lovejoy ISD and have been in this job for the lastseven years. My involvement with social studies organizations began with the Texas Council for the Social Studies over 25 years ago. Since that time I have been committed to furthering the cause of social studies at the state and local level. My local affiliation started with the Plano Council for the Social Studies where I was a founding member and officer for many years. When Plano hosted the TCSS conference I was a member of the Exhibits committee and the entertainment committee. When I came to Lovejoy I started the Lovejoy Council for the Social Studies. In 2009, the Lovejoy Council hosted the TCSS conference in Dallas. I was the conference chairperson for this event. We were a small group (21 members), but mighty. Currently, I will assume the presidency of the Texas Council for the Social Studies in January 2013. I have contributed to The Texan the TCSS membership publication and was named the TCSS 2006 Middle School Teacher of the Year. I have also been president of the Texas Social Studies Supervisors Association. I am a longstanding member of NCSS and NSSSA. I have attended numerous NCSS and NSSSA conferences. I have also presented at NCSS.
Legitimizing social studies across the country especially in the elementary grades has become a concern. Due to high stakes testing in the elementary grade schools for ELA, Science, and Math, Social Studies seems to have been forgotten. In Texas, many elementary schools don't even teach social studies and if they do it is maybe a 10 minute sketch. What needs to happen is a way to bring social studies back into the elementary grade levels. Perhaps this could be done with a legitimate program that truly integrates social studies into the curriculum at the elementary level. A true integration perhaps with ELA where social studies is being taught and made important while teaching english. Elementary teachers need to be supported in this effort with professional development that includes skill building and content for social studies. When this is done the transition to implementing solid and viable lessons in the curriculum will be the norm and students moving into middle school will have a much better footing in meeting the rigorous demands and standards at the secondary level.
Charles Vaughan, a National Board Certified Teacher, holds a BA in Secondary Social Studies Education from Coastal Carolina College (now University, 1992), an MEd in Secondary Social Studies Education from the University of South Carolina (1996), and a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from USC (2012). His dissertation research is centered on the an analysis of Southern political, cultural, and historical contexts of official social studies curriculum standards. He has taught middle school (1994-2000) and high school (2002- present) in Richland School District Two in Columbia, SC, and his teaching assignments have included World Geography, South Carolina History, World History, Global Studies, International Studies, and AP Human Geography. Recognizing that not all students learn the same, he has been involved in virtual high school instruction for virtual institutions in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Oregon. He is involved in various social studies professional organizations (SC Council for the Social Studies, SC Geographic Alliance, NCSS, NCGE, NSSSA) and has been a presenter at various district, state, and national conferences. Presentation topics range from incorporating geography across the curriculum to running a classroom using Web 2.0 tools. Vaughan has also been involved in standards development in SC.
The Great Recession has witnessed a tightening of budgets, and teachers are being asked to do more with less. Caught in the scramble for disappearing funds are social studies teachers who are often denied leave to attend professional development that is crucial for growth. In the near future, I see the need for professional organizations to need to develop "just in time" professional development opportunities for teachers through the use of virtual workshops in order to meet individualized needs of teachers. Social Studies teachers are also going to have to make the case for the continued relevancy of their content while at the same time juggling over-crowded classrooms and students who need increasingly more specialized attention from us. While well-intentioned, it has been proved that NCLB had many unintended consequences, among them reduced instructional time for social studies, and an over-reliance on standardized testing. With pending reauthorization of NCLB and Race to the Top, it will be vital for social studies teachers to be vocal about what needs to be revised and included in this legislation.
I started teaching elementary school almost 30 years ago. My philosophy and perspective have been shaped by those years. After 20 years in an elementary classroom, I became a university professor. My collegiate work is informed and motivated by those years as a schoolteacher. My passion for teaching and social studies led me to serve at state and national levels in social studies organizations and initiatives. As treasurer, vice-president, and president of the Arizona Council for the Social Studies, I led efforts to enhance and promote social studies. As teacher consultant and leader in the Arizona Geographic Alliance, I helped design the GeoLiteracy programs and studied their effects on reading achievement. (Teaching social studies increases student achievement in reading.) My work in geography and on Our Courts — now iCivics.org — showed me the benefits and potential of technology in teaching and learning. I served as delegate for many years in the NCSS House of Delegates and on many NCSS committees, most recently as chair of the Steering Committee. All of these experiences and others have allowed me to work with teachers from all over the country and world. It would be an honor to serve on the Board of Directors.
The marginalization of social studies, the need for more resources, and the lack of adequate preparation of some social studies educators are among the most frequently cited issues facing social studies. However, they and many other issues are symptoms of the broader problem: that is, an overall misunderstanding of and lack of appreciation for the mission and vision of social studies education. Everyone, from parents to principals to legislators, agree with the core mission of social studies — once they understand what it is. It is time to become stronger advocates for social studies, or for our particular field of social studies (social justice, geography, civics, history, economics, etc.). Lobbying legislators is one way, of course, but the strongest impact we can make is in our own schools, homes, and businesses, with our colleagues, administrators, and parents. We need to help them understand that what we do and who we are advance not only social studies education, but also the most important mission of the schools in general: to prepare informed, rational, humane, and participating citizens of our country and the world. Having a strong, unified voice for social studies is the best way to face the issues confronting us
Shannon Pugh spent her childhood in Alaska, Louisiana, and California before completing high school and college in Texas. Her first teaching position was in rural Mississippi where she taught middle school science and social studies. After three years in Mississippi, Shannon returned to Texas and taught sheltered (ESOL) world geography, AP World History, and AP Macroeconomics at W.T. White High School in Dallas ISD. While in Dallas she became involved with the Dallas Council for the Social Studies and served as both the secretary and president. During her time with the Dallas Council her main focus was providing professional learning and networking opportunity for DISD social studies teachers. While in Texas, Shannon earned National Board Certification in Adult Young Adolescent Social Studies and was the high school finalist for DISDÆs Teacher of the Year. Shannon currently works in Annapolis, Maryland where she is the Secondary Social Studies Teacher Specialist for Anne Arundel County Public Schools. She presents at local, state, and national conferences where her primary focus is on world history and other global topics. She is active in local historical organizations and served as the Co-Chair of the 2012 NCSS National Conference in Washington D.C.
In a massive effort, over the past decade, to increase test scores, educators across the nation have grappled with providing increased time on task for the development of language and math literacy to the demise of science, social studies, and the arts. Recent STEM initiatives have put science back on the docket but no where are we seeing the social studies star rising. School administrators and curriculum designers ask how is social studies supporting math and reading achievement. The realities of the 21st century demand that we "flip" this paradigm and revise that question to how are reading and math literacies essential to understanding social studies. Educators and policy makers must come to terms with the absolute essential learning and real world relevance inherent in social studies. It goes beyond history, geography, economics and civics even as these areas are fundamental. We must be committed to developing the democratic ideals of deliberation, dialogue, critical thinking, and shared responsibility…we want to raise our children as "heirs to a tradition of increasing liberty and rising hope!" (Rorty, 1989)