The NCSS Board of Directors has approved the following slate of candidates for the 2017-2018 Board of Directors and Officer elections. The election ballot will open November 20, 2017 and close January 16, 2018. NCSS members in good standing as of October 15 are eligible to vote, and will receive instructions and credentials by email for accessing the online ballots starting November 20.
NCSS has created an online candidates forum to allow members to ask questions of the candidates for NCSS officer and board of directors positions.
A social studies educator with twenty-five years of experience, Tina Heafner is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she directs the Prospect for Success, M.Ed. and Minor in Secondary Education. In NC, Tina served on the state social studies council’s board of directors, lead state advocacy initiatives, conducted research documenting elementary social studies marginalization, and was a past president of the NC Professors of Social Studies Education. For NCSS, Tina served as a member of the Board of Directors, the citizenship committee, and teacher education community officer. As a state representative in the House of Delegates (HOD), she was elected Chair of the Steering Committee. In this leadership role, Tina developed advocacy and governance materials still in use at the NCSS Summer Leadership Institute, and implemented the expansion of the HOD to include Associated Groups and Communities. More recently, she supported a national network of social studies teachers as Director of the C3 Literacy Collaborative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Tina serves as the past-chair of the executive board of NCSS’s College and University Faculty Assembly. She actively publishes on policy and curriculum issues in social studies, online learning, and disciplinary literacies.
At no point in human history has information access increased at rates experienced in our digital society; yet, schools and curricula tend to mirror our childhood experiences and rarely mitigate socioeconomic gaps. Access to social studies depends upon students’ demographics, where students go to school, and students’ relegated tracks. When schooling denies access to engaging, intellectually multifaceted social studies, it imposes a form of censorship, silencing of ideas and perspectives, and constrains students’ opportunities to learn while furthering injustice, prejudice and inequality.
Exposure to ideological conflicts and complexities of our multicultural, globally diverse society is essential social studies content for all students and necessary for bridging dialogue to confront social justice issues in our communities. Learning social studies can inspire curiosity, foster creativity, encourage criticism and compassion, and help students intellectually communicate ideas, collaborate effectively with others, and constructively engage with society and the processes which govern it. Through a grassroots initiative, NCSS can lead to not only change the perception of social studies as outdated and ancillary, but also position core tenants as transformative pedagogy and content. NCSS shares the responsibility of generating national awareness of the value of C3 inquiry, disciplinary literacies, and critical discourse about controversial issues.
My educational career spans 15 plus years in a variety of capacities. I began my classroom teaching career in Kenya and have taught, stateside, everything from regular education to gifted and talented to AP. These positions, instructional and administrative, enabled me to experience many aspects in the field of education. Currently, I instruct courses at Viterbo University in SS methods, history, servant leadership and ethics. I co-advise History Club and serve on the faculty council.
Involvement as a member of the Wisconsin and National Councils for the Social Studies since 1996 led me to the presidency of WCSS (2009-2011) and serving on the NCSS board of directors (2010-13). My work for NCSS continues as Chair of the Pre-service Educator (founder) and LGBTQ and Allies Communities (co-founder). I co-chair the First-Timers Scholarships and am a long-time presenter at state and national conferences.
Internationally, my work with numerous NGOs focuses on development of educational programs and empowerment of women and girls. My professional development experiences include a Hayes-Fulbright – Rwanda, Oxbridge Fellow, England, and numerous state and national programs.
My husband, Dr. Kelly Collum, is a retired university professor. My daughter, Erin, is an educator in Wisconsin. My granddaughter, Ruby, is three.
Time is one of the most significant issues confronting social studies education; time allocated for classroom instruction, time to address local, state and national SS issues and time for meaningful and applicable professional development.
Instruction time in SS classrooms is diminishing. How can educators create engaged members of a democratic society if students are not receiving foundational SS principles? We need effective tools to integrate SS into STEM/reading.
Educators need the time to develop a voice to address issues facing SS education. We need to become informed on how to reshape the environment of SS education to provide the best education for future citizens.
NCSS professional development is key yet time consuming. NCSS needs to reach beyond the current PD norm and its focal point needs to address the needs of early career and underrepresented educators. NCSS membership of educators in their first 1-8 years declined from 2012-2016 by 38%. Whereas overall NCSS membership declined by 14%. NCSS needs to bridge the world of digital natives and immigrants to draw them into NCSS through strong and usable Web/social media platforms.
Time doesn’t have to be “four-letter-word” when NCSS makes the time to invest in our students and our profession.
Stefanie is currently the Social Studies Consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. In this role, she provides leadership and guidance at the state level for social studies education. Prior to this, she taught high school social studies for Des Moines Public Schools and Dallas Center-Grimes Schools and worked at Instituto Thomas Jefferson in Naucalpan, Mexico. In addition, she formerly served as the coordinator of a Teaching American History Grant. She received both a Bachelors and Masters degree from Drake University in Des Moines, IA. Stefanie has been involved in the Iowa Council for the Social Studies since 2010, first serving as co-chair for the Annual Conference, then Vice-President, and now President. She is also currently serving on the National Council for the Social Studies Board of Directors. In that capacity Stefanie has worked on the Strategic Plan Committee, Executive Director Search Committee and the Associated Group Ad-Hoc Committee, among others. She is also a member of CS4. In 2011, Stefanie was named an Emerging Leader in Education by ASCD. Stefanie lives in Grimes, IA with her husband Jake, who is also a social studies teacher, and their two children, Lincoln and Grace.
Social studies matters. It matters a lot—not only for college and career readiness, but for preparing students to participate actively in civic life. The marginalization of social studies remains the most significant issue confronting us today. In order to solve this we must ACT. First, as an organization we must foster Advocacy. We must continue to empower our members to advocate for social studies at the local, state, and national levels and we must continue to build relationships with external stakeholders who help promote the importance of social studies. Second, we must embrace the C3 Framework and the best practices it promotes. In addition, we must find ways to better Communicate to members- with those who are in state councils or associated groups, and with external stakeholders, about why social studies matters. Finally, we must promote 21st century practices by continuing to build an organization that embraces technology and different ways of doing business.
I believe in the power of us, and that only if we ACT will we see transformational changes in social studies education and the recognition that social studies matters.
Joe Feinberg is an active member of NCSS for the last 17 years. He has served as a member, leader, and/or representative with the NCSS House of Delegates, the NCSS Awards Committee, the NCSS annual conference program planning committee, the NCSS Research Community, and the NCSS Publications Committee. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgia State University as a social studies educator, Joe taught social studies and sponsored the multicultural and service clubs at Campbell High School in Smyrna, Georgia. As a teacher, he received the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from Campbell High School, which recognizes excellence in humanitarian service to the school and community.
At the state level, Joe served on the Georgia Council for the Social Studies (GCSS) Board of Trustees, and he recently received the Gwen Hutcheson Outstanding Educator Award through GCSS. Joe also actively works with Georgia educators in his role as Associate Director with the GSU Center for Business and Economic Education.
Joe’s service record demonstrates his desire to lead and positively impact social studies education. He is passionate about service and embraces social studies education through his advocacy and commitment to being a compassionate, thoughtful, active, and productive citizen.
The constant drum beat of STEM, and more recently STEAM, vibrates in the educational and political realms. STEAM added the arts in a move that recognizes an important and frequently ignored element of education. Why not other content areas? Social studies is left clamoring for the extremely limited and precious scraps of K-12 curricular time. In particular, social studies is given less time at the elementary levels, and, in a growing number of states, social studies education is no longer included in the required curriculum for the elementary grades! Valiant colleagues who understand and appreciate the value of social studies find creative ways to integrate this essential content into math problems and reading assignments. Unfortunately, social studies remains marginalized by the high-stakes tests that continue to focus on STEM or STEAM subjects.
In the current political climate where all types of hatred prevails, the saliency of social studies is obvious. The best approach for addressing this issue is to actively advocate for social studies at the local, state, and national levels. We must make noise, become agents of change, and embrace active citizenship to save social studies education. We need to take action and beat our drums loud and clear.
Jim majored in History/Government and English (BS) and History (MA) at Bowling Green State University (Ohio). He taught social studies for thirty-five years at Orange High School (Cleveland) and seven years at John Carroll University training pre-service teachers. Lane served on advisory boards for The Nuclear Age Resource Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and instructed teachers in International Humanitarian Law for the American Red Cross. Jim served as President of the Greater Cleveland and Ohio Councils for the Social Studies and co-chaired the drafting of the Ohio K-12 Competency Based Social Studies Model. Honors include Fulbright, the Orange Service, OCSS Teacher of the Year and Runner-Up for Ohio Teacher of the Year awards.
Within NCSS, Jim sponsored numerous actions in the Delegate and International Assemblies and was a former NCSS Board Member. He served on the Religion in Schools, Books of the Year, Conference, Membership and Human Rights Education Committees and has attended twenty-eight NCSS Annual Conferences, presenting at many.
Jim Lane is currently teaching lifelong learning classes through the Siegal Center at Case Western Reserve University. A published author, Lane is currently working on two books.
The Social Studies are increasingly perceived as tangential and nonessential. Society is marginalizing cultural wisdoms– that of farmers, explorers, inventors, laborers, businessmen, academics, artists, politicians, immigrants and especially the disenfranchised socially, economically, politically.
The Social Studies are about the STORY of the triumphs and tragedies, struggles and successes of all the people listed above. It is our STORY. If crafted properly, the STORY can be inspiring, exciting; it can inform us about how to live our own lives. The STORY can STEER the development of core values such as civility, collaboration, courage, equality, humanity, inclusion, initiative, responsibility and provide the skills to contribute to society.
But the STORY must get out. Perhaps teacher institutions and professional development need to require drama, storytelling and art classes to help teachers develop enrapturing skills. The STORY must be advertised, promoted by contests, be media sensitive and politically emphatic. Its promulgation must be organized, sequential, cerebral and emotive. Parents and politicians need to know its power.
NCSS has the position, in union with other like-minded groups, to become a loud, unified voice to channel a cacophony into the STRENGTH of a decisive, blended harmony.
NCSS: NOW -- STORY, STEER, STRENGTH!
Hello and welcome to NCSS 2017. My name is Craig Perrier and I am the High School Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, VA. I am also an online adjunct professor in history for Northeastern University and in education for Educate VA, a teacher certification program for career switchers. Previously, I taught for six years at public schools in Massachusetts and six years at American Schools in Brazil. After teaching, I was the Coordinator for Curriculum and Instruction for Social Studies at Virtual High School and then the PK-12 Social Studies Coordinator for Department of Defense Dependent Schools. Additionally, I spearheaded the creation of the C3 Inquiry hub for the state of VA and serve on advisory boards for the World Affairs Council, Hindu American Federation, and NCSS’s Global Understanding and Religious Studies Special Interest Councils. Likewise, I have worked with IREX and the State Department’s Teachers for Global Classrooms program for 6 years. Lastly, I maintain a blog “The Global, History Educator” and created the free online teacher resource "U.S. History in a Global Context." I am confident that my experiences will benefit NCSS and I am grateful for your vote.
Social studies education is a dynamic field to be involved in right now. With over twenty years of experience, I am convinced of social studies benefits regarding the development of students’ understanding of themselves, society, the past, and present. However, a key issue that will impact our discipline’s future is the perception and understanding of social studies’ relevance in the 21st century. Articulating a convincing message in support of social studies demands that the “Why?”, “How?”, and “What?” all be addressed explicitly and with nuance. In short, our courses are best taught when content is used to develop skills that transfer beyond the classroom and relate to students’ contemporary realities. Teachers who are architects of student learning experiences empower them to ask questions, evaluate information, apply concepts, and interpret perspectives. I will promote and celebrate these aspects of social studies which, in turn, informs society’s understanding of social studies benefits. Likewise, supporting educators with practical ways to enhance their craft is an imperative for NCSS best done through collaboration, easy access, and communication across our network. In closing, our globalized world is increasingly complex and interconnected. I believe social studies is the ideal field to prepare students for these challenges.
K-12 Classroom Teacher At Large
Georgette Hackman is a 7th grade social studies teacher and middle level social studies department chair at Cocalico Middle School in Denver, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Millersville University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State University. As the recipient of the distinguished James Madison Fellowship in 2015, she is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in American History & Government from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. Georgette works as a Master Teacher for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and has been a Ford’s Theatre National Oratory Fellow since 2012. In 2016, Georgette received the BP Lincoln Teacher Leadership award from Ford’s Theatre for work with oratory education in her school. She has authored multiple lesson plans and units of study for a variety of educational institutions nationwide. In addition to her many professional development pursuits, Georgette has served as a board member of both the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies and the Middle States Council for the Social Studies and is active in the National Council for the Social Studies. Finally, Georgette is one of 12 finalists for the title of 2018 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year and was recently named 2017 Gilder Lehrman History Teacher of the Year in Pennsylvania.
As a former elementary teacher and current secondary social studies teacher, I am a living testament to the vast array of experiences and perspectives possessed by the members of NCSS. In order to thrive, organizations like ours must work to develop and foster member involvement and leadership opportunities at all teaching levels across the nation. Further, we must labor to ensure that all social studies educator voices are included, from kindergarten to grade 12 because our greatest strength lies in the diversity of our membership. As K-12 Classroom Teacher at Large, I will work diligently to reach out to elementary social studies teachers and labor to maintain a strong connection with our secondary counterparts in order to include all educator voices in this great organization. I will make it my mission to bring all perspectives to the table, regardless of years of service or grade level taught. It will be my honor and privilege to lend my leadership, vision and experience to further the mission of the National Council for the Social Studies by serving in the capacity of K-12 Classroom Teacher at Large in this well-respected and forward-thinking organization.
A defining moment which led me to this profession was my parents sitting me down at high school graduation and telling me how proud they were. Most would agree, this is how all parents would feel. However, what was so extraordinary was that when I was held back in sixth grade my teachers had told my parents to plan on me not making it through 12th grade. My parents had kept this from me because both understood my potential. With this new information, I found a purpose to prove these individuals wrong and to seek ways to always be a positive model for student success.
These experiences include NYS certifications in Social Studies 7-12, English 7-12, Elementary Pre-K-12, Special education, Administration, and computer credentials in A+ and Network +. These credentials, as well as my 26 years experience in the classroom, continue to prepare me professionally to help guide successful students.
My roles as President of the local council for Social Studies in the Albany, New York (CDCSS.org) and Technology chair at the state level (NYSCSS) have helped me to become more aware of student issues outside of my own community. My role includes listening to constituents, bringing their ideas together and providing professional development opportunities to our members. I hope to continue to share these ideas and offer service to our profession at the national level through NCSS.
I think the biggest issue confronting Social Studies education today is maintaining our relevance. We as educators are no longer the keepers of knowledge. Twenty-five years ago, students found most of their information for social studies in textbooks, and primary sources. Today, most students just google this information and we are no longer needed as this kind of resource.
Many of us have re-focused our skills to the ever increasing amount of information found on the internet. Our new challenge includes anyone with a cell phone who can now re-define history by any new blog, pinterest post, or tweet.
Our new mission is to help our students to understand the difference between bias and objectivity. By modeling and encouraging better listening skills with others, we can continue to emphasize the ideals of compromise. Valuing others ideas and perspectives is becoming a lost art in the face of social media and needs to be re-emphasized in our classrooms at all grade levels.
Our role as social studies educators is to re-direct our relevance to these core values through more civics education and we must become better advocates for our profession. Our current political climate is a clear reflection of our changing role in the education of our students. We need to not shy away from this challenge, but use it as an opportunity to get our students to climb out from behind the screens, get involved and be heard.
Tracy Middleton earned both a B.A. in Liberal Studies and a M.A. in Education from California State University – San Marcos. She currently teaches 8th grade U.S. history at Hidden Valley Middle School in Escondido, California, and has experience teaching grades 5 – 8. She served as secretary for her local social studies council and was on the California Council for Social Studies Board of Directors for 10 years. She served as a regional director for 5 years and just completed 5 years as Southern Area Vice President. Tracy is a presenter at NCSS and CCSS annual conferences, and represented California twice in the NCSS House of Delegates. She is a social studies expert for the Escondido Union School District, where she mentors social studies teachers, facilitates a social studies PLC, provides professional development in current social studies instructional practices, and is helping to move the district forward in implementation of the C3 Framework’s Inquiry Arc. She is also a Master Teacher for Colonial Williamsburg, where she works with middle and high school teachers. In her free time, she enjoys quilting, camping, and traveling with her family.
I believe the most significant issue currently confronting social studies education is a two-prong issue. I see a lack of civics at all levels of K-12 education, and I believe this is due to the marginalization of social studies in the elementary grades and accountability tests in later grades that cause teachers to focus on teaching to the test. When I see in the public arena the lack of civil discourse and citizens’ reluctance to take informed action, I fear we are on the verge of losing the civility necessary to sustain our republic. Our citizenry is losing its voice of reason as well as its ability to work for the common good. NCSS has already begun the work to restore civics in the classroom, and as your representative, I will continue to move that work forward through participation in legislative action to promote government support of the social studies. The C3 Framework has brought together the disciplines of civics, economics, geography, and history, which I believe are all critical in order to prepare our students to be informed citizens. I will work to promote the framework and support NCSS partner organizations in moving their work forward.
As a third generation educator, I know the importance of lifelong learning, professional development, and loving one’s profession! Teaching for 26 years, my career focuses on meeting the challenges of and experiencing the excitement of working with middle school students. Additionally, I instruct graduate level education courses. For 6 years, in addition to classroom instruction, I worked in the curriculum department as the middle school instructional coach implementing the district’s and building's professional development opportunities. This position also afforded me the opportunity to assist educators, in all disciplines, in meeting the requirements of RtI and early implementation of Common Core Standards. My service with the Wisconsin CSS Board of Directors spans over a decade; holding leadership positions including regional delegate, WCSS national representative to HOD, president-elect/conference planner, president and most recently as executive director. During this time, WCSS has consistently been named a Gold Star Council. I am currently on the NCSS Board of Directors. My prior to being on the BOD my NCSS service included being a member of the Resolutions Committee for HOD and co-chairing two communities, and have presented sessions at each of the past seven national conferences.
In a time when education focuses on STEM and reading, social studies education faces the challenge of seeking equivalent consideration and funding. Social studies is especially marginalized at the elementary school level. Many elementary educators don’t see themselves as social studies educators despite the essential foundational role they play in social studies education. To complicate matters, a School and Staffing Survey (2012) found that social studies professionals are among the least likely to engage in ongoing professional development in their field. How can NCSS meet these challenges and evolve as an organization?
The issues of funding, as well as educator and subject matter marginalization, pose challenges to both NCSS and state organizations. It is necessary for NCSS to look for ways to reinvent itself thus meeting the changing demands of our membership. NCSS, its communities, and state/affiliated organizations must work together to find new and innovative ways to reach all educators, especially early career and educators from underrepresented populations. NCSS must utilize its greatest resource— its membership! A strong and dedicated NCSS membership will be able to create advocates for social studies education, exemplars for early career and underrepresented educators and trustees for our future citizens.
Secondary/High School Classroom Teacher
Wesley lives and breathes the social studies! Throughout his career in education, he has taught multiple social studies courses from grades 7-12, at all ability levels, in both public and private schools. He currently teaches IB Global Politics and Contemporary World History at Trinity Episcopal School in Richmond, Virginia.
In addition to teaching, Wesley coordinates his school’s Global Engagement Program, both planning and leading international exchanges. Additionally, he coordinates his school’s Model United Nations Program, preparing students for multiple conferences each year, as well as hosting an annual conference. He also serves as a member of both his school’s 5-year Strategic Planning and Technology Committees.
Outside of school, Wesley has represented Virginia in the NCSS House of Delegates since 2014 and currently serves on the NCSS HOD Assignments Committee. During his tenure as President of the Virginia Council for Social Studies, he co-chaired the 2016 NCSS Local Arrangements Committee for the Washington, D.C. conference, twice co-chaired the Virginia Conference for Social Studies Educators, and twice collaborated with the VCSS Executive Board to earn NCSS Gold-Star Council status. He regularly lobbies elected officials for social studies education, works on political campaigns supporting social studies advocates, presents at both statewide and national conferences, and consults for various social studies organizations.
Wesley currently serves on the Virginia Council for the Social Studies Executive Board as Past-President. He received both his Bachelor and Master's degrees from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and maintains a Postgraduate Professional Teaching License from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
We live in a society where compromise and moderation appear all but forgotten, where listening comes second to speaking, and where loyalty to one’s side outshines the greater good. Our opportunity is to infuse young people with sincerity and an appreciation of differences. Our world needs more civil discourse, and Social Studies Educators are the civility engineers. It is our task to model for our students the idea that civility and differences do and should coexist. Whether we are preparing our kids for college, career or civic life, we must continue to model this civility.
In recent years we have seen the growth in misinformation and a disregard for the truth. How do we ensure our fellow constituents are critical consumer of information? The devaluation of the truth is extremely damaging to our society. The creation of false information and bullying of truth-tellers is dangerous. We must not shy away from sensitive topics; rather, we must consistently address these issues head-on with thorough research and discussion. Students should understand the idea of loyal opposition.
We must continue to set high standards for conduct in our classrooms and create authentic experiences for our students. Sourcing, Corroboration, and Contextualization--these skills all transcend the social studies classroom. We must continue to demonstrate that viewpoints from multiple sides are not just inevitable, they are imperative in any democratic system. We must continue to teach students the value of truth, of compromise, and show that a diversity of viewpoints can combine wisdom and experience with creativity and ingenuity. We need to live this.
Andrew L. Smith is the President-Elect of the Indiana Council for the Social Studies, and The Gilder-Lehrman Institute’s 2017 Indiana State History Teacher of the Year. He has been a member of NCSS for the past 5 years, serving as a conference proposal reviewer, and member of the Award for Global Understanding. Mr. Smith currently teaches on the Eastside of Indianapolis, focusing on government, economics, and computer science.
I firmly believe that the biggest challenge facing social studies educators today is the continued changes to state testing protocols. In the world of STEAM, social studies faces two distinct challenges, for some states, we see continued testing that changes too often and without proper notice, and for the balance of states, we see no testing and a de-emphasis of the social sciences. While two distinct problems, I believe that NCSS can play a role in working with state and regional councils to better address the challenges that each state face. Given the reach of NCSS and our relationship with vendors and publishers, I believe that there is room to utilize those relationships to develop better resources for states, faster to address the changing needs of teachers sooner. NCSS is also able to influence legislation, and through programs like the Legislative Leadership Institute are able to train state leaders to do the same. Expanding this program and establishing connections for members who are willing and able should be priority. There is an opportunity to begin reversing the high stakes testing scenario, while keeping social studies in the curriculum, and NCSS should play a major role in that.
Jessica Wilkerson is in her 10th year of teaching Honors U.S. History, AP U.S. History, and AP Psychology at King George High School in King George, Virginia. She received her B.A. in History and M.Ed in Diverse Student Populations from the University of Mary Washington and holds a Virginia teaching license in grades 6-12 Social Studies and Gifted Education. She is currently working toward an M.A. in American History and National Board certification.
While new to running for office at the national level, Jessica has significant experience working with committees at the state and local levels. Within Virginia, she has served as a committee member for Item and Test Review for state end-of-course exams and as a member of the U.S. History Textbook Review Committee for the Virginia Department of Education. She serves as a secondary teacher representative for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in developing curriculum and instruction to align with the 2019 Commemoration. Within her county, she serves as a member of the Technology Committee and the Gifted Advisory Committee and as the adviser for National Honor Society. For the last two years, she has also been an AP Reader for U.S. History. Jessica is very excited for the opportunity to serve NCSS and will actively work to preserve the teaching of social studies in an ever-changing learning environment.
The most serious issue facing social studies education is the rapid development of technology that requires continuous efforts to maintain the relevance and importance of the social studies via access to digital content and curriculum. Teachers at all levels have witnessed the increase in technological abilities and expertise held by their students. Students at the elementary level often enter school with an understanding of electronic devices and software that far surpasses the knowledge held by previous generations. In this context, it is essential that we remain diligent in increasing access to digital resources to ensure the preservation of social studies education. Jessica would actively work to increase the availability of digital social studies resources that are both accessible and affordable for students and teachers in all areas.
David Burton is in his 18th year of education: 16 years in the classroom and two years as Social Studies and Business Education Curriculum Coordinator for Moore Public Schools, Oklahoma. He holds his BS in Secondary Social Studies Education from Mid-America Christian University and his MA in Political Science from the University of Central Oklahoma. David serves his district as a member of the MPS Professional Development Committee and the Moore Public Schools Foundation board (currently Vice President).
David’s impact on education extends beyond MPS through his membership on the Holocaust Education Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City, the Education Committee of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the Oklahoma Social Studies Supervisors Association, and the board of Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies board (currently Vice President).
David’s accomplishments in education have earned educator travel study grants to Germany, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea. He has been nationally published and featured in The Oklahoman. He has been honored as the OKC Thunder's Teacher of the Game, runner-up for the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Year, and recipient of OCSS’s Service Award. In 2014, David was named the MPS District Teacher of the Year.
The most significant issue confronting Social Studies education today is its decreasing relevance within educational policy. The over focus on STEM and the culture of standardized testing have each played a role in shifting the focus, especially through funding, away from Social Studies educational initiatives. Leaders publicly complain about students’ lack of understanding historical and political processes, their inability to locate places on a map or relate to those of other cultures, the mean-spiritedness of their public discourse, and their failure to effectively manage a budget. However, our local, state, and national policy decisions, intentional or not, continually send a direct message that Social Studies education is not important.
As Social Studies educators, we must be at the forefront of lobbying and public relations efforts to counteract the impact of these policy decisions. We need to make it clear that math, science, literacy, the arts, athletics, etc. are ALL important and that a well-rounded education MUST respect each of these influences on our economy, politics, society, and culture. It does not matter what skills students can perform if they cannot apply those skills within the real world—making real world connections is the prime role of Social Studies education.
Drew Hammill is a K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. As an experienced educator and novice parent, Drew has worked to make Social Studies instruction a priority by promoting the value of inquiry-based historical literacy and civic competencies from kindergarten to high school. Drew coordinates professional learning, curriculum design, assessment writing and resource adoption that promotes and supports authentic Social Studies experiences for 176 schools and 148,000 students.
As a former AmeriCorps member and classroom teacher, he has fostered a passion for civic engagement and commitment to an equitable social studies education for over 12 years. Drawing from rich experiences ranging from a year of national volunteer service, to teaching social studies in a large urban school district, Drew has sought to advocate for an expanded and dynamic role for Social Studies in our schools’ curricula. He currently serves on the board of directors for the North Carolina Council for Social Studies and has written professional development modules for Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources. Drew earned a MSA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is excited about opening up the world of Social Studies to his young daughter.
Social Studies teachers are confronted with numerous challenges, including marginalized time for instruction in elementary grades and assessments that are not congruent with the level or method of instruction. The greatest challenge that Social Studies teachers face is the ability to foster civic competencies in our students’ from elementary to high school. When we consider the role Social Studies education plays in our student’s lives and the impact we want them to have in an increasingly contentious society, our roles as mentors of future engaged and civic-minded citizens takes on more importance. While much has been done to promote opportunity for civic engagement, including the creation of the C3 Framework, there is still more work ahead to encourage moving beyond the traditional content knowledge that has long been the entirety of civic education. If our goal is to graduate empathetic and engaged citizens, then we must develop targeted support for professional development on characteristics of effective civic learning while continuing to strengthen ties with state councils and other local partners to create opportunities for informed action. As our nation’s politics grow more contentious, educators must be resilient in our advocacy for civic discourse and actions that promote an engaged and informed citizenry.
Chanda is an awesome educator and social studies prowess with over 20 years of experience who has sought to empower teachers and students through historical, geographic, civic and economical thinking. A graduate of the University of South Carolina undergraduate 1995 and graduate studies 1999, Chanda's teaching career begin in Prince George's County School District in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. After one school year she returned to Columbia, SC., where she was employed by Richland School District One as a social studies teacher at W.J. Keenan High School. Chanda also worked as an adjunct professor of African American Studies at Benedict College from 2003-2006. She worked at the South Carolina Department of Education as the Education Associate of Social Studies and African American Studies from 2006-2012. She was very instrumental in the state receiving an A letter rating on the state’s academic standards for social studies and an A letter rating for the inclusion on African American Studies and the Civil Rights Movement beginning in the 1950’s. She is currently employed as the secondary social studies consultant for Richland County School District One Columbia, South Carolina.
Chanda Williams Robinson is married to Troy Robinson and they have one daughter, Jaidyn Simone.
The most significant issue currently confronting social studies education is the merging of federal and state accountability systems that are eliminating social studies accountability and state-wide assessments. The overall perception of the importance of ELA and mathematics has overshadowed the social studies. Since the standardized tests focus exclusively on English and math, and those scores determine the bulk of a school’s federal funding, schools have been forced to increase time and resources in these subjects at the expense of all others, including social studies. We must as the national organization for social studies increase our lobbying efforts at the state and national level, sounding the alarm for the revitalization of social studies as the CORE subject.
Through social studies, we not only allow for students to learn the content of history, economics, political science, geography, etc., but we explore and explicitly teach the skills necessary for students to read, write, speak, listen and view in each of the aforementioned disciplines. Disciplinary literacy, understanding bias and perspective, and providing a climate of collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication to flourish are also important characteristics of the social studies classroom. Finally, social studies allows for students to build their life and career characteristics through the use of inquiry, current events that affect our nation and world, and the human story as one of perseverance.