Eleesha Tucker

Eleesha Tucker is an American history and civics educator specializing in the ideals of liberty articulated by the American Revolution and the inherent freedoms protected by the religion clauses of the First Amendment, including their influence on freedom around the world.

Eleesha is currently the director of the Utah 3Rs Project, which promotes the constitutional principles that every person has rights, everyone has the responsibility to protect the rights of others and every American citizen is entrusted to respectfully participate in civic discourse. Public schools are microcosms of broader American society, with a diversity of religious expression–including the choice not to believe–generated by the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Eleesha provides school officials and teachers with the legal literacy and religious literacy to create a constitutional culture in their schools and prepares rising citizens to understand the proper relationship of religion in American society. In short, as students understand the freedom of conscience and their responsibility to protect that right for others, Americans can successfully live with their deepest differences, even beyond religion. Eleesha’s role as the director of the Utah 3Rs Project is supported by a civic literacy fellowship through the Foundation for Religious Literacy and a matching grant by Adebiyi Law.

As the education director of the American Revolution Institute, the educational arm of the oldest patriotic organization in the United States, the Society of the Cincinnati, Eleesha taught teachers and students about the people, places and events of the American Revolution that articulated our ideals of liberty, equality, civic responsibility and natural and civil rights that have shaped our nation’s history and influenced freedom around the world. While a faculty member at the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute, Eleesha taught the history of religious freedom in the United States to graduate students and developed and piloted graduate-level blended learning courses for K-12 teachers on religious liberty and religious literacy. Eleesha also served as education director for the Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource) in its start-up phase, promoting increased understanding about the historical context and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. She crafted K-12 lesson plans for teachers using digitized primary source materials and produced events promoting constitutional literacy.

Eleesha holds a Master of Arts degree in American Studies from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History Teaching from Brigham Young University. She is a fifth generation Floridian who lived in Washington, D.C. for eleven years as a history and civic educator. She recently relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah to lead the Utah 3Rs Project, live close to family, snowboard in the winter and hike in the summer. 

Experience

Executive Director, Utah 3Rs Project, Salt Lake City, Utah (January 2020-Present)

  • Design and create K-12 teacher training and classroom resources to prepare students for their citizenship roles in a religiously diverse society, emphasizing competencies of religious liberty, religious literacy, and civil dialogue
  • Coordinate and sometimes instruct teacher professional development sessions and develop online classroom resources about:
    • Diversity of Religious Traditions in the World, including Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhs, and more
    • Religious Literacy Framework of 3Bs: Belief, Behavior, and Belonging
    • History of Religious Freedom in the United States (special focus on Utah)
    • Religion and U.S. Public Schools
    • Civil Dialogue: A Skill of American Citizenship
  • Cultivate a speaker’s bureau of guest speakers trained in a constitutional approach who teachers can invite to classrooms to speak about a religious community

Delegate, 1791 Delegates, Washington, D.C. (September 2019-Present)

  • Wrote a primary-source reliant case study on James Madison’s views for a free press, prepared for national distribution among college professors in the fields of history, journalism, humanities, and law
  • Co-developed a national distribution plan for college level e-learning materials about the First Amendment; managed a team of six clerks to gather contact information for the distribution list

Outreach Coordinator, Hardwired Global, Washington, D.C. (September 2019-Present)

  • Supported teacher training program in Erbil, Iraq with 20+ teachers from Mosul by facilitating small groups discussions about human rights principles, including freedom of religion and belief, freedom of conscience, human dignity and more, aiding the teachers in applying these principles in their post-war communities
  • Reached out to embassy officials in Washington, D.C. representing Middle East and North African countries to extend official invitations to their ministers of education to attend an international education conference in Morocco to discuss countering religious extremism with education promoting pluralism and respect for diversity
  • Prepared government officials from Kosovo, South Sudan, Mali, Oman, Morocco, and Pakistan to participate in international education conference in Morocco, guided presentation preparation, navigated the visa application process and coordinated travel logistics

Learning Manager, Stand Together, Arlington, Virginia (October 2018-August 2019)

  • Produced weekly professional development programming for 100+ learners, online and in-person, to accelerate their ability to be effective leaders in various fields, including education, immigration, criminal justice, free expression, tech innovation and more
  • Managed multiple 2-3 day summit experiences for 100+ learners, including designing conference theme, outlining curriculum and managing event logistics
  • Produced weekly online educational experiences via Zoom, the video conferencing platform, coordinating content with in-house instructors and guest speakers
  • Forecasted program finances, including student stipends, summit budgets, speaker honorariums, and classroom supplies for broader organizational accounting
  • Coached young professionals in their professional development, aiming to help them identify aptitudes, set long term goals, and craft personal visions to become leaders and make a positive change in society
  • Employed Market-Based Management, the highly collaborative management philosophy created by Charles Koch that made Koch Industries hugely successful; includes economic thinking and provides framework for effective decision-making

Adjunct Instructor and Curriculum Developer, Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute, Washington, D.C. (February 2017-September 2019)

  • Co-developed a course for K-12 public school administrators and teachers on the history of religious freedom in the United States as part of an online learning module for the Georgia 3Rs Project
  • Recruited by executive director to teach history of religious freedom in the United States through the lens of the religions clauses of the First Amendment for graduate students enrolled in seminaries, such as Starr King School for the Ministry, Wesley Theological Seminary and more, in a blended learning model, regularly employing Socratic seminar method
  • Wrote script and studio recorded content in instructional video for student use online about the religious landscape in revolutionary Virginia, which influenced the creation of the religion clauses of the First Amendment

Director of Education, American Revolution Institute, The Society of the Cincinnati, Washington, D.C. (August 2011-October 2018)

  • Developed annual strategic plan with educational objectives, content development road map, event calendar, and teacher and children programming for upcoming year to promote the memory of the American Revolution
  • Led a team of eleven staff members to develop and implement six annual teacher seminars, a week-long residential professional development program with a special collections research focus
  • Outlined and managed annual education budget allocation within broader $3 million operating budget of the organization and monitored yearly progress against budget; and designed and implemented evaluations of education programs
  • Collaborated with fundraising and marketing staff to engage donors with guest lectures, special events and galas, annual reports and special communications on donor-sponsored education events
  • Cultivated relationships with executives in the constituent societies of the organization to connect them to the work of the General Society; fostered relationships with and solicited feedback from teacher alumni of our seminars and workshops to better shape programming to meet needs in the classroom
  • Engaged multiple audiences and mapped out seasonal museum public program offerings including scholarly lectures, children’s programs, community events, and exhibition highlights
  • Balanced popular public events designed to capture new visitors (such as vintage evenings, brief historical talks accompanied by happy hour with historically inspired drinks) with specialized content programs intended to involve the museum in current scholarship in the field (such as lectures by renowned American Revolution authors)
  • Provided creative direction and managed a traveling trunk program for classrooms (developed based on input from numerous teachers across the country) that emphasized ethnic, class and geographic diversity in the various navies during the American Revolution and the Continental Army with George Washington’s challenges as commander in chief of a volunteer army
  • Expanded the reach and brand of the museum by filming leading scholars of early America and producing an online lecture series about the American Revolution for public education. Speakers included Pauline Maier, Gordon Wood, Saul Cornell, Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Bill Fowler, Maya Jasanoff and others
  • Developed and administered online programs to educate middle and high school students in multiple states who could not attend the museum and provided instruction via Skype about Revolutionary War events, people, and themes using objects drawn from the museum collection
  • Co-trained 60+ museum tour guides each year, emphasizing museum educational mission, history and collections security; supervised hundreds of rental events at Gilded Age historic house museum with 300+ attendees and 30+ event staff

Director of Education and Volunteers, Constitutional Sources Project (ConSource), Washington, D.C. (April 2008-October 2011)

  • Crafted K-12 lesson plans about the U.S. Constitution using digitized historical documents including topics of federalism, Article of Confederation, 1787 Constitutional Convention, First Amendment, Second Amendment, separation of powers, and more
  • Recruited, trained and supervised 150+ undergraduate and law student volunteers across the country to review, proofread and check links to thousands of digitized historical documents for online publication
  • Collaborated to write and secure $50,000 educational grant from the Verizon Foundation and monitored compliance with grant specifications
  • Promoted educational mission of nonprofit at conferences, universities, and private meetings
  • Collaborated to develop interactive online U.S. Constitution intended for general, legal, and scholarly audiences indexed by specific constitutional provisions linked to primary sources; managed education-related website development
  • Provided periodic reports to financial supporters about progress of research and volunteer recruitment

Teacher, Walden School for Liberal Arts, Provo, Utah (January 2008-April 2008)

  • Instructed high school students in World Civilizations in a project-based learning approach and a student-driven learning style
  • Taught health to middle school students using a healthy habits at home learning model

Counselor, The Heritage Community, Provo, Utah (April 2006-April 2007)

  • With a co-counselor, provided a safe environment for 10+ adolescents with significant emotional disturbances in the living quarters at a residential treatment center for high risk youth. Supported IEP for each student on a unit during homework periodsand

Education

Georgetown University (May 2014)

  • Master of Arts in American Studies
    with a focus on Early American History

Brigham Young University (April 2008)

  • Bachelor of Arts in History Education
    with a Minor in Political Science

Publications

  • Politicians and Petitions: Passing the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia, November 2013, Georgetown University
  • “Congregationalism,” entry for ABC-CLIO encyclopedia on American religion
  • “Dorothy Day,” entry for ABC-CLIO encyclopedia on American religion

Awards

Civic Literacy Fellowship, 
The Foundation for Religious Literacy (January 2020)

Received a distinguished fellowship from The Foundation for Religious Literacy, supported by Mr. Rodney A. Hawes, Jr. Grantees are nominated by the foundation’s advisors and each fellow is awarded a grant of $12,000, plus a travel stipend and collegial support to advance their projects. Grants serve as an investment in emerging leaders because of the recipients’ intellectual honesty, collaborative nature, and potential. Eleesha is the foundation’s first civic literacy fellow and received the award to explore establishing a new generation 3Rs project in Utah. The fellowship has also been matched by Adebiyi Law because of the firm’s interest in improving American civic discourse. 

Volunteer

Competition Judge, We the People, The Center for the Constitution, James Madison’s Montpelier (September 2009-August 2018)

Served as a judge for middle and high school students at the district, state and national level competing in the annual constitutional and civic knowledge student competition

Sexual Assault Hotline Companion, City of Alexandria, Virginia (January 2014-2015)

Completed 40 hours of training about sexual assault research, including specific cases in the local city.  Staffed a phone line for 8 hrs twice a month, in which local survivors of sexual assault could call and receive emotional support and be connected with resources