Serving as an educator is a vocation for me. We as individuals–inherently endowed with dignity and guided by conscience– are closest to God, I believe, when we are seeking to learn, grow and make a unique contribution in the world. I feel the greatest sense of purpose in my life when I can create learning experiences for others so they can drive their own learning and increase in their potential.
Over a fifteen year career, I have designed and facilitated learning experiences for thousands of teachers, students, young professionals, children and individual citizens. A few of of these experiences include creating and administering teacher professional development programs, conceiving and producing learning resources and convening and directing educational events. Below are a few highlights.
Professional Development for Teachers
Seminars and Workshops
Washington, D.C. and regional locales
Some of the most fulfilling days of my career have been producing meaningful educational experiences for history teachers. For seven years, I annually led a team of eleven staff members in producing and delivering a comprehensive teacher training seminar to select middle and high school teachers from across the United States. It was held in a Gilded Age mansion on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. The event was both content-rich, featuring 50 hours of lecture, discussion and research, and logistically intense, including room, board and transportation. The seminar included a series of morning lectures and discussions about teaching the American Revolution, followed by afternoon sessions working with the rich resources in our world-class research library and museum collections to develop lesson plans on specific aspects of the Revolution.
Additionally, I produced one-day workshops at historic sites around the United States, providing local teachers the opportunity to expand their knowledge about the American Revolution. For these workshops, I chose topics related to the local history and the Revolution, arranged tours of the local history sites related to Revolutionary history, invited a scholar to lecture and respond to questions, produced primary source rich classroom materials and provided instruction demonstrating use of the materials. In each professional development seminar or workshop I produced, I learned from passionate and devoted teachers excited about our nation’s history and I left inspired to serve them better.
One of the most meaningful professional experiences of my career has been to facilitate conversations about pluralism and respect for diversity for teachers in Iraq. Hardwired Global’s educational programs are helping children in Iraq overcome the trauma of religious extremism and learn to value the rights and freedoms of people of different religions and beliefs so they won’t grow up to be intolerant or fearful of others. This is the only program in the Middle East doing this form of work. This program was made possible by the British government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy. It was launched in response to concerns among Middle Eastern officials that youth were being radicalized by religious extremists. There were 600,000 children living in Mosul, Iraq when it was under ISIS control who were daily taught to hate and kill people who do not follow the beliefs of ISIS terrorists.
As a result of this training program for teachers in Mosul (who traveled to Erbil for the training), students have shown a change in mindset towards the rights of others, especially women and girls. I have served in a support role during these trainings, facilitating conversations in small breakout groups of teachers about the challenges facing their students and guiding them to apply the concepts addressed in the training–freedom of conscience, nondiscrimination, expression, individual rights and human dignity––in their own designed lesson plan.
Washington, D.C. and various states
I created and managed a national traveling trunks program to generate hands-on learning experiences in history. These trunks were designed to ship directly to schools across the United States and contained reproduction clothing, hands-on activities and analysis of documents and artifacts demonstrating the diversity in the Continental Army and among sailors at sea during the American Revolution. I designed and executed on each aspect of the trunks’ creation and deployment. First, I learned from classroom teachers that many students felt far removed from the people of the Revolution, so I brainstormed ways we could make the history come alive for the students and connect them to the humanity of those living during the transformative period. Once I designed the trunks and created the accompanying lessons based on primary source materials from our special collections library, I managed the logistics of the program, scheduling with teachers, shipping the materials from classroom to classroom, and accounting for all the enclosed materials. As a result, thousands of students have connected more deeply with the people and events of the American Revolution because these traveling trunks demonstrate the rich diversity at America’s beginning. Learn more about the details of the lesson plans and characters portrayed in the trunks as well as student experiences with them here and view some images of the characters portrayed in the trunks below.
Video Lecture Series
Washington, D.C. and regional locales
I have produced rich online educational experiences. I conceived the America in Revolution video series to bring the leading scholarship of the American Revolution to anyone with internet access for free. The series is open to anyone, but is designed particularly for classroom teachers covering the war’s important people, decisive events and international dynamics, as well as the war’s impact on women, African Americans, Native Americans, Loyalists and other groups. The videos also examine major political, social and cultural aspects of the era, including slavery, the Constitution and civic virtue. And they investigate the legacy of the Revolution–how its people, events and ideals shaped the future of America and were memorialized in art, literature and film. For each video, I identified the classroom need for a topic of the Revolution, reached out to a distinguished scholar and collaborated with him or her on how to address the topic for a classroom audience. Then I coordinated the logistics of filming and directed the post-production work of each video. Below are a few samples from the series. The full catalog can be viewed here.
I have facilitated relationships across faith communities, often in collaboration with the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington. I have coordinated panel discussions with panelists across faith communities on the following topics:
- Religious Freedom Perspectives Across Faith Traditions: Baha’i, Baptist, Catholic and Latter-day Saint
- Celebrations of Easter: Baptist, Lutheran, Latter-day Saint and Non-Denominational
- Quaker Worship: Sacred Silence
- Fasting at Ramadan Across Muslim Traditions
- Celebrating Advent
- Who Are the Baha’i?
International Education Conference
I was recruited to support the gathering of leaders in Essaouira, Morocco from ministries of education in the Middle East and North Africa region to discuss the education challenges in their countries, particularly the threat of religious extremism affecting their students. This roundtable brought together leaders from countries like Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Morocco and South Sudan who have participated in pluralism training provided by Hardwired Global and piloted the program in their schools. It also brought together education leaders from Oman, Morocco, Mali, Pakistan, and Tunisia who are looking for ways to counter the ideas of intolerance, hate and violence among children. I particularly communicated with embassies and education ministries in the region to extend invitations to distinguished officials. Then I supported the officials’ visa application processes and helped prepare them to present at the roundtable. As a result of the gathering, several countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are considering countering extremism through education about pluralism and respect for diversity.