Speakers

The OER Conference for the Social Studies is honored to announce our keynote speakers for the 2021 conference.

Bryan Stevenson

Founder and Director of the Equal Justice Initiative

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. Under his leadership, EJI has won major legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults.

Mr. Stevenson has argued and won multiple cases at the United States Supreme Court, including a 2019 ruling protecting condemned prisoners who suffer from dementia and a landmark 2012 ruling that banned mandatory life-imprisonment-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger. Mr. Stevenson and his staff have won reversals, relief, or release from prison for over 135 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row and won relief for hundreds of others wrongly convicted or unfairly sentenced.

He is also the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy, which was recently adapted as a major motion picture.

Jane Kamensky

Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University

Jane Kamensky is Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University and the Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard Radcliffe Institute. Her most recent book, A Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley (2016), won four major prizes and was a finalist for several others. A former Commissioner of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, she serves as a Trustee of the Museum of the American Revolution, and as one of the principal investigators on the NEH/Department of Education-funded initiative, Educating for American Democracy.

in conversation with Rodney D. Pierce

8th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Nash County Public Schools Battleboro, North Carolina

Rodney D. Pierce is a seventh-year middle school Social Studies teacher in Nash County Public Schools. Pierce was the 2019 NC Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year and the inaugural Teacher Fellow for the NC Equity Fellowship through the Center for Racial Equity in Education. He is also a Fellow of Carolina Public Humanities and the Public School Forum of NC’s Education Policy Fellowship. Pierce’s research on NC charter re-segregation was published in The Washington Post. He worked on the NC Department of Public Instruction’s K-12 Writing Team for state social studies standards and unpacking documents in 2020. 

LaGarrett King

Associate Professor, Social Studies Education
College of Education, University of Missouri

LaGarrett J. King is an Associate Professor of Social Studies Education. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin after an eight-year teaching career in Georgia and Texas. His primary research interest examines how Black history is interpreted and taught in schools and society. He also researches critical theories of race, teacher education, and curriculum history. He is the Founding Director of the CARTER Center for K–12 Black History Education and Social Studies Online Masters Coordinator.

Young Citizens Live Discussion Panel
Watch and comment on the Track Talks for Young Citizens, or join the conversation around the Live Session! Young Citizens Track Page

Moderator Nate Bowling  
Political Science and Global Studies Teacher
American Community School of Abu Dhabi

Entering his sixteenth year in the classroom, Nate teaches Political Science and Global Studies at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi, where he relocated in 2019. He was the 2016 Washington State Teacher of the Year, one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year, and in 2014 was a recipient of the Milken Family Foundation’s National Educator Award. His writing on teaching and justice has been published in the Washington Post, Slate, and the Seattle Times. Nate is also the creator and host of Nerd Farmer, an interview show on the Channel 253 Podcast Network.

Dr. LaMesha Craft
High School Social Studies Virtual Content Specialist
Springfield, Virginia

Dr. Craft has been teaching for over 11 years. She is a contract faculty member for the National Intelligence University (NIU) and an adjunct for Tiffin University. She teaches courses on cyber issues, intelligence, homeland security, and national security. She is also the virtual specialist for the Georgia Department of Education's Social Studies high school elective course "Introduction to Intelligence and National Security Studies." Dr. Craft’s background includes 20 years of active military service in the U.S. Army as an All-Source Intelligence Warrant Officer. Her research interests include disaster risk reduction, threats to critical infrastructure, and improving community resilience.

Linda Becker
11th and 12th grade Social Studies teacher
Chicago, IL

Linda Becker has taught a variety of social studies classes for 22 years in Chicago Public Schools. She is also National Faculty for Mikva Challenge, a nonpartisan civic organization that facilitates young people becoming politically active. She loves engaging her students with current issues, problem solving, and volunteering for political campaigns.


Engaging Conversations Live Discussion Panel

Watch and comment on the Track Talks for Engaging Conversations or join the conversation around the Live Session! Engaging Conversations Track Page


Moderator Jayson Wilkinson       
Senior Manager, Professional Development OER Project    

Jayson is currently the Senior Professional Development Manager for The OER Project. In addition, he serves as an Adjunct Professor at American University, where he teaches Elementary Social Studies Methods in the School of Education. Previously, he served as a social studies manager for DC Public Schools, an Education Pioneers Fellow, and a member of the Nation Urban Fellow’s “America’s Leaders of Change” cohort. Jayson was born in Montgomery County, MD. After teaching and learning in a few different communities around the country, Jayson has resided in Washington D.C. for the last 10 years. In his free time, Jayson enjoys smoking meat on his grills, collecting bourbon, and, when a safe moment returns, entertaining guests. He also enjoys hanging out with his son, Grayson, his wife, Simone, and his two dogs, Pepper and S’more. 


Anne Koschmider      
10th-12th Grade World History & Psychology Teacher
Cadillac, MI                

Anne teaches on-level and AP World History and Psychology in Cadillac, Michigan. She has been teaching with OER Project materials for two years and loves seeing students develop their critical thinking skills.


Matthew Bell 

9th and 10th Grade World History Teacher
San Francisco CA                     

Matthew Bell is a World History teacher at Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, California. His life's ambition is to produce a rock opera about the many lives of Thomas Paine.


Arguments with Evidence Live Discussion Panel

Watch and comment on the Track Talks for Arguments with Evidence, or join the conversation around the Live Session! Arguments with Evidence Track Page 

Moderator Bob Bain
Associate Professor, Educational Studies; Department of History
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Bob Bain is Chair of the Secondary Teacher Education Program and a faculty member Educational Studies and the Department of History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He specializes in teaching and learning of history and the social sciences in many contexts and venues, including schools, museums, professional schools, and online. He has been on the design team the OER Projects from the beginning, designing the Big History Project and the World History Project. Bob has published about history and social science education, conducted professional development around the world, and consulted on several federal, state, and district-level projects.

Maritere Mix
Middle School Latin Teacher
Wilmington, Maryland

I am a Latina teaching Latin who hopes to continually adapt her practice to bring in more voices into the curriculum. I am a lifelong maker who loves to bring the joy of making into the classroom.

Nate Otey
Harvard Fellow
Cambridge, MA

Nate Otey is a Fellow in the Harvard Philosophy Department and Lead Instructor for ThinkerAnalytix. Nate creates learning experiences to train teachers and students in argument mapping. He also conducts workshops on controversial ethical and social issues, and previously co-founded a website that aggregates the top reasons on both sides of issues in the news.


Designing Inquiry Live Discussion Panel
Watch and comment on the Track Talks for Designing Inquiry or join the conversation around the Live Session! Designing Inquiry Track Page 


Moderator Tuyen Tran

Assistant Director
California History-Social Science Project, University of California, Davis

Tuyen Tran received her Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) in 2007. Tran’s fields of interest are twentieth century United States history and Asian American history, particularly Southeast Asian American. She has taught at UC Berkeley, Saint Mary’s College, and Laney College. As a graduate student researcher and teacher coach, Tran worked with the UC Berkeley California History-Social Science Project from 2002 - 2006. In addition, Tran authored “The Newly Uprooted: Southeast Asians in California,” a fifteen-lesson history unit for Oakland Unified School District. She joined the CHSSP Statewide Office in August 2008.


Elleni Abebe
9th Grade Pre-AP World History
Washington D.C. 

Elleni Abebe has worked in education for 15 years and has taught 5th-11th grade in public schools, charter schools, and schools abroad. Currently, Mrs. Abebe is an Instructional Coach at Roosevelt High School, in DC Public Schools and teaches 9th Grade Pre-AP World History and AP Seminar.


Nick Dennis
Director of Studies
Hertford, England


Assessing Historical Thinking Live Discussion Panel
Watch and comment on the Track Talks for Assessing Historical Thinking or join the conversation around the Live Session!  Assessing Historical Thinking Track Page.
Moderator Brad Fogo
Associate Professor
San Francisco State University

Brad Fogo is an associate professor of teacher education at San Francisco State University. His primary teaching responsibilities include curriculum and instruction courses for history-social studies teachers. His research focuses on instructional practice, teacher learning, and inquiry-based history-social studies curriculum. Dr. Fogo was the Director of Curriculum and Professional Development for the Stanford History Education Group, where he played a primary role in developing the Reading Like a Historian curriculum. He also worked for 10 years as a middle school history-social science teacher in California and Chicago.

Ane Lintvedt
9th and 10th grade World History teacher (on-level and AP)
Owings Mills, MD

I've been teaching all kinds of history for 30+ years. I'm particularly partial to social history, world history, and interdisciplinary history. I've worked with AP World since it started, in all kinds of capacities, and I'm very excited to work with the OER project.

Peter Lapre
10th Grade Global History and 12th Grade Government and Economics Teacher
New York City, New York

Pete Lapré has taught Social Studies at Park East High School in East Harlem, New York, for the past 12 years. He has extensive experience designing curricula and assessments and providing feedback to various pedagogical projects such as the NYC DOE, notably for their Passport to Social Studies, and other curricular projects and cultural institutions. He holds a M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University.

The Power of Media Live Discussion Panel
Watch and comment on the Track Talks for The Power of Media or join the conversation around the Live Session! The Power of Media Track Page

Moderator Sousan Arafeh, Ph.D.
Professor, Special Assistant to the Dean, College of Education & Co-Director, Integrated Justice and Social Change Collaborative
Southern Connecticut State University

Sousan Arafeh, Ph.D is a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Special Assistant to the Dean of SCSU’s College of Education, and the Co-Director of the Integrated Justice and Social Change Collaborative. She holds a joint Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in Curriculum and Instruction and Communications and Cultural Studies having focused on the intersection of education and telecommunications policy. She was the former Deputy Director of the US Department of Education’s National Center for Technology Innovation and the author or co-author of numerous national and international reports, articles and books on teens, technology, and STEM.

Jim Bentley
5th Grade Educator
Elk Grove, California

I'm an elementary educator, a National Geographic Explorer and Fellow, a member of the PBLWorks National Faculty, and a KQED Media Literacy Innovator. I'm passionate about integrating media with exploration, storytelling, and project-based learning to empower students to engage in civic action on topics that matter.

Jessica Brown
11-12 Grade Social Studies Teacher
El Dorado, AR
Jessica Brown has been a teacher at Parkers Chapel High School for the past 14 years. She currently teaches Psychology, AP U.S. History, and AP Psychology. She was named Arkansas History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in 2019. She is married with 3 daughters and lives in South Arkansas.

Literacy Live Discussion Panel
Watch and comment on the Track Talks for Literacy or join the conversation around the Live Session! Literacy Track Page 


Moderator Abby Reisman

Associate Professor - Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division
University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

Dr. Abby Reisman is an associate professor of Teacher Education in the Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division. Prior to her arrival at Penn GSE, Dr. Reisman was a visiting professor at Teachers College-Columbia University, and a researcher at the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University, where she directed the “Reading Like a Historian” Project in San Francisco, the first extended history curriculum intervention in urban high schools. Dr. Reisman began her career in education as a classroom teacher in a small, progressive high school in New York City.


Andy Del Calvo           
Doctoral Student, The University of Pennsylvania
Former 9th and 10th Grade Social Studies Teacher and Department Chair, Harvest Collegiate High School         

Andrew del Calvo is a second-year Ph.D student in Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Andrew’s work seeks to create a bridge between the research on historical thinking and works that center students’ lived experiences and identities. His research questions center on the writing and composing processes in historical inquiry, as well as the complex ways middle and high school students take-up the historical thinking skills. Previously, he was a ninth and tenth grade social studies teacher and department chair at Harvest Collegiate High School, a public school in Lower Manhattan.


Erik Christensen
Social Studies Teacher
Los Angeles, CA                      

Erik is a fifth-year teacher at Granada Hills Charter in Los Angeles, California. He holds an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a graduate degree in education from Claremont Graduate University where he is a Peter Lincoln Spencer Fellow for his work with literacy. Erik has developed globally published instructional materials and won numerous awards for his work with students, including the Outstanding Rookie Teacher of the Year (2020) awarded by the California Council for Social Studies.


Really Current Events Live Discussion Panel
Watch and comment on the Track Talks for Really Current Events or join the conversation around the Live Session! Really Current Events Track Page


Moderator Walter Greason
Associate Professor and Chair, Educational Leadership
Monmouth University

Walter Greason is among the most prominent historians, educators, and urbanists in the United States. He has spent the past 30 years speaking to audiences in dozens of states, on over 100 college and high school campuses, at dozens of professional and academic conferences, and to community groups across the country. His work is available every day on Twitter, @worldprofessor. He has also lectured internationally, in the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand, and has trained corporate, government, entertainment, media, law enforcement, military, and medical industry professionals on strategies for dismantling racism in their institutions. Dr. Greason has provided anti-racism training to educators and administrators nationwide.


Jasmine Locke
8th Grade Humanities Teacher
Beaverton, OR

Jasmine Locke is a middle school Social Studies and English teacher in the Beaverton School District (BSD) and is a district leader who serves as co-chair of the Superintendent's Advisory Council and on the Equity Leadership Team, Social Studies Cadre (adoption committee for BSD), World Oregon Education Advisory Council as well as a part of Oregon Ethnic Studies Panel. She is currently working towards her master’s in Educational Leadership as well as her license in administration and is considered an equity thought leader by her colleagues.


Carly Fox

9th Grade World History Teacher/ 11th Grade US History Teacher\
Really Current Events Palo Alto, CA 

Carly Fox teaches world history, US history, and gender and sexuality studies at Castilleja school. She is passionate about bringing anti-racist, queer, and feminist lenses into the history classroom.

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