The OER Conference for the Social Studies is honored to announce our keynote speakers for the 2021 conference.
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.
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.
Associate Professor, Social Studies Education
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
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.
11th and 12th grade Social Studies teacher
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.
10th-12th Grade World History & Psychology Teacher
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.
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.
Middle School Latin Teacher
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 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
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.
9th Grade Pre-AP World History
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.
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.
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
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.
8th Grade Humanities Teacher
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.
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.