2017 Seminar Participants

Terry Atkins

Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. I graduated from Southside High School. I received a BA degree in English with a minor in history and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of South Carolina. I have taught middle school Language Arts in the Richland 1 and 2 school districts. In 1996-97 I was Teacher of the Year. For three years I served as a Regional Literacy Coach for the South Carolina Reading Initiative. Presently, I work at Muller Road Middle School and teach an online Emglish IV course. Next year, I will help start the Leadership Magnet School, which will focus on classical knowledge, leadership development, and inquiry-based learning.

Marri Brooks

Hi, I’m Marri Brooks. I am a born and bred resident of North Carolina and a member of the Lumbee Tribe. Living in Laurinberg, I am in close proximity to Scotland Early College HS where I teach American History I and II, World History, and Civics and Economics. I have been an educator for 4 and half years, and this semester I was selected as Teacher of the Year for my school. When I am not teaching or grading projects, I enjoy hanging out with my large and extensive family and visiting friends in Pennsylvania. I have a Bachelor’s in History from Dickinson College and an MAT in Social Studies Education from the University of NC at Pembroke.

Anne Clark

Anne Clark is a high school history teacher at Kearns Senior High in Salt Lake City, Utah. She teaches World Civilizations to sophomores and US Government to seniors. She went to Brigham Young University and graduated in history teaching. Anne completed her student teaching in Washington, D.C., and topped it off with an internship on Capitol Hill. Anne has travelled to all fifty states and quite a few countries as well! She loves running half-marathons and eating way too much chocolate. She is excited to be in Philadelphia and expand her knowledge on women’s history.

Daniel Gerbracht

I am a veteran high school teacher of thirteen years, originally from the Midwest.  Ten years ago I moved to the California high desert, drawn by the dual prospects of a full-time teaching position and the proximity of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  This interest in living and working in the desert was sparked during the road trip to my first NEH Seminar in San Diego in the summer of 2006, as it was also my first time experiencing the iconic “American West”.  Mountains and deserts were a revelation to someone used to farmland and 100% humidity summers!  Since then, my time has been focused on teaching US History as well as a variety of American literatures (modern and multicultural being my favorites).  More recently, my focus has been specifically on developing a rigorous Advanced Placement US History course that meets the expectations of the College Board’s 2013 redesign, an opportunity which I have used as an excuse to expand my own personal understanding of all periods in American history.  My summers (and weekends) usually find me hiking or biking among the various wildernesses and national parks that constitute this area’s backyard.

Sharon Gray

My soul has grown deep like the rivers. -L. Hughes

Sharon Gray has more than fifteen years of teaching experience, including individual and group study tutoring experience. Ms. Gray works as a Literary and English Instructor at New Jersey. During her tenure at Sojourn High School, Ms. Gray has developed, mentored, launched and has served as editor of its first Literary Newsletter for the school year, entitled, Our Truth: Sojourn High School Literary Newsletter.

In the past, she served as Editor-at-Large of Gumbo for the Soul Anthologies (and served as Editor in Chief of Style-ology Magazine for more than one year. She founded an online writing group named Essentially Woman Writing group in 2004. As an active part of the Fort Pierce community in Fort Pierce, Florida, Ms. Gray served as a member of the Communitywide Council Advisory Board from 2011-2013. In August 2011, Sharon Gray was featured in an article by The Treasure Coast Chronicle, Volume 4, No.4. More recently, Ms. Gray was featured in the 2012 August Edition of Soul City Magazine as a featured story that highlighted her community involvement as well as leadership qualities. Presently, Ms. Gray works as an English teacher and Journalism adviser for the HARP BEAT Newsletter in Paterson, NJ. Her passion is writing while her heart belongs to teaching. Sharon can be reached at sharonwrites@live.com

Tiedra Yvette Hutchings-Hoskins

Tiedra Yvette Hutchings-Hoskins a native of Hartford, Connecticut and graduate of St. Paul’s College is an 18 year veteran teacher for the Atlanta Public Schools System in Atlanta, Georgia.  Ms. Hutchings-Hoskins attended St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, and Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass to pursue a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction.  Mrs. Hoskins currently teaches social studies, reading, and ELA for “Forrest Hill Academy” in Atlanta. Her passion for education and learning has led her to places all over the world studying and researching topics pertaining to her subject.  Mrs. Hoskins was a finalist for the 2008 Awesome Teacher Award- Each One Reach One Community Impact Project, Inc. She has been “Teacher of the Year” twice in Atlanta Public Schools.

Mallory Huard

I am a graduate student in 19th Century American History pursuing a dual-degree PhD with Women’s Studies under the direction of Dr. Lori Ginzberg at Penn State University. I graduated from Gettysburg College with a B.A. in History in 2013 and spent some time traveling and working before applying to graduate school, where I just recently completed my M.A. work. I am also an affiliated member of the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, and my research interests include environmental history, maritime history, women travelers, and Hawaii.

Jodi Jackson

Jodi Jackson is a history teacher at Oak Harbor Middle School. Oak Harbor is located on Whidbey Island in Washington near a Naval Air Station. Jodi was raised in Oak Harbor and is proud to still call the island home. Jodi graduated from Central Washington University with a B.A. is history. During the summer, Jodi travels and attends a variety of summer institutes around the U.S. In her spare time, Jodi enjoys spending time with her cat, Petra, and crocheting.

Shelley Kaplowitz

Shelley Kaplowitz grew up on Long Island, loving the Beatles, Bobby Kennedy, and the NY Yankees in equal measures. Thanks to a mother who went back to work when June Cleaver was still vacuuming in pearls, a ‘liberated’ father, and an 8th grade book report on ‘The Feminine Mystique’, she was a feminist at a fairly early age. After college (Go Buckeyes!), she worked as a professional actress for a while (for someone who loves history, it’s the closest thing to a time machine…), but when that gig didn’t pan out, that ‘teaching degree to fall back on’ that she promised her parents she’d get became the focal point of her life. For the past 3 decades, Shelley has taught in a Brooklyn high school and introduced several thousand young people to the importance—and joy—of learning history, politics, and law. (and yes, some drama and public speaking too) As to why, even at this stage of her career, she continues to challenge herself in and out of the classroom, Ms. Kaplowitz would quote the author of that long-ago book report: “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” And this summer seminar offers yet another ‘stage’ for this actress turned dedicated teacher……

Jessica Kliethermes

Jessica Kliethermes teaches in a small rural school in northeast Missouri called Schuyler County High School (named for Philip Schuyler if you are a Hamilton fan.)  “Mrs. K” teaches American History to all of the 8th and 9th grade students in the district as well as American History electives to 9-12 graders.  Jessica struggles every day to bring diversity and tolerance to her small rural classroom and to open the eyes of her students to a world beyond farming and agriculture.  Jessica is married with two teenage boys and the world’s biggest lap dog at home.

Chelsea Palmer

I am a Special Education teacher in a small, arts focused high school in Seattle, WA. I earned both my undergraduate and graduate degree from the University of Washington. I majored in English with a minor in Latin and then went on to pursue a graduate degree in teaching. I am the department chair, Student Leadership Advisor, Prom Advisor, and Building Leadership Team chair in my school. I have lived in Seattle for almost ten years, but spent the first 18 years of my life on a farm in a tiny town in Southwest Washington. I am a lover of travel, movies, feminism, books, and learning.

Tammy Ramirez

I was born in New Jersey but moved to FL in 1969 when I was two years old. I have a big family. After high school I attended the University of Florida when I received a BA in French. After milling about for a while without a teaching job in French, I returned to get my certification in Social Studies and have just completed my 16th year of teaching 8th grade US History. I have one son who is grown and lives in Fargo, ND. I enjoy reading and live theater as well as traveling. My favorite movie is History of the World Part 1 (Mel Brooks). I read a lot of trashy romances, although many of them are historical romances.

Wendy Robinson

Wendy Robinson has been teaching high school English for over twenty years. Her classroom
experience includes both urban and suburban districts in several cities throughout Ohio. In
addition to a mid-career break to stay home with her children, Wendy has also worked as a
photographer and in educational publishing. Currently, she teaches in Columbus City Schools at
Briggs High School, where she is also the Department Chair and National Honor Society
adviser. Wendy loves teaching English because it she can dip into history, current events, visual
art, film, and pop culture to create lessons that change and evolve with her students. She is
married and has two sons.

Brittany Silva

Brittany Silva is a Social Studies teacher at Barringer Academy of the Arts and Humanities. As an urban educator with a passion for teaching students to draw their own conclusions about history through historical thinking and reading skills, she is dedicated to building a curriculum that promotes cultural empathy, student voice and autonomy by teaching them the stories of ordinary citizens in history and how they experienced everyday life in the periods they study.  She is excited to participate in the Library Company’s seminar on Women in the Independence Movement, and believes that it will help her to build a curriculum that allows for more varied points of view in history.

Catherine Sparks

I have taught English just north of Seattle, Washington, in the Edmonds School District, for 27 years.  I have taught IB Language and Literature for two years; this year my school will include all 11th grade students in the IB curriculum.  The team I work with is committed to this move toward greater equity, and to teaching texts that tell a complex and rich American story.  I have attend two previous NEH Summer Seminars:  A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bowdoin College in 1990, and The Canterbury Tales at Queen Mary College in London in 2014.   I am grateful to the NEH for giving teachers the opportunity to be scholars.

Ellen Wade

Ellen is currently a Case Manager and Behavioral Learning Specialist at North Lawndale College Preparatory High School in Chicago and professional development and conference presenter. She received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and a Masters of Special Education degree from Chicago State University. Having recently completed her final course work as a doctoral student at National Louis University, she will enter the dissertation research process, focusing on the marginalization and intersectionality of American women. As a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success as well as Pi Lambda Theta honor societies, she is the Student Government Association and Mikva Challenge Democracy in Action sponsor; a program which engages students in civic action projects that address local issues and advocate for policy change. Ellen considers reading, knitting, quilting, traveling, and listening to music as her remedy for peace and relaxation.