A native of Roanoke, Virginia, I was raised in a family of educators. My father, Allen, was a former high school teacher and principal, and my mother, Brenda, worked several years as an elementary instructional assistant. The family business of education continues today as my father currently serves as an assistant superintendent of Roanoke County Public Schools and my mother works as a secretary at Glen Cove Elementary School, also in Roanoke. In addition, my younger sister, Amy, is a successful first-grade teacher in Salem, Virginia.
After graduating high school, I spent four years at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where I graduated in 2002 with degrees in Interdisciplinary Social Science and Secondary Education. Toward the end of my time at JMU, I would meet my future wife, Kitrina. We were both members of the same honor fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, and we began dating soon after I completed my studies.
After graduation, I returned to Roanoke and accepted a teaching position at Glenvar High School. Over the next four years I taught a variety of social studies courses at GHS and created an online U.S. Government course as part of the district's e-learning program. During this time, I also worked on a master's degree at Virginia Tech in Curriculum and Instruction, which I completed in 2004.
Upon graduating from JMU, Kitrina was accepted into the veterinary medicine program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After three years of a long distance relationship, I moved to Champaign to work on my doctorate in secondary social studies education. Under the tutelage of Dr. Mark Dressman, I completed my dissertation entitled, "Teaching Politics: A Study of High School Government Courses and the 2008 Presidential Election," and graduated with a Ph.D. in May 2009. In addition to my research agenda, I taught courses in social studies methods as a graduate student and served as the managing editor for Research in the Teaching of English, a leading journal in literacy education.
Upon completion of my degree, I accepted an assistant professor position at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where I teach courses in middle and secondary social studies education and serve as the secondary social studies program coordinator.
Kitrina and I were married in 2008 and have loved being back on the East Coast where we are closer to our families. On January 16th, 2013, we welcomed our daughter, Hadleigh, into our family. The three of us live in Greensboro with our two cats, Abe and Madison, and our dog, Parker. Although Hadleigh takes up most of our time these days, Kit and I enjoy walking Parker through our neighborhod, playing softball, taking in Grasshopper games, going to concerts, and enjoying the North Carolina wildlife.