Meet the Teachers

Amelie Baker has been working with, teaching, and learning from teenagers for ten years in Boston, MA. She now mentors new teachers, which enables her to refine her passion and practice. She is inspired by teens and particularly their willingness to take risks. She was introduced to the radical history and future possibilities of education at Eugene Lang College at the New School through the extraordinary guidance of professor Gregory Tewksbury; leading her to be certain that education is humanity’s best chance at redemption and achieving social justice. She is happy to be contacted at Read Amelie's Letter, A Letter for Your First Thirty Years, here.

Prentice T. Chandler taught middle and secondary social studies for five years in Alabama public schools and is currently the Coordinator of Secondary Education and Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at the University of Cincinnati. His recent book, Doing Race in Social Studies: Critical Perspectives (Information Age, 2015), examines Critical Race Theory applications in social studies teaching and learning. In 2007, Dr. Chandler was named the Defense of Academic Freedom Award winner from the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) for his efforts teaching alternative history in Alabama public schools (2001-2006). Read Prentice's Letter, Rage Against the Machine, Quietly, here.

Eran DeSilva has 16 years of experience as an educator. Currently she teaches Social Studies and is the Director of Faculty Professional Development at Notre Dame High School, San Jose. She earned a double major from UC Davis in International Relations and Art Studio and a Masters in Teaching from University of San Francisco. She also enjoys working collaboratively with other educators as a colleague and a coach. Eran can be contacted at Read Eran's Letter, Enduring Values, Evolving Practice, here.

Laura Einhorn is currently a member of a team founding an innovative and community-based K-12 school in Oakland, CA. Previously, she taught high school history, “Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality”, and dance. Before finding her passion for social justice education, she interned at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University and was a staff member at the Tobin Project in Cambridge, MA. Read Laura's Letter, Dear Colleague, here.

Dawn Fontaine has had nineteen rewarding years educating young people in urban districts in Massachusetts. Over her career she sought out opportunities to impact more students by mentoring and coaching teachers in the hopes that they will develop increased efficacy that will transfer to student success. She made the decision to earn her Master's degree in Literacy because that is what she believed would benefit her students more than knowing more history. It also aligned with her thinking that standards are only outlining what to teach, not how to teach. Dawn is currently finishing her doctoral degree in Teacher Education and School Improvement at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Read Dawn's Letter, You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train, here.

Brian C. Gibbs taught history and American Government at Theodore Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles for 16 years. Currently a non-practicing history teacher, he is an Assistant Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Read Brian's Letter, On Being a Renegade, here.

Melissa Leigh Gibson taught social studies and English to grades 6-12 in both private and public schools in Chicago, Los Angeles, Wisconsin, and Guadalajara, Mexico. In addition, Melissa has led service learning programs for high school students with Northwestern University’s Civic Education Project. Currently, she is an assistant professor in the Department of Education Policy & Leadership at Marquette University, where she prepares pre-service teachers to be critical social studies educators. Her research is focused on disrupting educational inequity through justice-oriented and democratic pedagogies and policy. Melissa can be contacted at Read Melissa's Letter, Beyond Chapter One, here.

Elizabeth Haims is a 17 year, Nationally Board Certified, bilingual teacher who taught World and U.S. History for 10 years at Los Angeles High School, two years in Sierra Vista, AZ, and three years in Pensacola, FL. She currently teaches Economics for Florida Virtual School. While in Los Angeles, she worked with the Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) organizing parents, teachers and students for a more just school system. Read Elizabeth's Letter, Dear New Teacher, here.

David Jauregui Jr. has 12 years of experience teaching 7th – 12th grade social science in the cities of La Puente, Alhambra and Oakland. Throughout his career, he has co-developed creative curriculum; implementing simulations, seminars, and media analysis in his courses with an emphasis on critical thinking and deeper learning. He was also a member of the Facing History and Ourselves Teacher Leadership Team in Los Angeles. He has worked as a mentor teacher, a union representative, and an advocate for addressing systemic inequities, specifically pertaining to equitable course offerings. He gives a yearly talk for the Cal State LA teacher education program, and has coached swimming and water polo. He is steps in and plays the upright bass with the school jazz band from time to time.

Jared Kushida is a dedicated and passionate social studies teacher of years. He started his career at Azusa High School in Azusa, California where he spent 4 years learning the craft of teaching. He then moved up to the Bay Area to join the second year staff at KIPP King Collegiate High School, a charter school in San Lorenzo (between Oakland and Hayward). Jared has designed the curriculum for US History and War & Peace from cratch, and he continues to overhaul and innovate upon every aspect of these courses. Progressive and critical education means everything to Jared, as do his students, to whom he owes all his respect and love! Read Jared's Letter, Let Me Tell You Why You Are Here, here.

Dr. Sarah Lundy currently serves as the Director of Teacher Development for the Instructional Services Department at the Sonoma County Office of Education. ​Sarah’s work is guided by a commitment to offering all students rigorous academic skill development alongside educational experiences that are highly relevant for their 21st century lives. Sarah’s interest in teacher education evolved from over a decade spent teaching academically vulnerable high school and middle school students in both Arizona and Oregon. Sarah taught K-12 teacher candidates and graduate students as a faculty member of Portland State University’s Graduate School of Education and served as a Teaching & Research Fellow for the Choices Program for the 21st Century at Brown University. Sarah holds a B.A. in International Relations from Gonzaga University, a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Arizona and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy from Portland State University. Read Sarah's Letter, At the Center of the Triangle, here.

Nicole Lusiani Elliott serves as a professional development instructor and instructional coach for history for the Hollyhock Fellowship, housed in the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) at Stanford University. In that role she implements summertime professional development for the history fellows and provides coaching support for them throughout the year. In addition to working for CSET, Nicole serves as an instructional coach and workshop presenter for the Center for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning (CLRTL), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the academic experience for underserved students. Prior to working for CSET and CLRTL, Nicole spent 20 years teaching at a high-needs East Bay public high school in California. Read Nicole's Letter, Dear Warrior, here.

Isabel Morales is a proud product of Boyle Heights and the Los Angeles Unified School District. She holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from UCLA and is in her eleventh year of teaching social studies at Los Angeles High School of the Arts. Isabel has traveled to Brazil, Costa Rica, and Mexico as the recipient of various educator fellowships. She was selected as a finalist for California Teacher of the Year, after being recognized as an LAUSD and Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year. She recently earned her Ed.D. from the University of Southern California. Read Isabel's Letter, Letter to New Teachers, here.

Lindsay Oakes has taught social studies in a public middle school in New York City public schools, where she has also served as an instructional coach, mentored new teachers, facilitated professional development workshops, taught creative writing, coached the ballroom dance team, and advised various extracurricular activities. She has participated in two Teaching American History grants, and developed curricula for schools and cultural institutions in New York City, and taught graduate courses in disciplinary literacies for pre-service and in-service teachers. She earned graduate degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University in the Teaching Social Studies and Curriculum & Teaching, as well as a certificate in School Leadership from Baruch College (CUNY). Read Lindsay's Letter, Reading and Writing History as Social Justice, here.

After seven years of teaching history in high school classrooms, Tom Skjervheim took a nonprofit job out of the classroom to support transformation of (predominantly urban) public school districts. Over the past four years he has had the privilege of learning from dedicated and inspiring teachers and school/district leaders from across the nation. In the 2016-17 school year, Tom is excited about returning to a high school community driven by social justice in Oakland, CA. Read Tom's Letter, Social Justice Education-Providing the Tools, as well as Knowledge, here.

Katy Swalwell is an assistant professor in the School of Education at Iowa State University. Her research focuses on social studies and social justice education, with a special emphasis on issues related to social class. Her book, Educating Activist Allies: Social Justice Pedagogy with the Suburban and Urban Elite, examines social justice history classes taught at elite high schools. She has been a Zinn Education Project Research Fellow and serves on the boards of the Social Studies and the Critical Educators for Social Justice special interest groups within the American Educational Research Association. She can be contacted at or Read Katy's Letter, Keep Your Eye on the (policy) Prize, here.

Michael J. Swogger taught high school American history and government for 13 years in south-central Pennsylvania and has been at Penn State Harrisburg teaching social studies methods since 2009. He also supervises social studies teacher candidates during their student teaching experience. He is currently a doctoral candidate in curriculum and instruction at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, focusing on teaching about race, social and cultural issues in education, and social studies/history education. Read Michael's Letter, Commitment to Social Justice Transcends the Standards, here.

Rory P. Tannebaum, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Education in Social Studies & History at Merrimack College in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a former middle school social studies teacher and graduate student of the University of Georgia and Clemson University. His research interests include the development of reform-oriented preservice social studies teachers and the use of discussion in the social studies classroom. He can be contacted at Read Rory's Letter, Finding Spaces to Blend Theory and Practice during the Era of Accountability: The role of Social Studies Educators, here.

Carolina Valdez taught elementary in the Los Angeles Unified School District for 8 years while completing her PhD in Urban Schooling at the University of California, Los Angeles. Carolina organized in Los Angeles in several grassroots organizations, and helped found the People’s Education Movement (People’s Ed) in 2012, a decolonial organization for teachers of color an Assistant Professor at California State University, Monterey Bay, Carolina prepares elementary educators for social justice teaching and continues to support the development of People’s Ed chapters across the nation. Read Carolina's Letter, In it for the Long Haul: Tips for Disrupting Colonial Curriculum in Elementary Schools, here.