Weekly Bell Ringer: Introduce yourself!

Joshua Ward Jeffery Discussion

Welcome to H-High-S' Bell Ringer Question of the Week! Each week, we will ask a question about the field of History and Social Studies Education that we hope will provoke lively discussion. We encourage you to share your thoughts by typing in the "Post a Reply" box below the original post, or, if you're getting this by email, by clicking on the "Read More or Reply" link.

If you'd like to submit a question to be asked for a future Weekly Bell Ringer, please contact the H-High-S Editor-In-Chief, Joshua Ward Jeffery, at jjeffery@warnerpaific.edu. 

This week, we are asking our subscribers to introduce themselves. Tell us your name, where and what you teach, a bit about yourself, and why you became a member of H-High-S. Also, we would love to hear more about what you'd like to see here on the network.

15 Replies

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I'll start us off. My name is Josh Jeffery, and I'm the editor here at H-High-S. I teach AP US History and Government at the Orme School, where I am also the chair of the Humanities Department. My academic training is in American History and Theology/Religious Studies. My research focuses on the intersection of religion and American politics in it's different manifestations. My historical work over the last few years has focused on religion and war during the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and specifically, on Christian resistance to World War I. With my transition to secondary history teaching, I have expanded my research to curriculum studies, and I have been focused on public school Bible history and literature classes that have been mandated or allowed recently by state legislatures, especially in the South. In addition to Orme, I have taught at Lipscomb University in Nashville, and Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon. Before academia, I worked in public safety for fifteen years, including ten years for the City of Portland, Oregon, where I was in charge of law enforcement, fire protection, and emergency medical services for the Bulk Run Watershed Management Unit of the Mount Good National Forest, which is the city's chief water supply. 

My vision is to see H-High-S become the premier online community for high school history and social studies teachers, social studies teacher educators, and educational researchers who focus on history and social studies teaching and learning. I want to see H-High-S have a heavy social media presence, making the network the go-to online resource for information regardless of platform. I hope that in the near future, that the network will revive book reviews on history and social studies monographs, as well as relevant education books, in a bi-weekly basis. I would also like the network to get to the point where we can commission essays and roundtables on specific history and social studies education topics, and maybe even support an H-Net online open peer reviewed journal. 

I believe that all of these things are possible, but I'm going to need lots of help for the vision to be realized. One way we can start is that if you are still reading this, please click reply and tell the network about yourself. Let's get to know each other and our capabilities and interests and then work together to help improve the state of history social studies education.



I am Robert Siegel and I work as the Administrative Assistant for the CEO (Superintendent) of the Baltimore City Public Schools.

My current research, as an Independent Scholar, is to produce an annotated bibliography of biographies for youth about Andrew Jackson.

I have a BA in History and almost completed a MA in Ancient and Medieval History. I also have taken several Education courses at the Master's level.

My plan was to become a professor, but later, I aspired to teach Middle and High School Social Studies. Now I do neither but support one of the most influential and inspiring leaders in K-12 education, Dr. Sonja Santelises.

Most of my research papers have focused on Jewish history or education history.

I am on this forum to encourage and support other Social Studies teachers.

As an Independent Scholar, I plan to write and present papers that are meaningful and relevant.

My name is Chris Eklund and I teach high school history in North Carolina

I would be interested in seeing discussions about lesson planning, keeping high school history academically rigorous, and the book reviews Josh mentioned. I'm a member of other H-net communities, and I glad to see this list revitalization and look forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Hi all,
I have been lurking on this list forever, but never posted before (that I remember!). I am a professor of education and department chair at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I was a history teacher for 6 years before earning my Ph.D in Educational Policy and the History of Education at the University of Chicago. Carl Kaeslte was my mentor, if any of you are familiar with him. He eventually retired from Brown University, but spent a few years at U of C, where I was lucky enough to work with him. I teach courses in sociology and history of education, classroom and school culture in secondary schools, urban education, and social studies methods at both the elementary and secondary levels.

This fall I have 6 history majors and one general social science major in my secondary social studies methods course (this is a 6 year high! Our numbers have dropped precipitously since Act 10 was passed in Wisconsin in 2011). I wonder if you all would mind if I asked them to join this list and pose some good questions about teaching? They'll all be student teaching in spring. Most are from Illinois, but a few are from Wisconsin (Carthage College is right on the border with Illinois) if that makes a difference (very different approaches to social studies in the two states).

Also, I serve as one of four co-hosts for a local public radio program called Education Matters. Archives are here. https://www.wgtd.org/program/talk/education-matters
I wonder if this group might help me shape a show about what it is like to teach history today and how it is changed over the years/the biggest recurring challenges, etc? I can stitch short interviews together into a show (our shows are 43 minutes long). Suggestions welcome. This would probably be prepared to air in February or March if I do it.

Thanks for indulging me in this long post. Feel free to e-mail me directly too: ksconzert@carthage.edu
Karin Sconzert
Carthage College, Kenosha, WI

Dear Dr. Sconzert,

Welcome! Please, feel free to have your students subscribe to the network. It would be great to have some conversations about teaching.

Also, I would be very interested in working with you on mobilizing the network for the radio show.


Hi All,

My name is Adam Schmitt and I am a professor of teacher education and history at University of Southern Maine in Portland, ME. Prior to earning my doctorate at Michigan State, I was a middle school social studies teacher for 10 years in Champaign-Urbana, IL. At USM, I teach courses in elementary and secondary social studies methods, as well as history courses on 19th century American history and the history of American education. My academic interests are focused on how elements of teachers' personal identities and own memories/experiences of learning history play a role in their own curricular and pedagogical decisions, as well as how memory (individual and collective) and history interact theoretically and in how students/teachers make sense of the past in and out of the classroom. I also serve on the board of the Maine Council for Social Studies.

I'm interested in seeing (and potentially helping develop) the resources that this forum can provide for both in-service and pre-service teachers.


This week, we are asking our subscribers to introduce themselves. Tell us your name, where and what you teach, a bit about yourself, and why you became a member of H-High-S. Also, we would love to hear more about what you'd like to see here on the network.

Hi Jeremy Greene here. I teach at Chelmsford HS in MA. If it helps Lowell, MA used to be East Chelmsford before the town let it go to become a city. I am most interested in world history, world history pedagogy, and internationalizing the US history survey. I am currently the webmaster or curator of the New England History Teachers Association: https://www.facebook.com/nehta.org/

I have generally taught world history to freshmen - 1760-present. In addition to that, this year I will teach the first part of the US history survey up through Reconstruction. I have also taught AP World, World I, US II, America in the 1960s, sociology, and a course called US Government in Action that focused on elections.

I became a member of H-high-s 20 years ago as a new teacher desperate for help. This forum can still play a part in that for newer teachers.

In addition to other things, I would love to see this forum as a place for long form posts, debates about best ways of teaching history and social studies content. That in my opinion is largely missing from Twitter and Facebook - which have their uses. Heartened to see teachers of methods on here. And wish CUFA folks would find this an online home for longer thoughts on methods of teaching history instead of or in addition to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc...

Hi Jeremy! Would the NEHTA be interested in partnering with H-High-S? We would definitely like to become more integrated with national, regional, and state associations.


The NEHTA is interested in just this type of collaboration. (Perhaps contact me off list or through the NEHTA FB page: https://www.facebook.com/nehta.org/ )

The NEHTA has historically had the featured speaker (David Blight, Jill Lepore, Ken Burns - who spoke at NCSS, etc.) at NERC - combined meeting of MA Council and CT council. And a close connection with the American Antiquarian Society: https://www.americanantiquarian.org/ It is looking to continue this history with these and other organizations.

The NEHTA does have awards that would be of interest to members of this list who teach in New England - the Kidger Award for secondary teachers - and the Laska Award for undergraduate students. More information, including how to nominate a deserving undergraduate, can be found here: https://sites.google.com/view/newnehta/about-us/awards

Additionally, the NEHTA publishes a journal: The New England Journal of History and is always looking for contributors for articles, and book and multimedia reviews. To clarify, the NEHTA has been historically made up of a membership of New England history teachers. It is not an Association focused solely on New England history.
The Journal's webpage: https://www.nejh.org/

Hello Everyone,

Thank you Josh for assuming this leadership role and reigniting this forum. I plan to be more active here and to spread the word. Being part of the reset is exciting. I like the possibilities!

My name is Craig Perrier and I am currently the high school history and social studies specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. We are a big district with about 190,000 students (10th in the USA). HS social studies has over 500 teachers. Prior to this I worked with DoD schools, a non-profit, and taught for 12 years in MA and Brazil. I also teach online for Framingham State U and a career switcher program in VA called EducateVA.

At our department chair meeting this Wednesday I will share this group's existence and promote that teachers contribute. Is there is any specific message you want me to convey, I am happy to do so. Josh, how many members are there currently with H- High? As an FYI, our K-12 twitter handle is @FCPSSocial

I look forward to the future of this group.

Welcome, Craig, and thank you for your kind words!

I am excited about the possibilities as well. H-High-S currently has 1,445 subscribers. My message would be that we welcome new members, and that we hope that they will find the discussions helpful to their teaching. We also hope they will contribute to our discussions, as the value of our network is only limited by what we will make of it. And, in a group like this, with teachers, historians, teacher educators, social scientists, and educational researchers, there is certainly much to be made.

Craig, could you tell us a bit more about what your role entails as a History and Social Studies Specialist?

I'm William S. Cossen, and I teach AP US History, AP US Government and Politics, and AP Comparative Government and Politics at The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, a public, specialized STEM high school that draws its student body from across Gwinnett County, Georgia.

I have a PhD in History from Penn State University, and I remain active in research and scholarly publishing; I specialize primarily in the study of American religion, but I also have broader interests in the 19th- and 20th-century United States. I'm currently revising my first monograph for publication. In addition to historical research, I have a strong interest in social studies education and forging connections between secondary and higher education. To that end, I am currently putting together an edited volume, Transitioning to Social Studies Education, for the University Press of Kansas series, "Rethinking Careers, Rethinking Academia," about which I have posted previously.

It's exciting to see H-High-S so active recently! I'm looking forward to learning more from my teaching colleagues.

Hello all -

I’m Pegi Frostholm. I teach Social Studies at Pembroke Academy, a public regional high school in Pembroke, NH, right next to Concord. I returned to teaching this past year after a 10-year absence. I’m looking forward to hearing about updated pedagogy as well as new scholarship in all areas of history.

My particular area of interest is early American History; in 2002 I was part of the George Washington Teacher Institute at Mount Vernon. I’m also interested in African American history, and the history of religion in the same period.

I am also part of an initiative at Pembroke to create a school within a school that is truly student-centered and completely project-based. We are in our one-year planning phase, and will kick this off next fall. I look forward to seeing ideas from other teachers who have worked with something like this.

I’m excited to see this list active again, as well!

I'm Linda Morse and I teach anthropology, US I, US II, Africa: Scramble to present, AP US and AP Human Geography at a charter school in Massachusetts. I'm also the editor of The New England Journal of History, so for any history or pedagogy or book review authors out there, I am interested in articles! I'm interested in learning about project based learning, more critical thinking and hands-on history work for students of very diverse backgrounds such as ELLs and international students. Pegi, I think your idea of school within a school that is student-centered and project-based to be very intriguing and I hope to learn from you! I'm also interested in including social-emotional learning and self-regulation skills into my classrooms, so any help along those lines would be greatly appreciated.

I'm Bruce Acker, associate director of the Confucius Institute and previously assistant director of Asian Studies at the University at Buffalo.
In both positions, I have coordinated local seminars of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA), which provides information and resources for classroom teachers about Korea, Japan and China. Many social studies teachers participate in these seminars, so it is helpful for me to stay informed about developments in social studies curriculum and pedagogy.
Additionally, as a former secondary school Russian language teacher who sometimes also was asked to teach history, I remain curious about ways to teach history (or any subject, for that matter) in ways that engage and involve students as active learners. Frankly, I'm pretty sure I did a terrible job in that regard as a history teacher, but hope I was much better as a language teacher.
Intellectually, I'm interested in the creation of nation-states and the narratives developed to buttress them. These issues are generally unproblematized (at least in the U.S.) unless there are political reasons to focus on them (e.g., Taiwan), and then we rarely have any intellectual framework to examine the complex questions involved.
I would be happy to post more about the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia if members of this list are unfamiliar with it. I don't recall seeing posts about NCTA since I joined the list.