Education Advisory Committee

The Education Advisory Committee helps DPLA staff build and review primary source sets for education users and plan education projects. This effort has been funded by the Whiting Foundation and the Teagle Foundation. To learn more about our approach, read about our educational use research findings.

The Education Advisory Committee was selected from a highly qualified pool of applicants, including educators in many fields and institutions across the US. In May 2017, we welcomed six new members of the Education Advisory Committee.

If you’d like to follow along with our education work, please sign up for our education news list or email us at

Committee Members

Adena Barnette

Adena Barnette has taught social studies and specifically American History at Ripley High School in Ripley, West Virginia since 2004. After being selected as a James Madison Fellow in 2011, she earned her Master’s degree in American History and Government from Ashland University. Her master’s thesis: “A Republican Form of Government: Constitutional Crisis and the Creation of West Virginia,” earned the Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Thesis. In 2016, Barnette was named the West Virginia DAR Outstanding Teacher of American History and placed third in the national contest. Barnette is active in her teacher’s union, the West Virginia Education Association; she has been elected to serve as local union president, and as an at-large member of the WVEA Executive and PAC Steering Committees.

Catherine Denial

Catherine Denial is the Bright Professor of American History at Knox College in Illinois, and chair of the history department.  She has taught college-level history for twenty-three years.  From 2001-2011, she was the lead historian for Bringing History Home, an Iowa-based professional development program for over 900 teachers in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Alaska, New Mexico, and Wyoming.  She is a collaborator on the Iowa Native Spaces project, working to provide professional development in Indigenous history for teachers from across the state.  Her first book, Making Marriage: Husbands, Wives, and the American State in Dakota and Ojibwe Country was published by the State Historical Society of Minnesota Press in 2013.

Kerry Dunne

Kerry Dunne has been a history teacher and department head in Massachusetts for the past twenty years. She currently teaches and serves as the 6-12 History/Social Studies department head for the Weston Public Schools, and previously was the Director of History and Social Studies for the Boston Public Schools. Kerry teaches the Pedagogy of Teaching History class at Brandeis University and is the President-elect of the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (MCSS). She has led a number of professional development courses for teachers on topics including Place Based Education, Japanese geography and culture, and teaching about international conflicts.

Lucy Santos Green

Lucy Santos Green is an associate professor of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina’s Knowledge School. A former classroom teacher and school librarian, Lucy currently serves as the chair-elect of the Educators of School Librarians Section for the American Library Association. Her research and publications center on the development of digital learning environments, and school librarians as instructional designers and partners. Her latest edited book is Flipped Learning in the College Classroom: Conceptualized and Re-Conceptualized, Springer International Publishing, 2017.

Tona Hangen

Tona Hangen is an associate professor and department chair of the History and Political Science Department at Worcester State University, where she teaches courses in historical methods and American social, intellectual, and religious history. She recently was awarded her university’s teaching prize, in part for integrating digital resources into the history classroom, and has collaborated with K-12 educators in Teaching American History grant projects. She has authored Redeeming the Dial: Radio, Religion, and Popular Culture in America (2002) and many other publications exploring intersections of religion, media, and culture.

Ella Howard

Ella Howard is an Associate Professor of History at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts, where she teaches digital history, design history, and the history of technology. Her research focuses on urban history, poverty, and segregation. Her book Homeless: Poverty and Place was published by University of Pennsylvania Press in 2013.

Melissa Jacobs

Melissa Jacobs is Director for Library Services in the New York City Department of Education. She is the founder and former chair of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Best Apps for Teaching and Learning, former committee member of AASL Information Technology Pathfinder Award and AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, and a past President of the School Library Systems Association of New York State. Melissa contributes regularly to a column in School Library Connection and has been published in School Library Journal, Teacher Librarian, and Knowledge Quest.

Susan Ketcham

Susan Ketcham has been teaching English since 2000. She graduated from Purdue University with a BA in English Education and has recently added School Library to her teaching license. This year will be her 16th at East Central High School in St. Leon, Indiana. While she has taught every grade level from 6th-12th, this year she will teach Honors English 11 and Genres of Literature.

Jamie Lathan

Jamie Lathan is a 16-year social studies teacher at a residential high school (North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics) in Durham, North Carolina. He received his BA in History and MAT in Social Studies teaching from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in Curriculum, Culture, and Change from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also serves as dean of distance education and extended programs at his high school.

Lakisha Odlum

Lakisha Odlum has been an educator for 12 years, and is currently a secondary Humanities teacher in New York City. She is also an adjunct instructor in the department of English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Lakisha has been the recipient of the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad award, and has participated in myriad professional learning and curriculum development programs through the New York Public Library, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Albert Robertson

Albert Robertson is the K-12 Social Studies Coordinator for Lexington School District One in Lexington, SC. He taught 6th and 7th grade social studies for ten years before moving into district-level administration. He was recently honored as his district’s teacher of the year and one of the five finalists for state teacher of the year in SC. He was also recognized as the Daughters of the American Revolution Outstanding Teacher of American History and the Gilder Lehrman SC History Teacher of the Year. In addition to his work, Albert serves as an adjunct professor through Newberry College and College of Charleston and serves as the Vice-President of the SC Social Studies Supervisors Association and on the board of the SC Council for the Social Studies.

Nancy Schurr

Nancy Schurr has taught American history for the past 15 years and is currently serving as an assistant professor of History at Chattanooga State Community College in Tennessee. From 2010-2014 she was the Scholar Instructor for a Teaching American History (TAH) Grant that included cohorts of public school teachers from 4th, 5th, 8th, and 11th grades. Schurr has also delivered numerous content lectures for the Teaching with Primary Sources Program sponsored by the Library of Congress. She currently serves as the Academic Historian for East Tennessee on the Tennessee Council for History Education Board of Directors. Schurr earned her Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a dissertation entitled “Inside the Confederate Hospital: Community and Conflict during the Civil War.”

Jolie A. Sheffer

Jolie A. Sheffer is an associate professor of English and American Culture Studies and an affiliated faculty member in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program at Bowling Green State University. Her scholarship centers on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality in twentieth-century American literature and popular culture. Her book, The Romance of Race: Incest, Miscegenation, and Multiculturalism in the United States, 1880-1930, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2013. She teaches courses in American literature and popular culture since the Civil War, multiethnic American literature, American Studies, and literary theory and cultural studies. Since 2014, she has been incorporating digital humanities projects that curate materials from BGSU’s special collections libraries in her upper-division courses.

Virginia Spivey

Virginia Spivey is an art historian specializing cross-sector teaching and learning in art history. She worked in curatorial and education departments at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Akron Art Museum, and MOCA Cleveland before joining the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2002, where she directed the art history program and was awarded a UNCA Distinguished Teaching Award. Since 2009, she has worked as an educational consultant in Washington DC, developing digital learning resources for clients such Pearson Prentice Hall and Smarthistory at the Khan Academy while teaching part-time at Georgetown, the George Washington University, and the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is a contributing editor at, a peer-populated OER for instructors in art history and a founding editor of Art History Pedagogy and Practice, an academic e-journal on Academic Works, CUNY’s Digital Commons Repository.

Melissa Strong

Melissa Strong is an assistant professor of English at Community College of Philadelphia. She has taught courses from the freshman to the graduate level in traditional, blended, and online formats. Her essay on teaching with images appears in MLA Options for Teaching the Literatures of the American Civil War. She is an AP reader for English Literature.

James Walsh

James Walsh serves as Department Chair for Social Studies at Scott County High School in the Bluegrass of Kentucky. Additionally, he’s worked closely with to implement the C3 Framework and the Inquiry Design Model. While teaching, James is working towards his doctorate at the University of Kentucky in Curriculum and Instruction.