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Mount Vernon Awards Teacher Fellowships to Outstanding Educators

Mon, 03/11/2013

For Immediate Release                 
March 11, 2013

Media Contact
Melissa Wood (703) 799-5203

Mount Vernon Awards Teacher Fellowships to Outstanding Educators

Four Educators Chosen to Conduct Research, Build Curricula at New Library for George Washington

MOUNT VERNON, VA—George Washington’s Mount Vernon today announced that four educators will receive an unprecedented opportunity to enhance their curricula, create new lesson plans, and explore different teaching techniques by participating in a new residential fellowship program. Launched this year, The Life Guard Teacher Fellows Program enables classroom teachers and educators to conduct short-term residential research on a variety of themes inspired by the life, leadership, and legacy of George Washington.

Fellowship recipients include:

  • Jason Harris, Director of Education for the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., who will work to create a student/ teacher webpage exploring Washington’s relationship with Native American tribes. The site will incorporate primary source material, images, and other documents.
  • Beth Howard, art teacher at Mark Twain Elementary School in Tulsa, Okla., who will focus on Washington’s interactions with various artists he sat with during his lifetime, and how those artists represented the first president in his portraits.
  • Hannah Dykes Markwardt, history teacher at Heritage High School in Palm Bay, Fla., who will create a curriculum set of lesson plans that incorporate Washington’s contributions and character into modern American history.
  • Lisa Schisler, language arts teacher at East Elementary School in Lancaster, Oh., who will develop lessons, meeting topics, and hand-on activities that explore different facets of Washington’s character.

The Life Guard Teacher Fellows Program is facilitated by The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, which will open September 27. Located just outside the main entrance to Washington’s Virginia estate, the Library will safeguard original Washington documents and will serve as a center for scholarly research and leadership training.

By offering funded residential study opportunities for classroom teachers and educators through its new Library, Mount Vernon is taking an important step to improve the quality of history education, drawing renewed focus and interest on the founding era and on the remarkable traits and accomplishments of George Washington.  Applying the research they conduct at the estate, fellowship recipients will create and design curriculum materials, lesson plans, electronic media, and other educational materials. The 2013-2014 fellows will conduct on-site research on an array of topics, beginning this fall and continuing through summer 2014.

The Program is made possible by the generous support of The Life Guard Society, a select group of donors to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association who frequently champion education-based causes and initiatives. "The Life Guard Society has always taken a special interest in Mount Vernon's educational programs,” explained Chris Little, who chairs The Life Guard Society. “These new Life Guard Teachers Fellowships will provide extraordinary opportunities for teachers to expand their knowledge of George Washington and his times, and to enhance Mount Vernon’s educational materials and programs for their fellow educators, as well as students, from across the nation."

The Program is available to classroom teachers (grades 3-12), curriculum specialists, media specialists, and to those engaged in university-level teacher training. The application period for the 2014-2015 class of fellows is expected to open in October 2013; application details will be posted at


Since 1860, more than 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America.  Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853.  A private, non-profit organization, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association does not accept government grants or tax dollars, relying instead on ticket sales, retail and dining purchases and donations. The Association’s latest venture, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, will open September 27, 2013. The Library will safeguard Washington’s books and papers and will serve as a center for scholarly research and leadership training.