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Mount Vernon Awards Teacher Fellowships to Outstanding Educators

MOUNT VERNON, VA—George Washington’s Mount Vernon has selected four educators to receive an incredible opportunity to enhance their curricula, create new lesson plans, and explore different teaching techniques by participating in a residential fellowship program at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. 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:

  • Robin Ferrell is currently the librarian at McLain Seventh Grade Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after previously serving as an elementary librarian for 8 years, and a middle and high school English teacher for 11 years.

  • Kim Pennington is a social studies content specialist at the University of Oklahoma’s K20 Center. She taught junior and senior high school social studies for 18 years, and has worked with pre-service teachers for 10 years.

  • Eric Schmalz grew up in Mount Vernon, Virginia and currently teaches world history at Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  • Dr. Linda Wilson is an Associate Professor in the curriculum and instruction program in the Elementary Education Department at Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. She has taught students in grades 1-12, as well as 34 different university level courses.

The Life Guard Teacher Fellows Program is facilitated by The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, which opened September 27, 2013. Located just outside the main entrance to Washington’s Virginia estate, the Library safeguards original Washington documents and serves 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 2014-2015 fellows will conduct on-site research on an array of topics, beginning this fall and continuing through summer 2015.  

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 is proud to support Mount Vernon's educational programs,” said Jo Carol Porter, who chairs The Life Guard Society. “Through the Life Guard Teachers Fellowships, Washington’s life and legacy will be shared by our fellows with generations of students.”

The program is available to classroom teachers (grades 3-12), curriculum specialists, media specialists, and to those engaged in university-level teacher training.


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