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Mount Vernon Awards Teacher Fellowships to Outstanding Educators

Six Educators Chosen to Conduct Research, Build Curricula at Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON, VA—George Washington’s Mount Vernon has selected six 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.

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.

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.”

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 2015-2016 fellows will conduct on-site research on an array of topics, beginning this fall and continuing through summer 2016.  

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

Fellowship recipients include:

Stacia Smith Bystrowski

Paxton Center School in Paxton, Massachusetts

Bystrowski will create materials that ask middle school students to conduct research using primary sources to consider questions relating to George Washington and sports. Students will use evidence to support questions such as “Would Washington support my favorite sports team based on his travels and relationships to the area where I live?” and “Which modern sports might Washington participate in as either athlete or spectator?”

Ted Green

Associate Professor and Department Chair in the Teacher Education Department, School of Education at Webster University

Green will meet pre-service teacher needs through the creation of resources that will help to hone research skills through more intentional use of primary source materials, create awareness of pedagogical practices centered around Living History, and explore the application of social media and other technology platforms to engage learners on the “man and the myth” that surround George Washington.

Julie Alice Huson

Sun Valley Elementary School in Mill Valley, California

Huson will create a read-aloud play, suitable for elementary school production, featuring the diverse personalities of George Washington’s world at Mount Vernon. Included in these personalities will be indentured servants, journeyman craftsmen, and people from other nations who came under the influence of the president within the early years of his ownership of the property and into the Revolutionary War years.

Eric Langhorst

Discovery Middle School in Liberty, Missouri.

Langhorst will work with the archeological staff and use their current project at the slave cemetery to create a lesson plan that can be used in middle school classrooms. The lesson will teach students basic fundamentals of archaeology using real world examples, giving students the opportunity to think like historians while investigating archaeology conducted at Mount Vernon.

Marcia Motter

Archie Clayton Pre-AP Academy in Reno, Nevada

Motter will use existing primary and secondary sources to create Common Core aligned materials about different aspects of George Washington’s life. Two types of resources that she will be focusing on are Close Reads and One-Pagers. Both of these strategies use complex texts, vocabulary analysis, and questioning strategies to help get students to a deeper understanding of a topic.

Kelsey Snyder

Eden Prairie High School in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Snyder will produce classroom resources to help high school students examine and analyze George Washington’s perceptions of himself in the context of major events in his life such as the French and Indian War, the Revolution, and the Presidency. A platform to continue the discussion of self-perception and leadership throughout the study of American History will also be included in her resources.


Public Information: 703.780.3600; 703.799.8697 (TDD);

Since 1860, more than 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon the most popular historic home in America. Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the estate and in classrooms, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. Admission fees, restaurant and retail proceeds, along with private donations, support the operation and restoration of Mount Vernon.

With its latest initiative, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, Mount Vernon is affirming its status as the preeminent center of learning about George Washington, his life, character of leadership, and legacy. In addition to safeguarding original books and manuscripts, the Library serves as a center for leadership, where scholars, influencers, and other luminaries come together to talk about the past as well as the future, inspired by Washington’s extraordinary life, achievements, and character.


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