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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.

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 2016-2017 fellows will conduct on-site research on an array of topics, beginning this fall and continuing through summer 2017.  

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

For more information about the Life Guard Teacher Fellows Program, please visit

Fellowship recipients include:

Lynn Miller, Visual Arts Faculty, Jackson Preparatory School, Jackson, Mississippi

Any Tolerably Fashionable Color: Painting in George Washington’s World

Miller will develop resources that use color as an entry point to explore George Washington’s 18th century world. This cross-disciplinary project designed for high school art students will use the new scholarship at Mount Vernon about the paint colors and material culture objects.







Joanne Howard, US History Teacher, Summer Creek Middle School, Fort Worth, Texas

Dearly Bought Experience: What George Washington Learned From His Failures

Howard’s project will use examples and sources from George Washington’s life that students can use to transform school culture. Her resources will share life lessons about Washington’s ability to overcome failure with students, so they can learn to believe in their own ability to grow intellectually and emotionally while overcoming obstacles.




Don Stancavish, Social Studies Teacher (HS), Rocky Mount Academy, Rocky Mount, North Carolina

The Business of Being George Washington

Stancavish will explore George Washington’s biography and source material for lessons covered in economics classrooms today.  Individual worksheets can highlight and define finance terms such as diversification, opportunity costs, and the pitfalls of lending money. 


Kevin Casey, United States History Teacher, Pitman High School, Pitman, New Jersey

Creating the President:  George Washington in the First White House, Philadelphia 1790-1797

Casey will use the Presidential mansion in Philadelphia as the backdrop for student learning about the social history of America’s first president.  Special focus will be brought to the layout of rooms in the house including additions made by the President, Washington’s role as the face of the new government, and the lives of the individuals working throughout the house including those enslaved.





Mike Ellis, History Teacher (MS), Notre Dame Preparatory School, Towson, Maryland

From Marble to Man—Getting to Know George Washington through Primary and Secondary Sources

Ellis will create activities that will prompt students to use investigative skills to discover a more knowable and instructive George Washington.  He will create these lessons using the sources and experts at Mount Vernon as well as through conversations with visitors to our historic site and museum.


Jennifer Connolly, Social Studies Teacher, Preston High School, Bronx, New York

Lesson Plans for study of Early America on Race, Class and Gender

Connolly research and develop lessons that will help students gain a better understanding of important concepts like freedom, liberty, and equality by looking directly at people who struggled with obtaining or were important in preserving these ideas.  She will explore the writings of and sources from George Washington, Nellie Custis, and a yet to be determined enslaved individual to create materials that explore race, class, and gender in the 18th century. 


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