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The Life Guard Teacher Fellowship Program supports the creation of classroom materials and teacher resources about the life, legacy, and leadership of George Washington. Fellows live and study at the Washington Library on the grounds of Mount Vernon as they work to create educational resources that meet 21st-century classroom needs.

Tecoya Brantley-Williams

Tecoya created an inquiry-based project in which students will discover George Washington´s authentic character and compare it to his public persona. Students will use this knowledge to inform their own autobiographical narration on social media. Throughout the project, students will develop analytical and synthesis skills and learn the importance of discretion as they tell their own story.

Tecoya Brantley-Williams teaches American Government, AP Government and Politics, AP Macroeconomics, Economics, and Law Education at Swansea High School in Swansea, SC. She is the recipient of numerous awards including VISA’s Innovative Educator, Excellence in Curriculum Planning, W!SE Financial Literacy Gold Star Teacher, Jump$tart Coalition, and South Carolina Economics Scholarship. She has attended and presented at many institutes including the South Carolina Bar Association, the Supreme Court Institute, South Carolina Economics, and South Carolina Montessori Alliance.

Jennifer Burgin

Jennifer worked with 2019-2020 Teacher Fellow Helen Haas to create a bilingual children’s picture book about Mount Vernon in order to educate English and Spanish speaking students about George Washington and life in the 18th century. It includes facts about Mount Vernon that will intrigue a younger audience and can be used as a read-aloud text in K-12 classrooms. 

She is a National Board Certified Teacher who teaches Kindergarten at Oakridge Elementary School in Arlington, VA. Jennifer is a National Geographic Certified Educator, a Changing Education Through Arts Educator with the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, a 2017 Deeper Learning Ambassador, and co-author of the non-fiction children’s book A is for Arlington. She is an alumna of the George Washington Teacher Institute.

Helen Haas

Helen worked with 2019-2020 Teacher Fellow Jennifer Burgin to create a bilingual children’s picture book about Mount Vernon in order to educate Spanish and English speaking students about George Washington and life in the 18th century. It includes facts about Mount Vernon that will intrigue a younger audience and can be used as a read-aloud text in K-12 classrooms. 

Helen teaches at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Downey, CA where she has led the implementation and development of a dual language immersion program. She teaches multiple subjects in a self-contained kindergarten classroom for fifty percent of the day in Spanish and fifty percent of the day in English. Helen has attended several professional development programs hosted by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Gilder Lehrman. She was a 2018-2019 recipient of the "Keeping History Alive" grant from Azusa Pacific University. She is also an alumna of the George Washington Teacher Institute Residential program. 

Matthew Van Horn

Matthew created a series of document sets that will explore the day-to-day lives of the enslaved people at Mount Vernon. Students will examine primary and secondary sources to answer essential questions that will help them understand the experiences of the men and women enslaved at Mount Vernon and the diverse slave culture that existed on George Washington’s plantation.

Matthew teaches 8th-grade history and is a department chair at Saeger Middle School in St. Charles, MO. He is a track and cross country coach, as well as a club sponsor and instructional technology specialist for his school district. Matt leads both building and district teachers through professional development in addition to the various presentations he has given to local, state and regional conferences on a range of topics. He is an alumnus and Teacher Facilitator for the George Washington Teacher Institute.

John Clint Walsh

Clint created a DBQ-style lesson that will ask students to use multiple primary and secondary sources related to the Revolutionary War era to evaluate the question: To what extent did the service of black soldiers influence views and policies regarding slavery in the years following the Revolutionary War?

Clint teaches at Discovery Middle School in Orlando, FL. He is one-third of his school’s outstanding 8th grade American History team. In his 13 years of teaching with Orange County Public Schools, Clint has worked to find innovative ways to engage student learning. He has created resources for students and fellow educators across many platforms. He has worked to create inquiry-based lessons with a focus on the use of primary source documents. He is an alumnus of the George Washington Teacher Institute and currently serves as a Teacher Facilitator for Mount Vernon’s Teacher Institute where he has created lessons used during both the residential program, as well as a regional program.

Reese Teacher Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded to a teacher who will connect high school students with print and handwritten primary sources to increase student engagement with 18th-century sources.

Nick Costa

Nick created a digital breakout box using 21st-century technology and Mount Vernon’s collections to help engage students in teamwork and critical thinking. Students will use historical thinking and problem-solving skills along with primary sources to solve a history mystery and expand their own personal knowledge of George Washington’s world.

Nick has taught at GouverneurMiddle School in Gouverneur, NY for the past 8 years and is currently teaching 7th grade US History. He has presented numerous conferences including the National Council for History Education and the New York State Council for the Social Studies. Nick was awarded the Barringer Fellowship from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and has attended the Society of the Cincinnati’s Master Teacher Seminar, as well as several NEH Landmark programs and Gilder Lehrman Seminars. In 2019 he was awarded the New York State Junior Division History Day Teacher of the Year. He is also an alumnus of the George Washington Teacher Institute.

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