The Project

Everyday Americans, Exceptional Americans is a Teaching American History grant that provides professional development opportunities for elementary, middle-, and high-school teachers. Teachers who participate in the program will receive graduate credits in history from George Mason University.

Participation is open to U.S. history teachers, as well as special education and ELL teachers whose instruction includes U.S. history. Teachers will participate in a 1- or 2-week summer institute led by professor Christopher Hamner. Workshops blend lectures, demonstrations of teaching strategies, and hands-on activities that emphasize content and historical thinking skills. Workshop themes include: War and Society, America on the World Stage, Understanding Freedom, and Struggles for Equality.

The website homepage provides resources for teachers nationally, including primary source activities, lessons, teaching resources, and podcasts. Participating teachers will login for detailed information and the course blog.

The Staff

Bill Brazier (Instructional Supervisor, Social Sciences) is an instructional coordinator for Loudoun County Public Schools, as well as an adjunct instructor at Northern Virginia Community College. Before becoming Supervisor of Social Science Instruction, he served as Social Science Department Chair at Stone Bridge High School for three years and as a member of the Social Science Department at Loudoun County High School for nine years. Before teaching, he was an analyst for the American Committee on US-Soviet Relations, and a Corporate Maintenance Supervisor for the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Recently, he worked to develop skills articulation guides for grades 6 through 10, and concept-based curriculum documents for all of social science, K-12. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Boston College, an M.I.A. and Harriman Institute Certificate from Columbia University, a Teaching Certificate from George Washington University, and an M.A. in Liberal Studies from GMU.

Kevin Briscoe (Project Coordinator) has been a high school social studies teacher since 1997 and has taught in both Arlington Public Schools and Loudoun County Public Schools. He has been a National Board Certified Teacher since 2001. His degrees include a B.S. in political science and economics from Northwestern University, a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and an M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Georgetown University. Prior to working in education, he served with the United States Foreign Service from 1989 to 1996 and received two meritorious service awards.

Kelly Schrum (Academic Program Director) is the director of educational projects at the Center for History and New Media and an associate professor at George Mason University. Schrum is the author of Some Wore Bobby Sox: The Emergence of Teenage Girls’ Culture, 1920–1950, U.S. History Matters: A Student Guide to History Online, and World History Matters: A Student Guide to History Online. Schrum is director of Teachinghistory.org and co-director of the websites Children and Youth in History, World History Sources, and Women in World History, and History Matters. She has worked extensively in the areas of 20th-century American culture, digital humanities, and teacher training.

Christopher Hamner (Lead Historian) specializes in the social dimensions of U.S. military history. An honors graduate of Dartmouth College, he received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 2004. His first book, Enduring Battle: American Soldiers in Three Wars, 1776–1945, explores the changes in individual soldiers’ experiences in combat and the factors that motivated them to continue fighting as warfare became progressively more industrialized. He has been a fellow at Harvard University’s John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the U.S. Army’s Center for Military History, and taught at Duke University and Appalachian State University in North Carolina before coming to George Mason University in 2005.

Jessica Kilday (Project Associate) is the project associate for Unveiling History, the Teaching American History Grant for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland, as well as for Exceptional Americans, Everyday Americans, the Teaching American History Grant for Loudoun County Public Schools. Jessica graduated summa cum laude from the University of Mary Washington in 2010 with a B.A. in History and a secondary education license in History and Social Sciences. She completed her student teaching in a 7th-grade social studies class and graduated with honors in history for her undergraduate thesis, “Feuding the Fairytale: The Contention Between ‘Women’s Lib’ and Prescribed Femininity in the Fredericksburg (VA) Free Lance-Star, 1967–1973.”