Keynote Speakers

Moderator: Dr. Johnny Finn

Dr. Johnny Finn received his Ph.D. in geography from Arizona State University and is an Associate Professor of Geography, and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology at Christopher Newport University. Finn’s research brings together literatures on racial capitalism, critical landscape studies, and environmental justice to better document and theorize ongoing economic, environmental, and health impacts of persistent racial segregation in the United States. His current project, Living Apart: Geography of Segregation in the 21st Century, uses oral history, historical research and analysis, participant-directed photography, and spatial analysis , to challenge the “naturalness” of segregated landscapes, and to explore—and advocate for—more racially and environmentally just futures.

Panelist: Dr. Kirsten Delegard

Dr. Kirsten Delegard is the co-founder of the Mapping Prejudice Project. She received her Ph.D. in history from Duke University, where she trained as a women's historian. In her early research, she explored the history of women and politics. More recently she has devoted her energy to public history and unearthing the complex past of her hometown, Minneapolis This focus led to Mapping Prejudice and the Historyapolis Project, which Delegard also started. Mapping Prejudice is located in the John R. Borchert Map Library at the University of Minnesota. Delegard also holds faculty affiliations with the Department of Geography, Environment and Society and the Heritage Studies and Public History Program at the University of Minnesota. She was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Humanities and has been a Legacy Research fellow at the Gale Library at the Minnesota Historical Society.

Panelist: LaToya Gray Sparks

LaToya Gray Sparks is a graduate student in urban and regional planning at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Her research interests include geographic information systems (GIS), urban history, historic preservation and housing policy. Sparks’ received recognition for her story map titled, Planned Destruction, at the 2020 ESRI User Conference. She was recently elected as a student representative to the Board of the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS).

Session Presenters

Derek H. Alderman

Derek H. Alderman is Professor of Geography at the University of Tennessee, where he teaches and researches culture and historical geography, race and (anti)racism, and the Civil Rights Movement. The National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities have supported his work. Dr. Alderman is a former President of the American Association of Geographers (2017-18).

Becca Castleberry

Ms. Becca Castleberry serves as director of the Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education (OAKGE) and earned BS and MS degrees from the University of Oklahoma. Her expertise is in program management, curriculum development, statistical analysis, and renewable energy. Dr. Greene is the coordinator of OKAGE and assists Ms. Castleberry in working with K-12 outreach and in pursuing the OKAGE mission.

Bethany Craig

My name is Bethany Craig and I am a Master’s Candidate in Geography at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. My primary research concerns the dynamic between scars and the cartographic and commemorative evidence they construct and preserve within the body.

Dr. Erin Fouberg

Dr. Erin H. Fouberg is past vice president of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) and author of two textbooks published by Wiley: “Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture” with Alec Murphy and “Understanding World Regional Geography” with Bill Moseley. Her research centers on threshold concepts and thinking geographically. She is under contract with Edward Elgar to co-author “Teaching Human Geography” with Jan Smith.

Gale Ekiss

Gale Olp Ekiss is a past Co-coordinator of the Arizona Geographic Alliance (June 2001- January 2019). Gale was the project manager for three National Geographic Society Education Foundation grant projects. She has managed two STEM institutes for K-12 teachers introducing them to concepts of integrating STEM with the social studies. Gale taught for Mesa Public Schools (Mesa, Arizona) for 28 years before moving to the university level. Gale is a winner of the Distinguished Teaching Award from the National Council for Geographic Education and the Great Moments in Teaching Social Studies Award and the Wilber Murra Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arizona Council of the Social Studies. Gale has presented over 25 sessions on geography education at local, state, and national social studies conferences in the past years.

Carol Gersmehl

Carol Gersmehl is co-Director of the New York Center for Geographic Learning at Hunter College. She received a BA in Education from Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois, an MA in Sociology from the University of Georgia, and completed all coursework for the PhD in Geography at the University of Minnesota. Working together with teams of elementary and high school teachers, she was cartographer and editor for four map/atlas projects: Thematic Maps (Tennessee Geographic Alliance, 1988), Minnesota Placemat Atlas (Minnesota Geographic Alliance 1992), Minnesota Studies (Rand-McNally 1996) and Food for Thought: A Geography of Minnesota Agriculture (1998). Carol taught cartography and GIS at Macalester College for 17 years, and in 2004, she received the NCGE (National Council for Geographic Education) College/University Distinguished Teaching Achievement Award.

Phil Gersmehl

Phil Gersmehl is Research Associate with the Michigan Geographic Alliance and co-Director of the New York Center for Geographic Learning. He received a BA in Education from Concordia Teachers College, River Forest, Illinois, and a PhD in Geography from the University of Georgia, then taught for five years at Concordia before moving to the University of Minnesota. In 1990, the Association of American Geographers asked him to serve as Director of ARGUS (Activities and Readings in the Geography of the United States) and ARGWorld (Activities and Resources in the Geography of the World). As part of these projects, Phil has presented in summer institutes and other teacher workshops in 26 states, as well as Canada, Japan, Korea, and Russia. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is best known for research articles about assessment of soil productivity, GIS applications in the environment sciences, and the neuropsychology of spatial cognition. A second edition of his book, Teaching Geography, was published by Guilford Press in 2009.

Tom Hammond

Tom Hammond is Associate Professor in the Teaching, Learning, and Technology program in Lehigh University's College of Education. Previously, he taught middle and high school social studies for ten years before pursuing a doctorate in Instructional Technology at the University of Virginia. His teaching and research address technology integration in social studies and science classrooms, particularly geospatial tools such as GIS.

Mary Hanna

Mary Hanna is the District K-8 Social Studies Coordinator for New Canaan Public Schools in New Canaan, CT. She has spent the last 23 years in education. Her most recent studies have included a master's degree in US history from Pace University in conjunction with the Gilder Lehrman Institution of American History. She loves working with teachers and students to bring geography to life!

Barbara Hildebrant

Barbara S. Hildebrant earned a PhD in geography from Rutgers University. She joined ETS in 1999 with the responsibly for the launch of AP Human Geography in 2000-2001. For the next 20 years, Barbara continued to work with ETS, high school teachers and college faculty to ensure human geography was part of the AP program. Barbara retired in 2019 and continues to work with AP Human Geography in various capacities, including as lead author on an AP Human Geography textbook. She is honored to have received the Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geography Education from AAG and the George J. Miller Award for Distinguished Service to Geographic Education from NCGE.

Greg Hill

Greg Hill has enjoyed a twenty-six-year career in education. He teaches High School AP Human Geography,World Regional Geography, and African-American Studies in Mesquite, Texas. Mr. Hill began his Social Studies teaching career as a World History teacher in Dallas Public Schools. He is also currently a Graduate student of Geography at Marshall University focusing on Urban Geography, Latin America, and the African Diaspora. He is the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Educator Award: K-12 from the National Council for Geographic Education. He is also the 2020 recipient of the International Educator of the Year Award from the World Affairs Council of Dallas-Ft. Worth. At Horn High, Greg sponsors the Global Young Leaders and coaches the Current Events Team.

Timothy Jacobs

Timothy Jacob is a licensed elementary educator and Director of the Traveler Program at Reach the World (, a New York City-based global education non-profit that uses virtual exchange to make the benefits of travel accessible to underserved K-12 students across the U.S. In February 2022, Tim will join the Endurance22 Expedition to the Weddell Sea to share the real-time search for Sir Ernest Shackleton's lost ice ship, Endurance, through written articles and live video calls with student audiences.

Kenneth Keller

Kenneth H Keller is an instructor of Advanced Placement (AP) Human Geography and AP European History at George Walton Comprehensive High School in Marietta, GA. He has taught AP Human Geography since its inception in 2000-2001. Ken is a past member of the AP Human Geography Test Development Committee (2006-2010). He served as President of the National Council for Geographic Education during the year 2019-2020.

Jennifer Kennelly

Jennifer Kennelly is an Assistant Professor of Education at Morningside University in Iowa. She primarily teaches courses in Reading & Language Arts Methods and the Diagnostic Teaching of Reading. Her obsession with global news and years of experience traveling solo around the world landed her the assignment of also teaching World Geography.

Joseph Kerski

Joseph Kerski is a geographer with a focus on the implementation and effectiveness of GIS And spatial thinking in education. He has served in all four sectors of society… Academia, federal agencies, private industry, and nonprofit organizations. He served as NCGE president and Vice President, has authored 8 books, and has given 2 Ted talks on the whys of where.

Laura Kmetz

Meet Laura Kmetz, a long-time NCGE member and new APHG Bellringers author. She teaches AP Human Geography at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX. She has been an AP reader since 2017, and is the Social Studies Department Chair and the lead AP Human Geography teacher for Dallas ISD. She loves creating challenging, engaging content based on the APHG Course and Exam Description and sharing with other teachers weekly through the NCGE Bell Ringers & Three-for-Threes

Regan Lamberson

Regan Lamberson, a graduate of Texas A&M University, spent over twenty years as a classroom teacher. She currently serves as the Frenship ISD District Coordinator of Social Studies (K-12) and the Gifted/Talented Program in Wolfforth, Texas.

Max Lu

Max Lu is a professor of geography at Kansas State University. He has been an AP Human Geography reader since 2003 and served on the Test Development Committee from 2007 to 2015. As a College Board consultant, he also teaches AP Human Geography workshops and summer institutes around the country.

Heather Moll

Heather Moll has been the Co-Coordinator of the Arizona Geographic Alliance for the past three years. After receiving a bachelors in secondary education and later a masters in geography education, Heather taught Earth and Space Science, Chemistry, and many other high school sciences for 13 years. Heather is also a fourth year PhD student in the School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning at Arizona State University.

Celeste Reynolds

Celeste Reynolds has been teaching at Mashpee High School for twenty-one years and has been teaching Advanced Placement Human Geography for the past twelve years. Celeste serves on the TeachOSM Steering Committee, American Geographic Society Teacher Advisory Board, and is an Advanced Placement reader for College Board.

Shannon Salter

Shannon Salter is in her 10th year teaching high school social studies. Certified in secondary social studies, ELA, and communications, she currently teaches 12th grade US Government, AP US Government, Yearbook, and a Criminal Justice elective, while serving as the social studies department lead. Shannon’s passion is creating opportunities for students to use the skills of civic action to take their learning in all subjects out of the classroom to make an impact on their community. In 2015 Salter was invited to become a founding teacher of Building 21 High School in Allentown, PA, where learning is built around competencies (skills), cross-curricular instruction, and project-based investigative learning.

Dr. Janet S. Smith

Dr. Janet S. Smith is a past president of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) and Alliance Coordinator for the State of Pennsylvania. Her research centers on spatial thinking and learning through maps. She is under contract with Edward Elgar to co-author “Teaching Human Geography” with Erin Fouberg.

Kelly Swanson

Dr. Kelly Swanson teaches at Johnson Senior High School and Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Kelly has taught AP Human Geography since 1997 since he was one of a group of 50 teachers to establish some of the curriculum for AP Human Geography along with being the co-coordinator for the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE). Dr. Swanson recently authored the Teacher's Edition to the Human Geography for the AP Course with Bedford Freeman along with the Kaplan AP Human Geography guide, and owns his own publishing company GeoPolaris Publications which has published Human Geography: A World of Interactions.

Rebecca Theobald

Rebecca Theobald is Assistant Research Professor in the Geography and Environmental Studies Department at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. She directs GeoCivics, asking geographic questions to address redistricting and emphasizing the role geospatial technology plays in drawing electoral districts. She is editor of the National Council for Geographic Education’s journal, “The Geography Teacher” and earned doctoral and masters’ degrees in geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Middlebury College.