Speakers & Presenters

Meet the passionate geography leaders sharing the latest approaches to support geography educators

Our guest keynote speaker, geography researchers, and experienced educators will expand your understanding and help you discover new geography tools that can be applied in the classroom.


Derek Alderman

"The Geography of Mobility: Teaching History, Geography, and Civil Rights"

Dr. Alderman recently co-directed a National Endowment for Humanities summer institute hosted by the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Geographic Alliance. In July of this year, eighteen K-12 educators from across the country came to Knoxville to examine the central role of migration, transportation, travel and tourism in structural racism and the historical and contemporary fight for African American freedom and self-determination. The workshop featured guest lectures and hands-on lessons from experts on geographic mobility, race and racism, Black geographies, oral history, digital mapping, and educators participated in local and state-wide field trips. Dr. Alderman highlights the institute’s foundational ideas and innovations, the value of creating spaces of dialogue and care for teachers during these tough times, and the need to create greater synergies between teaching history, geography, and civil rights.

Session Presenters

Lindsey Bailey

Lindsey Bailey: Education Network Director, Population Education

Lindsey Bailey is the Education Network Director at Population Connection. She holds a B.A. in Sociology as well as a M.A.T. in Elementary Education, both from the University of Virginia. Prior to joining Population Education’s staff in 2011, Lindsey was an elementary teacher in Charlottesville, VA. She is responsible for coordinating Population Education workshops in the Upper Midwest and West, as well as Canada. She has presented over 300 teacher education workshops nationwide, and has presented webinars for university education classes and for Population Education’s teacher network. She has also helped to design and administer a graduate level course for middle and high school science and social studies teachers, and has been the project manager for several curriculum sets for different grade levels.

April Bannert

April Bannert is a graduate student in the Master of Applied Geography (MAGeo) with a Geographic Education concentration program at Texas State University. She is also an AP Human Geography teacher at Harlan High School with Northside ISD in San Antonio, Texas.

Sarah Bednarz

Sarah Witham Bednarz is professor emerita of geography at Texas A&M University.
Bednarz’s research interests are in the intersection of teaching and learning geospatial
technologies and spatial and geographic thinking. She was PI on two major curriculum
and educational research projects; co-authored the national geography standards,
Geography for Life (1994 and 2012); participated in the National Research Council
Learning to Think Spatially project, and helped to develop the National Assessment of
Educational Performance (NAEP) framework in geography. In 2013 she co-chaired the
Geography Education Research Committee (GERC) of the 21 st Century Road Map for
21 st Century Geography Education Project. She has been an AP Human Geography
reader, table leader, question leader, exam leader, and served on the Test Development

Becca Castleberry

Becca Castleberry is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education (OKAGE). As a graduate from the University of Oklahoma Department of Geography & Environmental Sustainability, she approaches the issue of light pollution through a holistic, geographic lens which considers the spatial and place-based elements of light pollution; how this issue stems from the ways in which humans modify the physical environment to meet their needs; and how this issue impacts the movement of people and wildlife across Earth’s surface. She currently partners with educators to design and implement school- and community-level student-led, inquiry-based projects which help to inform K-12 students about this issue while involving them in the decision-making and stakeholder engagement process.

Niccole Cerveny

Niccole Cerveny is a professor of geography and sustainability at Mesa Community College in Arizona. Her research interests are in geomorphology, landscape evolution, Native American rock art conservation and sustainable heritage management. She is a member of the US National Committee for Geosciences

Frances Coffey

Frances Coffey has taught AP Human Geography and World History and Geography in Fairfax County Public School for 15 years.  She is the Social Media and Communications Coordinator for the Virginia Geographic Alliance and has served as a Reader, Table Leader, and Early Table Leader at the AP Human Geography Reading.  She has presented findings from her field work in South Korea, Iceland, Barbados, Canada, and Mongolia.  This past summer she joined educators with the GeoCivics Project to engage in place-based learning about westward expansion through an indigenous lens. 

Larianne Collins

Dr. Larianne Collins

I am a geography lecturer in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at UNC Charlotte and I absolutely love what I do! I am an avid life-long learner and teaching is my passion. I believe the field of geography is one of the most important and practical disciplines in existence and I strive to instill in my students a curiosity about this dynamic planet we call home. In my courses, I encourage the development of geographic thinking as we examine the “why of where” and the interconnections between the natural environment and society. My mission is to inspire students to achieve their best and empower them to not only create the life they desire, but to discover what impact they can accomplish in their lives. The opportunity to positively impact students and “geo-evangelize” young minds is the most gratifying aspect of my career.

A former high school geography teacher, I began my teaching career in 2001 spending seven years in the classroom teaching World Geography and AP Human Geography then served two years as an Assistant Principal. After earning my Ph.D. in Geography at the University of South Carolina in 2014, I served as the Education Programs Manager for the South Carolina Geographic Alliance for four years prior to joining the Geography faculty at UNC Charlotte in 2018. Within the department, I serve as the chair of the Communication and Outreach Committee and am a member of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. I am also an Associate Graduate Faculty member.

Outside of the Department, I am the 2022 President of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE).  I serve on the Board for the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) as well as the Board for the Geography Education Specialty Group for the American Association of Geographers (AAG). I am a member of the Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP) Coordinating Committee and I serve on the Editorial Boards for both the Journal of Geography and Sustainability. I serve on the Test Development Committee for the AP Human Geography exam and am also a Reader for the exam. Additionally, I am a National Geographic Certified Educator and a First Lieutenant on Search and Rescue for the South Carolina State Guard (Disaster Relief Organization).

I conduct research related to geography education with specific interests in geospatial technologies and spatial thinking as well as curriculum and teacher development. I also have research interests in environmental disasters and emergency management.

Sarah Coppersmith

Sarah A. Coppersmith, Ph.D., part of the UMSL Geospatial-collaborative/College of Ed Geo Design Lab, serves higher education in teaching, research, and grant coordination, teaching graduate research methods, teacher education, and geography; she is an UMSL Inquiry Circles Global Competency Fellow, and dissertation research chair at Maryville University.

Austin Crane

Austin Crane completed his PhD in Geography at the University of Washington in 2021. Prior to this, he received his MA in Geography at the University of Kentucky and his BA in Economics and Russian from the South Carolina Honors College at the University of South Carolina.


Crane is a broadly trained human geographer, with research interests in political geography, migration and borders, poverty and inequality, humanitarianism and human rights, economic geographies of uneven development and globalization, and the geopolitics of European and Post-Soviet spaces. He conducted his dissertation research with a range of international, state, and local migration organizations across Europe to study emerging intersections between humanitarianism and security in European migration policy. Through focusing on Assisted Voluntary Return programs, this project investigates how practitioners at humanitarian organizations navigate the conflicted politics of care, asylum, and migrant return. Crane’s MA research analyzed how the European Union’s “neighborhood” development policies facilitated the externalization of migration and border management to Ukraine. This research has been published in journals such as Political Geography, Antipode, and Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space.


At the University of Washington, Crane worked alongside Drs. Victoria Lawson and Sarah Elwood to advance numerous initiatives with the Relational Poverty Network, an interdisciplinary and international community of scholars collaborating to develop research methodologies and pedagogies for the study of relational poverty. At UofSC, he has worked with the South Carolina Geographic Alliance to enhance and support K-12 education across the state. Crane has taught university courses on global inequality, research design, globalization, human geography, and world regional geography. Now at the UofSC Walker Institute, he teaches a range of Global Studies and Cyber Intelligence courses.

Michelle Crane

Michelle Crane teaches at Texas High School in Texarkana, Texas. She currently teaches Government,
Sociology, AP Human Geography and Philosophy. She also teaches world regional geography at the
Texas A&M Texarkana. She is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program for Geography Education at Texas
State University.

Shanna Crosson

Shana Crosson is a Spatial Technologies Consultant at U-Spatial at the Twin Cities Campus of the University of Minnesota, focusing on integrating geospatial technologies and spatial thinking across the curriculum in higher education and in K-12.

Anna-Lisa Dahlgren

Anna-Lisa Dahlgren is a high school social studies teacher in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin where she teaches AP Human Geography, World History, and Sociology. She believes that elevating and amplifying student voices within and beyond the classroom creates deeper learning experiences. She used these passions to build a successful AP Human Geography mentor program at her school. Her classroom is student-centered, rich in opportunities for students to connect topics in class to current events and their own community. She has previously presented at the American Geographical Society’s APHG Exam Prep Webinar and completed a fellowship with Qatar Foundation International’s Teacher Leadership Program.

Butedma Dovdon

My primary educational goal is to increase my expertise in geography, a field I have thoroughly
come to enjoy. Since graduating from National University in 2003, I have had numerous
personal and professional experiences that have facilitated my competency as a teacher.
I have solid academic preparation and have planned and coordinated educational policy and curriculum, developed programs for teaching, and conducted research into teaching methods and techniques.

Annie Evans

Annie Evans is the Director of Education and Outreach for New American History at the University of Richmond. Annie is a National Geographic Society Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, a NatGeo Certified Educator and Trainer, and Co-Coordinator of the Virginia Geographic Alliance. With over 30 years of classroom and educational leadership experience, she designs curricula and facilitates professional learning for K-16 teachers and museum educators, focusing on Historical Thinking Skills, GeoLiteracy, Instructional Coaching, Project-Based Learning, and Performance Assessments. New American History is led by Dr. Ed Ayers with generous support from the University of Richmond.

Kristine Gerber

Kristine Gerber graduated from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1988 with a Journalism and
Public Relations degrees. In 1999, while working for the Omaha World-Herald, she uncovered the stories
and pictures of Omaha the best way you can, by interviewing the everyday people who lived it. From
these interviews the Omaha, Times Remember book was published and since then she has edited
and/or published 50 books about Omaha and Nebraska history. Today she shares her love of Omaha
history and the built environment with secondary students and social studies teachers through the
Omaha Public Schools Making Invisible Histories Visible program.

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.

Dianna Gielstra, Ph.D

Dianna Gielstra is an Associate Faculty of the Masters of Science in Environmental Studies program at Prescott College in Arizona. Her research interests are in biogeography and geodiversity, geoheritage, and developing immersive virtual learning experiences and technologies for spatial storytelling. She is a United Nations Open Sustainable Development Goals Open Pedagogy Faculty Fellow.

Paul Gray

Paul Gray has taught social sciences and humanities for the past 30 years and AP Human Geography since 2000 at Russellville High School in Russellville, Arkansas. Paul was named the 2008 Arkansas Teacher of the Year and was a 2008 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. He is a past president of NCGE and a co-founder of iScore5® apps.

Scott Greene

Scott Greene currently serves as the Coordinator of the Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education. His research interests focus on renewable energy, climate adaptation, and K-12 geography education. He has taught courses and participated in teacher training and professional development opportunities related to a wide range of topics, including renewable energy, climate change and adaptation, and physical geography for over 25 years.

Gary Gress

Dr. Gary Gress,
The University of Oklahoma
Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability
Undergraduate internships
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Association board
Oklahoma Alliance of Geographic Education board
Oklahoma Council for Economic Education board

Dean Haakenson

Dean Haakenson is an educator with 25 years of experience and teaches AP Human Geography,
geography and US History in the St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colorado. He was a
Geography Teacher Fellow for the American Geographic Society in 2018 and is currently in the Master of
Geographic Education Program at Texas State University. He enjoys hiking, cooking, and spending time
with his wife and two kids.

Rachel Hansen

Rachel Hansen is a National Geographic Explorer and educator whose work focuses on storytelling for impact with students using podcasts and maps. She is passionate about designing learning experiences that compel students to engage in meaningful, authentic projects in their communities, where they can build relationships that produce sustainable change. Hansen teaches high school social studies in Iowa and is currently working on her MA in Geography at the University of Northern Iowa.

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.

Virginia Holtzclaw

Virginia Holtzclaw graduated from Omaha North High School in May of 2022 and is now attending the
University of Minnesota at Twin Cities. She has participated in the Making Invisible Histories Visible
Program for four years, working on projects including mapping South Omaha’s Ethnic Enclaves, Omaha’s
New Immigrant Communities, and North 24th Street. She and her partner were awarded 3rd place in
the 2021 Nebraska Story Map Competition. From these projects, Virginia is exploring a possible career in
geography and history.

Leah Hood

Leah Hood (she/her) grew up on a farm in northeast Iowa and has lived in Minneapolis for over 20 years. She has been a secondary social studies teacher in MN public schools since 2008 and currently teaches AP Human Geography, Human Geography, and Sociology at Lakeville South High School. Leah studied under Professor David Lanegran at Macalester College in St. Paul and has served with Kelly Swanson on the steering committee of the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education for over a decade. Leah had the honor of presenting on the name restoration of Bde Maka Ska with Professor Joseph Stoltman in Seoul in 2018.

Sojung Huh

Sojung Huh is a PhD candidate of Geography and Environmental Studies at Texas State University. Her
research interests include inquiry-based learning, fieldwork, technology-mediated geography classes,
and teacher education.

Mike Jabot

Mike Jabot is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Science Education at the State University of New York at
Fredonia. He also is the Director of the Institute for Research in Science Teaching as well as a US
Partner of the NASA GLOBE Program at SUNY Fredonia. His research investigates students'
conceptions of the natural world and how these conceptions shape their interactions in the sciences. In
particular, his work is increasingly focusing on how “place-based” conceptions of the natural world and
sciences generally through the development of spatial visualization. This research looks at the role that
spatial reasoning plays in students' conceptual frameworks and the interplay of these frameworks with
frameworks based on larger scales.

Injeong Jo

Injeong Jo is an Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies and the Faculty Coordinator of the Online Master of Applied Geography in Geographic Education at Texas State University. Her research focuses on geography and spatial thinking education, geospatial technologies for teaching and learning, as well as teacher education.

Cory Johnson

Cory Johnson graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2000 with History and Geography degrees, with a GIS concentration. He became interested in Education during his decade as a cartographer for a small cartography firm in Madison, WI, where he often worked on textbook maps. Following a stint at FEMA, Cory earned a teaching certificate at University of Nebraska Omaha in 2018 and started teaching at Northwest High Magnet School in Omaha that fall. He has since tried to convey his love for History
and Geography to his Freshmen and Sophomores.

Dylan Kane

Dylan Kane is a Social Studies Instructional Specialist and Department Chair at Mead Middle School in Aldine ISD. He graduated with his Bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 2013 and earned a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Sam Houston State University in 2020. In addition to leading his department at the campus and district level, he also acts as Mead Middle School’s campus sponsor for National History Day. This is his ninth year working in public education..

Kenneth H 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. Ken is also one of the co-founders of the test prep app iScore5.

Joseph Kerski

Joseph Kerski is a geographer with a focus on the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in education. He has served as the President of the National Council for Geographic Education and has given 2 TED Talks on “The Whys of Where”. He holds 3 degrees in geography (BA, MA, PhD) and has served as geographer in 4 sectors of society, including government (NOAA, US Census Bureau, USGS), academia (University of Minnesota, Harrisburg Area Community College, Penn State University, Sinte Gleska University, University of Denver, others), private industry (as Education Manager for Esri), and nonprofit organizations (with roles in geography and education associations). Joseph has authored over 75 chapters and articles on GIS, education, 40 podcasts, and related topics, and visits 35 universities annually. He conducts professional development for educators. He has created over 5,200 videos, 750 lessons, 1,000 blog essays, and authored 8 books, including Interpreting Our World, Spatial Thinking in Environmental Contexts, Essentials of the Environment, Spatial Mathematics, Tribal GIS, International Perspectives on Teaching and Learning, and the GIS Guide to Public Domain Data. But as a lifelong learner, he feels as though he’s just getting started and thus actively seeks mentors, partners, and collaborators.

EunJung Kim

EunJung Kim is an experienced educator throughout secondary and tertiary levels. She taught social studies education 15 years in South Korea. She developed her concrete skills and knowledge about US schools and university settings through working as para-educator, substitute teacher, high school teacher, supervisor and instructor.

Her study interest is to infuse global and multicultural perspectives on teaching methods, curriculum, and teacher education. She is also passionate about more rigorously integrating geography into social studies for equity and social justice education.

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

Bob Kolvoord

Dr. Bob Kolvoord is a professor in the School of Integrated Sciences at James Madison University, where he also serves as Dean of the College of Integrated Science and Technology. Kolvoord is an award-winning teacher, researcher and author. In 2011, he was recognized with the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award. With Kathryn Keranen, he is the co-founder of the Geospatial Semester and co-author of five books on the applications of GIS. Kolvoord’s research focuses on the impact of geospatial technologies on students’ spatial thinking skills.

Jeannine Kuropatkin

A self-proclaimed “geofanatic” with 30+ years in education; currently teaching Pre-AP World History/Geography and Holocaust Studies at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Arizona. I serve as campus Sponsor for Model UN, Kids Voting Leadership Council, Cultural Ambassadors, and Native American Club. Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad and overseas travel fellowships in Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Indonesia, have allowed me to share authentic cultural experiences in the classroom. Actively involved in Social Studies Education, serving as a Board Member of the Arizona Council for the Social Studies (ACSS) and a Teacher Consultant for the Arizona Geographic Alliance (AzGA). An avid curriculum writer of Geography and History lessons published on websites such as PBS Learning Media, Arizona Geographic Alliance, University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Fred T Korematsu Institute, as well as the journal, “The Geography Teacher.” Currently writing curriculum for The GeoCivics Project: “Westward Expansion Through the Lens of Indigenous Communities.”

Jeffrey Lash

In 1992, Jeff Lash earned a B.A. in art history from the University of Texas at Austin. He then studied in San Francisco at Transworld Teachers and received a certificate to teach English as a Second Language and did so in San Jose, Costa Rica. In 1994, he began his graduate career at Texas State University at San Marcos. He earned a master’s degree in geography education in 1996 then took a leave of absence, moved to Morocco and taught geography at Al Akhawayn University.

Dr. Lash returned to Texas State in 1997 and completed his doctorate in Geography in 2001. His dissertation, “Exporting Education: The Case of the American University in Cairo,” earned the National Council for Geographic Education’s Dissertation of the Year award.

Currently, Dr. Lash is the Geography Program chair and an associate professor of geography at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. He teaches a wide variety of courses and continues to conduct research locally and internationally on human development through education.

Michelle LeBlanc

Michelle LeBlanc
Director of Education, Leventhal Map & Education Center

Michelle LeBlanc leads all aspects of K-12 teacher training, school programs and curriculum development at the Map Center. She has over 20 years of experience in museums and classrooms, teaching history and designing programming for varied audiences. Her work at the Center focuses on the unique power of maps and mapping to help students make sense of and create new meaning about where they live. She holds an M.A. in Public History from Northeastern University and is a licensed teacher for grades 5-8 in Massachusetts.

Zena Lewis

Zena Lewis has been teaching for 24 years. As a geography teacher and reading specialist, she sees geo-literacy and grant writing as an essential tool in her classroom. Lewis was selected by National Geographic Society to participate in their Summer Geo-Inquiry Institute and collaborated with educators from around the world. Opportunities like this have allowed her to teach educators about National Geographic Educator Certification, the Geo-Inquiry Process, grant writing, along with geography and literacy strategies in the classroom. She is a National Geographic Certified Educator and an Oklahoma Alliance for Geographic Education (OKAGE) Teacher Consultant. She recently was funded to produce curriculum for National Geographic Society Covid Relief Fund for Educators. Mrs. Lewis has been named as a 2021 Innovative Educator by the K20 Center She has mentored fellow educators by leading sessions in professional development opportunities. Grant writing has consistently funded resources for her innovative classroom. Zena Lewis recently earned one of her greatest career accomplishments, achieving her National Board teacher certification. Lewis now mentors candidates going through the process of their National Board Certified Teacher certification. Mrs. Lewis is a 2022 Funds For Teachers Fellow and will travel this summer to engage in her proposed fellowship. She has been married to the love of her life for 33 years, has three daughters, one son-in-law, and two grand-babies who keep her busy and smiling.

Erika Lowrey

Throughout 26 years in education Erika has taught MS/HS Geography. Erika was awarded the National Council for Geographic Education Distinguished Teaching Achievement award in 2013. She was President of TXCSS in 2018 and President of NSSSA in 2021. In 2021, Erika was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus from the College of Education at The Florida State University and in 2022 she was selected as the Texas Social Studies Supervisor of the Year. Erika is a level 2 google certified educator and a Nearpod Certified Educator. Talk to her about all things social studies, baking, and travel.

Sandra Makielski

Sandra D. Makielski is a seventh-grade geography teacher from North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Her passion for teaching lies in her desire to help students become global citizens by engaging in activities that foster empathy and empower students to take action. Ms. Makielski has participated in various international professional developments that have taken her to Asia and Africa to better prepare her to teach her students. One highlight includes her involvement with Qatar Foundation International as she works to promote a deeper understanding of Arabic speaking countries within the teaching community. Ms. Makielski speaks regularly at conferences and networks with educators on four continents. Lastly, she teaches a social studies methods class at the University of Rhode Island.

Nicole Means & Torrence Williams

Aside from having taught alongside each other for many years, Nicole Means and Torrence Williams comprise a diverse pair of geographers who understand the need to research and delve into difficult topics in social studies. 

Nicole has traveled extensively across six of the seven continents in the world. She brings a wealth of knowledge pertinent to both historical and contemporary geography, culture, economics, and politics to the field of education.

Torrence, also a social studies educator, has a passion for all things geography. He has traveled to many countries in Europe and many states in the US. By starting in their local community, both educators work diligently to ensure that human rights are upheld for all the world’s citizens. They are National Geographic Certified Educators who live and work in a small town in Louisiana; their goal is to enlighten their students to all the diversity that exists beyond their community and be driven to protect those whose rights are trampled upon.

Their most recent undertaking includes uncovering untold narratives that are missing because of oppression or other social, political, cultural, or economic constructs. In a continued quest to uncover a diverse array of voices and further develop this project, Torrence and Nicole continue to conduct field studies in their regional communities. Ultimately, it is their goal to inspire other educators to explore historical and contemporary representations in their local communities.

Jerry T. Mitchell

Jerry T. Mitchell is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina. He holds a BS in History and MA in Geography from Towson University, and a PhD in Geography from the University of South Carolina where he returned to the faculty in 2004 after teaching for several years in Pennsylvania.


Jerry’s research has focused on environmental hazards and geography education. He was the coordinator of the South Carolina Geographic Alliance for 17 years, providing geography learning opportunities for more than 40,000 teachers and students. Additionally, he served as the Editor of the Journal of Geography from 2010-2019, was President of the National Council for Geographic Education in 2020, and was awarded the 2022 Gilbert Grosvenor Honors in Geographic Education from the American Association of Geographers.

Stephanie Moore

Stephanie Moore has survived the weird and wonderful world of teaching high school geography in Killeen, TX for 13 years. Within this time she has survived the jump from regional to conceptual to back to regional, pivoting as student and district needs have changed. Killeen ISD services the largest military installation, Fort Hood, which gives it a variety of demographics, diverse cultural experiences, and a plethora of yummy food options. In this district, Stephanie Moore prides herself on her ability to think on her feet, incorporating technology, and being the classroom students talk about as interesting and weird. The best thing a student ever said to Stephanie Moore was that “[they] never know what we are going to do in this class.” In the session, “Bringing Geography Alive- Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for an Interactive Classroom”, you will have a chance to learn what has worked, what hasn’t, and how she creates plans to make any classroom interactive no matter the time constraints or units involved. Best of all, Stephanie Moore loves to share and collaborate. Bring a lesson or topic that you struggle with or want to improve. The plan is to hear what has worked and incorporate it into something you can use and take home with you. Hear topics such as “Toilet Day”, Earthquake Simulations, Biome Amusement Parks, Water Walks, and many more!

Judith Painter

Judith Painter is a 30 year veteran teacher currently teaching World Geography with 8th grade students in Salem, VA. She is a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow and Explorer who seeks paths of exploration to help her students create empathy for other cultures & our natural world. Judith is an active member in the Virginia Geographic Alliance and supports pre-service teachers by offering geographic knowledge presentations at local universities.

Luke Parker

Luke Parker (HEA Fellow, doctoral student, University of Kansas [KU]) is a second-year Ph.D. student at KU researching Outdoor Learning within the American context. After earning his B.Ed. In Australia, Luke was a schoolteacher and then lecturer at Australian Catholic University for five years. During that time, he designed and implemented countless education units for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate students in Outdoor Education, ICT and PE. Luke also works for an Australian outdoor teaching association as the education advisor, creating teaching manuals for 24,000 teachers across Victoria, Australia to embed Outdoor Learning into their classes. Luke is currently publishing his first book on Outdoor Learning for elementary teachers.

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.

GB "Triz" Rodriguez

GB “Triz” Rodríguez, JD PhD has been transforming learning spaces across the nation and the K-16 spectrum for more than 25 years. A dynamic, place-making pedagogue, her groundbreaking scholarship rolls out the evidence-based blueprint of a comprehensive “True School” Hip Hop cultural Education model. Since earning her PhD (UCLA, Education) in 2016, Rodriguez has re-occupied the classroom space with this liberatory, alternative paradigm to traditional schooling, leading instruction in a 9th grade Geography classroom in San Antonio, Texas.
In her forthcoming book, “Remaking Education Now: A True School Teacher’s Guide to Hip Hop Pedagogy & Classroom Practice,” Rodriguez boldy offers up a Universal Style “map” for teachers and cultural practitioners to transform their own teaching spaces.
In 2014, Triz Co-Founded the Universal Style School, a fresh social venture in Hip Hop Education. US School hosts innovative teacher PD and youth programming, also organizing community jams and aerosol wall productions. Follow Dr. Rodriguez, aka “Triz,” aka “Teach” on IG @universalstyleschool for her latest movements in schools and in the streets. Visit www.universalstyleschool.org.

David J. Rutherford

Dr. David J. Rutherford is Associate Professor in the Department of Public Policy Leadership at the University of Mississippi where he also serves as Executive Director of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance.

His undergraduate and Masters degrees are in geography, and he earned his Ph.D. in geography/geographic education from Texas State University. Rutherford’s broad background in research and teaching in geography covers physical, human, regional, techniques, and educational components of the discipline. The current focus of his teaching and research is on major processes of change in the contemporary world.

Greg Sherwin

Greg Sherwin has taught AP ® Human Geography from its origins in 2000-2001 at
Stevenson High School in Chicago’s northern suburbs. Recently, he recently
coauthored Human Geography for the AP ®  Course with Erin Fouberg, Alec Murphy and Paul
Gray (March 2020).  Additionally, he has teamed up other expert AP® Human Geography
teachers to create an app (iScore5) to prepare students for the exam.

Katrinka Stack

Katrina Stack is a PhD student in Geography at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her primary research areas
are cultural historical geography and geographies of memory, and public history. Katrina holds a MS in
Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University. Katrina earned her BA in History from the University of
Michigan-Dearborn. She also earned secondary education certifications in social studies & history and has
experience in the classroom.

Denise Stewardson

Denise Stewardson is an Extension Associate Professor and Director of the Utah
Agriculture in the Classroom program at Utah State University. As a faculty member in the
Department of Applied Sciences, Technology & Education, she teaches a social science-based
agricultural literacy course on global food production for students of all majors, and University
Connections, a first-year experience course. Denise has a Bachelor of Science in Technology
Education from Eastern Illinois University and a Master of Arts in Industrial Arts from the
University of Maryland.

Kelly Swanson

Dr. Kelly Swanson is a member of the NCGE Executive Committee and a 27-year veteran of teaching geography.  Dr. Swanson’s PhD work specialized in geography education.  He has worked with the NAEP Geography Exam, Praxis, Geography and extensive work with the Advanced Placement Human Geography Exam authoring several textbooks.  He currently serves as exam leader for the AP Human Geography Reading.  In addition, Kelly is a consultant teaching Advanced Placement Human Geography Summer Institutes.  Dr. Swanson has worked with teachers around the world developing curriculum for students in many different countries. 

Lisa Tabor

Lisa Tabor is an Assistant Professor of Geography and Social Science Education at the University of Northern Iowa. She teaches both geography and secondary social studies education classes, and she loves it. Lisa mainly does research in geography education, emphasizing professional skills and teaching climate change but is always open to a good opportunity outside of her specialty. When not teaching or reading and writing the literature, she is daydreaming, doing yoga, or playing with her beloved dogs.

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.

Ryan Weichelt

My current research has been focused on electoral geography of Wisconsin
and redistricting and gerrymandering studies.  Highlighting these issues are
recent publications of the Atlas of the 2016 Elections (contributor and co-
editor), the Atlas of the 2020 Elections (contributor and co-editor), and a
published chapter “The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election and Trump’s Populist
Rhetoric: Wisconsin as a Case Study.” I am also working on a book focusing
on geography, redistricting, and gerrymandering.

Nedre White

Nedre White graduated from Arizona State University. She received her B.A. degree in Elementary Education and Master of Science in Educational leadership. She has taught English language development to students for many years. She currently teaches students from grades K-12th and is involved in the Arizona Geographic Alliance. Nedre recently was involved in the GeoCivic program because learning and teaching is her passion. She is always looking for new ways to teach, so that she can enable each student to grow and have a successful experience learning English, and getting excited about learning. Nedre is married and has four grown children. In her spare time she likes to travel around the world

Randy Wilkie

Randy Wilkie is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, recipient of the Alex Trebek Medal for Geographic Literacy, regional councillor for the Ontario Association for Geographic & Environmental Education, retired high school geography teacher, and is currently teaching Geography Methods at the Faculty of Education, Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

MAGE and LIS/GIS Guest Speakers

Sara Damon

Sara Damon is Co-Coordinator of the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE), a TeachSDGs Ambassador, National Geographic Certified Educator, and active member of Minnesota K-12 GIS Education.

Jessica Ellison

Jessica Ellison is a teacher educator at the Minnesota Historical Society.

James Fester

James Fester is a consultant and author passionate about project-based and experiential learning. His educational experience includes classroom teaching, instructional coaching, technology integration, and most recently serving as a member of the PBLWorks National Faculty.

In addition to his consulting work, he is a National Park Service volunteer who collaborates on educational programs for parks across the country. His writing has been featured by National Geographic, TED-Ed, and KQED, and in an upcoming book on PBL and environmental science being published by ISTE. He currently resides in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

Charlie Fitzpatrick

Charlie taught 7-12th grade social studies (mostly 8th grade geography) 1977-1992 before moving to Esri to launch a Schools Program.

Wendy Fuller

Wendy Fuller, high school science teacher at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe High School in Hayward, WI, has been teaching for 10 years. She recently earned her Geographic Information Systems Technician Certificate from Bismarck State College

Jim Hanson

Retired middle school social studies teacher. Current coordinator of the Minnesota on the Map student competition sponsored by Esri.

Alyssa Larsen & Brittany Koehler

Brittany Koehler and Alyssa Larsen are twin sisters who have been Social Studies educators for 12 years and both currently teach at Big Lake High School in Big Lake, MN. They were first introduced to ESRI skills and tools 8 years ago and have been developing interactive and student-centered lessons incorporating them into since then. Brittany and Alyssa are passionate about sharing and learning with fellow educators in order to foster engaging classroom environments for our students.

Michelle Leba

Michelle Leba teaches Social Studies at Murray Middle School in St. Paul MN. Michelle also serves as one of the coordinators for the MN Alliance For Geographic Education.

Chris Ripken

Chris has taught geography courses for 26 years at middle school, high school, and college levels. His classroom has been used as a learning environment to test numerous new instructional technologies and pedagogies at the local, state, and national level. Over the last several years Chris has split time in the classroom and as an Instruction and Innovation Coach.

Lisa Sanders

Lisa Sanders is a social studies teacher at Austin High School (25 years). She is a member of the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE) and the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE). She has presented workshops for AP Human Geography teachers in Minnesota and has written curriculum for the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom curriculum. She has been teaching AP Human Geography since 2000 – in both 1 semester and 2 semester formats. She has participated in the AP Human Geography Exam Reading since 2008 as a reader, table leader and early table leader.

Riley Sinn

Hello there! I’m Riley Sinn. I have been a high school teacher in Minnesota for the past 9 years and am currently teaching at Lakeville South High School. In 2015 I created the Mr. Sinn Channel on YouTube with the purpose of creating educational videos to support my students. Over the years I discovered that students and teachers around the world were benefiting from my videos. Today my channel has over 12 million views and 120,000 subscribers. As a teacher I strive to create engaging student focused lessons that put the students in charge of their learning.

Jaraux Washington

Jaraux Washington is an edupreneur from St. Paul, Minnesota, currently residing in Tampa, Florida. Her educational background includes a Master’s in Global Education and International Comparative Research from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Science from Tuskegee University.

Jaraux is a leader on multiple scales. Nationally she has been a member of Teacher Advisory Councils for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and National Geographic. She has also been a Keynote speaker, session developer, and host for several teaching conferences. She has contributed to national projects such as 2892: Miles to Go, a GIS virtual re-history project, Center for Teaching Quality district work, and an Advisor for Enlightapp, an equity tech company. On a local level, she has collaborated with local universities as a clinical educator and curriculum writer. She has also worked with local districts as a professional development writer and presenter. Lastly, on the school level, she has fostered many initiatives to support students, such as mentorship programs, teacher engagement professional development courses, and planning community awareness and activism fairs.

Currently, She develops and manages teacher certification programming for a national charter organization and she is the founder of the Butterfly Effect Education Group Consultancy, specializing in motivational speaking, district change management, professional development and diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Before this, she spent over 17 years as a public school teacher, serving students from underrepresented populations. As an educator, mentor, and advocate, she believes that true education empowers people to identify and make changes to better their community and beyond.


Kerri Westgard

Kerri Westgard is an 8th grade geography teacher from DGF Middle School, in Glyndon, MN, active as a MAGE steering committee member and a 2018 National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow.

Mathew Winbigler

Explorers mindset & geospatial thinker. Applying science, curiosity & wonder. High school Earth science teacher in Northern Minnesota. Master of Arts in Education w/ Natural Science & Environmental Education. GeoTech Certified Educator, T3G, MN/GIS LIS Keynote Presenter, National Geographic Education conference presenter. Go Outside & Play!

Jess Winkelaar

I am a passionate social studies educator and curious learner both with and from middle schoolers, teacher candidates and colleagues … all inspire me to continue my journey as a classroom teacher.