Jonna Perrillo is an education historian and professor of English Education at the University of Texas at El Paso. She directed the West Texas Writing Project, a branch of the National Writing Project for six years. Most recently, she is the author of Educating the Enemy: Teaching Mexicans and Nazis in the Cold War Borderlands (Chicago, 2022). Her work has been published in the History of Education Quarterly, American Quarterly, the Journal of American History, Research in the Teaching of English, and English Education. Her public-facing work has appeared in the Washington Post, TIME magazine and the Boston Review.
Andrew Newman is a professor and chair of the Department of English at Stony Brook University. He is the author of On Records: Delaware Indians, Colonists, and the Media of History and Memory (2012) and Allegories of Encounter: Colonial Literacy and Indian Captivities (2019). His current book project is a cultural history of “the high school canon” — the books that have been studied by generations of American students. Andrew is the recipient of a 2019-20 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Recent work from this project appears in Public Books, The Conversation, and Inside Higher Education.
K-12 Education Leaders
Joy Bacon, a participant in our 2021 seminar, is a high school English teacher at Baltimore School for the Arts in Baltimore, MD. She holds a Master’s in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University along with an administrative certificate from Towson University. She leads her school’s English department as well as school-wide literacy initiatives and new teacher support. During her 13 years in education, she has worked in various capacities throughout Baltimore City to train and develop early career teachers, including roles with Johns Hopkins, Teach for America, Baltimore City Teaching Residency, and Baltimore City Public Schools.
Noelle Cammon teaches 9th grade English Language Arts at Heritage High School in Menifee, CA, was also a participant in our 2021 seminar. She has both a BA and an MA in English Literature. She is in her 16th year in education and is always honored to work with teachers to hone their skills and explore education.
Rebecca Nicole Guerrero teaches English Language Arts at the Young Women’s STEAM Research & Preparatory Academy in El Paso, Texas. Her courses include AP English Language, AP English Literature, and an AP Capstone program focused on women’s studies, advocacy, and social justice. In the classroom, Rebecca focuses on project-based learning with real world products and themes relevant to the lived experiences of her students. She credits her approach to teaching to her education at the University of Texas at El Paso in the Masters of Teaching English program.
Marissa R. Florez is an instructor for the University of Texas at El Paso, and a substitute teacher for El Paso Independent School District. She has a M.A. in English and American Literature.
Philis M. Barragán Goetz (Texas A&M University) received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She is an Assistant Professor of History at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, where she teaches classes in Mexican American history, women’s history, Texas history, and United States social and cultural history, and is a co-coordinator for the Women’s and Gender Studies program. She is a 2021 recipient of the Mellon Emerging Faculty Leader Award. Her book, Reading, Writing, and Revolution: Escuelitas and the Emergence of a Mexican American Identity in Texas, published by University of Texas Press in Spring 2020, won the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies-Tejas Foco Nonfiction Book Award, the Webb County Heritage Foundation’s Jim Parish Award, and the Tejano Genealogical Society’s Tejano Book Award.
Leila Christenbury is Commonwealth Professor of English Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, and a 40-year veteran teacher both in secondary English and higher education. She is a former editor of English Journal and past president of the National Council of Teachers of English. In recognition of her account of returning to teach in the English classroom, she is the recipient of both the David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in Teaching and the James N. Britton Award for Educational Research. Leila has recently served as NCTE’s Council Historian for the organization’s centennial and, at VCU, she has been professor, department chair, and interim dean.
Lauren Leigh Kelly (Rutgers University)is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University. She is also the founder of the annual Hip Hop Youth Research and Activism Conference. Kelly taught high school English for ten years in New York where she also developed courses in Hip Hop Literature and Culture, Spoken Word poetry, and Theatre Arts. Dr. Kelly’s research focuses on adolescent critical literacy development, Black feminist theory, Hip Hop pedagogy, critical consciousness, and the development of critical, culturally sustaining pedagogies. Her work has been published in academic journals such as Equity & Excellence in Education, Journal of Literacy Research, Learning, Media, & Technology, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, English Journal, and Youth & Society and her research on Hip Hop literacies and critical consciousness is the subject of two forthcoming book publications.
Sarah Levine (Stanford University) focuses on the teaching and learning of literary interpretation and writing in under-resourced urban high schools, with an emphasis on the links between in- and out-of-school interpretive practices. She is also interested in ways that digital media – specifically radio production – can be used as frameworks for teaching reading and writing to middle and high school students. Before pursuing an academic career, she taught secondary English at a Chicago public school for ten years. While there, she founded and ran a youth radio program that used digital audio production as a tool to help make writing and analysis relevant and real-world for students, and to build bridges between school and the world beyond.
Julia Mickenberg (University of Texas, Austin) is the author of Learning from the Left: Children’s Literature, The Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United States (Oxford UP: 2006), which won awards from the Society for the History of Children and Youth, the Children’s Literature Association, the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, and the UT Cooperative Society. She is also co-editor of Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children’s Literature (NYU: 2008) and The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Literature (2011), which won the Children’s Literature Association’s 2011 Edited Book Award. She has also published articles and book chapters in venues including the Journal of American History, American Quarterly, The Children’s Literature Association Quarterly and American Literary History. She recently published “Radical Children’s Literature for Adults at the Inner City Goose” in the open-access journal Barnboken.
Sara L. Schwebel is Professor and Director of the Center for Children’s Books at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. A historian by training (Ph.D., Harvard, History of American Civilization), her research centers on the historical narratives young people absorb through frequently assigned fiction and nonfiction—as well as the way K-12 educators can challenge the heritage-based approach long central to school history. Schwebel is the author of Child-Sized History: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms (Vanderbilt UP, 2011), editor of Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader’s Edition (U of California Press, 2016), co-editor of Dust Off the Gold Medal: Rediscovering Children’s Literature at the Newbery Centennial (Routledge, 2022) and, in collaboration with NPS partners and student researchers, an author of the Books to Parks site on Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 (forthcoming). Before beginning her academic career, she taught middle school U.S. history and English Language Arts in Virginia and Connecticut.
Jonathan Zimmerman (University of Pennsylvania) A former Peace Corps volunteer and public school social studies teacher, Dr. Zimmerman holds a Ph.D. in history from the Johns Hopkins University. His scholarship has focused broadly on the ways that different peoples have imagined and debated education across time and space. He has authored books about sex and alcohol education, history and religion in the curriculum, Americans who taught overseas, and historical memory in public schooling. His most recent work examines campus politics in the United States, the teaching of controversial issues in public schools, and the history of college teaching.