I started my career as a high school social studies teacher in Gwinnett County, Georgia, between Atlanta and Athens, in 2000, and spent almost seven years in the classroom before completing my doctoral work in teacher education at the University of Georgia and joining the faculty at Gettysburg College in 2008. My work here at Gettysburg focuses primarily on helping our students understand the complexities of teaching and education policy; I also teach a seminar for first-year students that exposes them to the American folk music tradition and helps them explore the various ways people have used music to express themselves politically and agitate for social change. Since earning tenure in 2014 I have also served as chair of the Education Department. From 2014-17 I wrote a regular column for Education Week as the “K-12 Contrarian.”
A.B., History, College of William & Mary (1996)
M.Ed., Social Studies Education, University of Georgia (2000)
Ph.D., Social Studies Education, University of Georgia (2008)
Straight From the Fridge
I also really enjoy reading the great work Chuck Reece and his people do at The Bitter Southerner.
I am proud to have been educated at the best school in Virginia (making it one of the best anywhere), where I studied literature and history and learned how to write like somebody who knows what the hell he’s doing. As such, I am afflicted with Tribe Pride and even have resolved myself to the fact that our mascot is a griffin. That part wasn’t easy.
I’m an occasionally obnoxious Georgia fan. Ain’t nothing finer in the land.
I like Woody Guthrie, John Prine, the Old 97s, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, Robert Earl Keen, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Old Crow Medicine Show, Shovels & Rope, the Drive By Truckers, Lucinda Williams, Paul Burch, Jason Isbell, and too much other music to mention it all.
I also like John Francis, Erin McKeown, Sarah Lee Guthrie, Rob Tepper, Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, Bhi Bhiman, and Alynda Segarra and think they are really cool for taking the time to come to Gettysburg and perform for our students and even meet with them to talk about protest music and social change. I still wish Arlo had let us know that he was going to be hanging out at McClellan’s after his show.
Also Billy Bragg. It doesn’t get better than Billy Bragg.
By the Numbers
Four: I am married to a strong (and good-looking) woman and together we have four above-average children. Just, please, don’t ask for the test scores to prove it.
One: I have been project director of one NEH-sponsored workshop for teachers, and had a great time doing it. Don’t believe what you’ve heard: there are a lot of really good teachers out there. Smart ones, too.
Five: I’ve lived in five states in my life: Indiana, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. I have my favorites.
Thirteen: The number of students who accompanied me to London to participate in Gettysburg College’s London Seminar in the fall of 2017. The class they took, “London Calling: Punks Protest & Cultural Change in the UK,” focused on the emergence of popular protest music in the US and UK over the course of the 20th century and featured almost-daily encounters with outstanding guides to the city of London and important sites around the city, as well as two of Britain’s great folk singers and political activists: Roy Bailey and Billy Bragg. For more on the class, jump over to the London Calling page.
Three: Number of times I’ve taught my first-year seminar, “This Machine Kills Fascists!: Protest Music & Social Change in the American Experience,” which has allowed me to finally fulfill my dream of getting paid to sit around and listen to music all day.