Announcing Our New Education Advisory Committee

By DPLA, July 20, 2015.

We are very pleased to announce our 2015-2016 Education Advisory Committee. From an extremely qualified pool of over 300 candidates who responded to our Call for Educators Participants, including educators in many fields and institutions across the U.S., we have selected ten outstanding participants.

The Education Advisory Committee will help DPLA staff build and review curated content sets for education users and plan future education projects. This effort is part of our Whiting Foundation-funded education work. To learn more about our plans, read about our educational use research findings.

If you’d like to follow along with our education work, please email

Education Advisory Committee

Adena Barnette is a thirteen-year educator at Ripley High School in West Virginia.  She serves on her school’s literacy and curriculum teams and as the social studies department chairman.  After being selected as a James Madison Fellow in 2011, she earned her Master’s degree in American History and Government from Ashland University.

Kerry Dunne is the Director of History & Social Studies for Boston Public Schools.  Prior to BPS, she served as the K-12 Social Studies Director for the Arlington (Mass.) Public Schools for 7 years, taught history and served as the history department head for 9 years at Framingham High School. Kerry teaches the Pedagogy of Teaching History class at Brandeis University and is appointed to the board of the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (MCSS).

Ella Howard is an Associate Professor of History at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia, where she teaches urban history, digital history, material culture, and popular culture. She has previously worked on a Teaching American History grant with local K-8 educators. Her book Homeless: Poverty and Place in Urban America was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2013.

Melissa Jacobs is a Coordinator for Library Services in the New York City Department of Education. She is the founder and former chair of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Best Apps for Teaching and Learning, a member of AASL’s Executive Board as Member-at-Large, and the current President of the School Library Systems Association of New York State.This year she was honored with Library Journal‘s Mover and Shakers Award and was named Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies Alumna of the Year.

Susan Ketcham has been teaching English since 2000.  She graduated from Purdue University with a BA in English Education and has recently added School Library to her teaching license. This year will be her 14th at East Central High School in St. Leon, Indiana. While she has taught every grade level from 6th-12th, this year she will teach English 9, Honors English 11, and Genres of Literature.

Jamie Lathan is a 14-year social studies teacher at a residential high school (North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics) in Durham, North Carolina.  He received his BA in History and MAT in Social Studies teaching from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in Curriculum, Culture, and Change from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also serves as dean of distance education and extended programs at his high school.

Lakisha Odlum is currently a secondary English Language Arts teacher in New York City. She has been a teacher for 11 years of elementary school through college classes, and will be teaching a graduate course in the fall for student teachers in the English Education department at Teachers College, Columbia University. Over the past three years she has participated in programs through the New York Public Library, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Albert Robertson is a middle school social studies teacher at Meadow Glen Middle School in Lexington, SC. He has taught world history from ancient times all the way up to the present to 6th and 7th graders for the past nine years.  This year he was honored as his district’s teacher of the year and as a top five finalist for South Carolina. He currently works as the district lead teacher for middle level social studies and also as an adjunct professor of Historical Literacy and Middle Level Social Studies Methods at the College of Charleston and Newberry College, respectively.

Melissa Strong is an associate professor of English at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where she teaches American literature, gender studies, and writing in traditional, blended, and online formats.  She recently published an article on The Long Day, a 1905 best seller exposing the difficult living and working conditions of women in unskilled jobs Nickel and Dimed style, and her essay on teaching with images is forthcoming in MLA Options for Teaching the Literatures of the American Civil War.  She is an AP reader for English Literature.

James Walsh is the social studies department chair at Scott County High School, Kentucky’s largest public High School, near Lexington, Kentucky. He has also had the opportunity to work with the C3 teachers project and just started a doctoral program at the University of Kentucky.