Fifteen secondary school educators from 14 U.S. states have been selected to participate in the one-year GenEd Teacher Fellowship Program, including a 10-day intensive professional development trip to Armenia in July, based at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, after which the GenEd Teacher Fellows will lead their own teacher training activities for their peers.
The 2023 GenEd Teacher Fellows gathered for the first time in March via video call, where they got to know each other and GenEd team members.
Brenda Boehler (Tucson, AZ) teaches World History, Western Civilization, IB Theory of Knowledge, and she serves as Social Studies Chair at Cholla High School. Brenda has lived and taught in England, Ukraine, and Russia. She says her passion is empowering students with new possibilities.
Sarah Dixen (Winona, MN) teaches AP World History, Human Geography, AP Government, and Service Learning at Winona Senior High School. She also serves as Social Studies chair. Having taught and developed a Master of Education program for 10 years, she returned to high school teaching to work more closely with students and her content area.
Misty Ebinger (New London, OH) An educator for 21 years, Ebinger teaches history and government courses, as well as a course in Holocaust and Genocide Studies. She serves on the board of Ohio’s Holocaust and Genocide Education Network, representing small, rural school districts.
David Green (Acton, MA) In his 28-year tenure, Green has taught World history, United States history, and Psychology and is in his 8th year as Acton Boxborough Regional High School’s Social Studies chair. After travels to Armenia and the Middle East, Green says he plans to formalize those experiences with new insights from this fellowship.
Leigh-Ann Hendrick (Chautauqua, NY) is the director of the Holocaust and Social Justice Education Program of Chautauqua, a co-founding director of the Chautauqua County Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide, and a US Holocaust Memorial Museum Fellow. As a 24-year social studies teacher, Hendrik says she strives to empower students and educators to take an active role in our shared humanity.
Don Jenkins (Oak Harbor, WA) is a teacher at North Whidbey Middle School. He has been teaching social studies for 30 years and included the Armenian Genocide in his courses on Pacific Northwest history and United States history. Last summer, he traveled to Poland with the Pilecki Institute with teachers from all over the world to learn about the impact of totalitarianism during the 20th century.
Cynthia Martinez (Felton, CA) has been teaching Social Studies for 26 years. She currently teaches 12th-grade Economics & AP Government and 10th-grade World History at San Lorenzo Valley High School. She serves as Social Studies department chair, is leading the creation of her school’s ethnic studies program, and is drafting a GenEd curriculum unit on Armenian Genocide resistance.
Regina Bouroudjian Odishoo (Libertyville, IL) is a special education teacher and certified speech/language pathologist. With a doctorate in Reading, Language, and Literacy, she co-teaches U.S. History and teaches Literacy at Libertyville High School. Her Armenian/Assyrian heritage was the catalyst for incorporating genocide into her curriculum to help students build a more inclusive and accepting society.
Mary Ellen Richichi (Jupiter, FL) teaches Holocaust and Genocide Studies, World Geography, and Global Perspectives, and brought the Holocaust elective course to Independence Middle School. She also runs the Culture Club and the UN Club where her students connect with students around the world in real time.
Jennifer Sepetys (West Bloomfield, MI) teaches AP US Government and Politics, Global Studies of Genocide, and Positive Psychology and serves as Social Studies chair at West Bloomfield High School. She was honored as 2022-23 Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Department of Education for Region 9. Sepetys is pursuing her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at Oakland University.
Katherine Todhunter (Northampton, MA) has been teaching about the history of genocide for twenty-one years at Northampton High School. She is also a History lecturer at Smith College and is the program supervisor for its History student teachers. Todhunter, who has participated in numerous study tours, has a BA in Peace and Global Studies with a focus on Russia and graduate degrees in Geography and International Development and in Education.
Debra Troxell (Winston-Salem, NC) is a National Board Certified Teacher. She teaches AP Human Geography, International Relations, and World History at West Forsyth High School. She also serves as the Social Studies department chair, the District Coordinator for National Boards, and has extensive experience providing professional development training for teachers.
Kristi Ugland (Mt. Pleasant, SC) is an English teacher at Palmetto Christian Academy. She teaches World Literature, AP English Literature, and Senior Thesis Seminar. Ugland has created and taught courses on Holocaust and Genocide History, 20th Century History and Literature, and Collective Memory. She is a US Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher Fellow, works with South Carolina Council on the Holocaust, and holds an MA in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
Emily Wardrop, Ph.D. (Oklahoma City, OK) teaches interdisciplinary studies and several advanced topic history seminar courses (including a Genocide seminar) at Casady School. In addition to teaching, Emily serves as the History department chair, a member of the school’s Academic Leadership team, and as a co-advisor to Casady’s Youth in Government club.
Michael Xiarhos (Warwick, RI) teaches Philosophy, Genocide Studies, and AP Psychology at Pilgrim High School. He also teaches Theological Studies at Salve Regina University. Xiarhos has degrees in Education, Modern European History, and Philosophy. He has written several articles for academic journals on ethics, religion, and the importance of student travel and has taken students to more than 20 countries during his 19-year teaching career.