My name is Emily Stolfus, and I am currently a 5th grade Dual Language teacher at Boggy Creek Elementary. I have been teaching Reading, Writing, and Social Studies since 2018. Before this, I worked as a geography teacher at Maru-a-Pula School in Gaborone, Botswana as a Princeton in Africa Fellow. I graduated from Kansas State University in 2017, earning a BS in Elementary Education with a concentration in English for Speakers of Other Languages, a secondary major in International Studies, and minors in Nonprofit Leadership Studies and Spanish. I was also fortunate to participate in teaching abroad programs in Mexico, Chile, and Ecuador! I love to learn about the world and the fascinating people in it! I’m interested in the social justice aspects of education and believe that the classroom is the epicenter of true societal change.
Kathryn Berry teaches 7th grade US History at Kissimmee Middle School in Kissimmee Florida. Originally from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, she graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a BA in Sociology and a BA in Advertising/Public Relations. Kathryn became a teacher to share her passion for life-long learning and make a difference in young people's lives. She is also advisor for Yearbook and Drama Club and participates in school Positive Behavior Initiative Support initiatives. Kathryn believes Social Studies education is critical to develop good citizenship and critical thinking skills.
Cynthia Rieder has been teaching for the School District of Osceola County since 2012. She has taught grades 3-5 and been a Math and Science Coach. She has bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Elementary Education from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. She is pursuing her Masters degree in Educational Leadership at Western Governors University and is a member of the Aspiring Leaders Academy.
Christina Conde-Helman is a Social Studies teacher at Kissimmee Middle School, where she teaches Civics and World History Honors to 7th and 8th grade students. Christina believes in educational equity and has dedicated the last 9 years of her career providing students with unique learning opportunities in which students are engaged in their learning. In addition to being a dedicated teacher, she is also an instructional Mentor, a role in which she supports teachers of all subject areas and grade levels working towards the ultimate goal of providing an optimal learning environment. Christina was recommended for the VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award. And most recently has been recognized as Kissimmee Middle School’s Teacher of the year. Christina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, and an Associate Degree in Childhood Education from The City University of New York.
I am Nicholas Dorsey a 5th grade teacher at Koa elementary. I am 23 years old and from Kissimmee, Florida. I graduated in 2019 from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. This is my first year at Koa and my first year teaching reading, writing, and social studies. In my free time I enjoy watching and coaching sports. I am excited for the opportunity to learn more about social studies curriculum.
Amanda Brown is a Literacy Coach at Harmony Middle School in Osceola County, Florida. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of Florida (Go Gators!), as well as a Master's in Educational Leadership at the American College of Education. Mandi entered the field of education in 2004. Over the years, she has taught both elementary and middle school levels, including Fourth Grade, Reading, Language Arts, World History, and Civics. During her free time, Mandi enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and all things Disney.
My name is Mykael Lawrence and I am a Social Studies Teacher at Kissimmee Middle School in Osceola County, Florida. I was educated in the great state of Pennsylvania where I got my bachelor’s of history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and received my Master’s of Education at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My wife and I moved from the Philadelphia area in 2016 to pursue my dream of teaching! Other than teaching, I love all sports. I played rugby and football in college. I am a huge Philadelphia sports fan, Go Birds! I just recently moved to Celebration, Florida and look forward to starting my 30’s in an exciting new area!
Claris Roman was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She moved to Florida when she was 15 and graduated from Gateway High School in Kissimmee. After high school, Claris attended Valencia College and Columbia College graduating with a degree in psychology. She was a high school Guidance Secretary for 6 years while going to school. She then transitioned to the classroom where she has been for 20 years. Claris is in love with history and her family. She is married to her best friend from high school and 23 years later they have a 16, 14, and 7-year-old. She has been teaching US history for the last 10 years and has loved every minute of it.
I am Heidi Merrill-McDonough. I am from New England but moved to Celebration, Florida in 2002. I hold degrees in Business, Geography and a Master’s Degree in Education. Before entering the field of education, I worked as a Geographer for the government and was President and co-owner of a company called Simply Organized, Inc. This year marks my twentieth year as an educator Throughout my teaching career I have taught in parochial, private and public schools at both the elementary and middle school levels. I currently teach either World History, US History, Civics or a combination depending upon the need each year of the school. I enjoy working with students of all ages and I believe deeply that history education, in particular, is vital to the development of a civilized society and a well-informed future electorate.
I have been married to my wonderful husband for 28 years. We have a biological son and a daughter whom we adopted from China. Our son currently works in sales and our daughter recently graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and is now serving as an officer in the U.S. Army. My passion in life is travelling. I have traveled extensively throughout the world, mostly by backpacking and staying at hostels. If I won a million dollars tomorrow, I think I would continue travelling in that fashion as it presents unique challenges and allows one to experience the cultures and landscape in a more authentic way. I am fortunate to have had many amazing travel experiences. One happy memory that stands out was having a wild, tropical bird land on my shoulder in the Costa Rican rain forest. On the flip side, twice I have had to run away from bomb explosions. In addition to travelling, I also love anything to do with nature, animals, horseback riding, fast cars, classic rock and the old television show, Hazel.
Adrian A. Lugo is the Middle School Social Studies Curriculum Specialist and Content Literacy Resource Teacher for the School District of Osceola County. In his role he blends his outside professional experiences with his passion and knowledge of public relations, journalism, project management, marketing, media, clerical administration, sales, recordkeeping, customer/client service, and more, into the field of education. He was the 2016 Teacher of the Year for Denn John Middle School and has been a highly-rated teacher leader throughout Osceola County leading in-services, curriculum development and pacing, mentoring new teachers and serving in various community outreach activities. He is also a veteran of the US Army.
I am a graduate of Stetson University with a dual degree in Political Science and Sociology with a minor in Latin American Studies. My passion for education eventually led me away from a career as a corporate event planner to undertake this adventure as a U.S. History teacher. I have been blessed to work in my own community for the past six years at Celebration K8 School. When not in the classroom you can still find me at school, on the baseball fields coaching children with special needs through the Challenger Division of Little League Baseball. I am the proud mom of three children who have all attended Osceola County Schools. Prior to Covid learning, when I had time for hobbies, I loved to read, run, and travel to the local beaches to recharge my batteries.
Emily Gilfillan is a civics teacher at Parkway Middle School in Kissimmee, FL. In addition to her teaching duties, she is the coach for Parkway’s Odyssey of the Mind team. She believes that learning history allows for students to become better citizens. Emily holds a BA in American Studies from the College of William & Mary in Virginia and a M.Ed. from Northeastern University in Massachusetts.
I am Tiffany Gibson. I started teaching in 2012 and have been working in Osceola County ever since. My desire to teach came from my love of learning which was instilled within me throughout my academic career. My favorite subject to teach is social studies which led me to join this group! As a child I didn’t get too many opportunities to explore the history that makes our country so unique so I love the chance to explore and learn in this group so I can bring that information and excitement back to my students!
My name is Matt Pelc and I am history teacher at Neptune Middle School in Kissimmee, Florida, where I teach U.S. History to 7th graders and accelerated 6th graders. I was a career changer, coming to teaching at the age of 39 following a decade-long stint as a freelance writer. During that time, my work was published in the Detroit Free Press, Huffington Post, Yahoo, and several other notable publications. Although most thought I would use my writing skills to become an ELA teacher, I wanted to teach the subject I had a passion for, history. During my four years in the classroom, I have established a Student Council group on campus, served on several school committees, and volunteered for leadership roles in the school. I also facilitated the mock election for my school’s students to vote on the 2020 Presidential election. Although many rush away from the teaching profession, I feel it was likely what I should have been doing all along. I enjoy teaching history and making meaningful and long-lasting connections with my students. When not in school, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and watching trains whenever possible. A native of the Detroit suburbs, I relocated to St. Cloud, FL in 2008.
Kristi is from the Lone Star State of Texas. Right out of high school, she decided to pursue a career in travel and worked for American Airlines for 13 years. It was a great time to see the world and learn firsthand about the historical sites she was studying in school. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in History and Political Science and then a few years later with a Master’s in Education Curriculum and Instruction with secondary course work in British History. Her amazing college professors helped foster that love of history and a great way to convey that passion to students. This is her 15th year teaching – 8 in Texas, 7 in Florida. She has taught middle school English/Language Arts, World History, and 5th grade English/Language Arts and Social Studies. She has also served as an Instructional Mentor to new teachers for the past 3 years. Kristi is excited to be part of the NCHE LEAD Program and is eager to share her passion for history with others.
I’m Jermaine James and I teach World History and US History at Discovery Intermediate School in Kissimmee, FL. This is my 10th school year teaching and 13th year overall in education. I have taught mostly at the middle school level. I have also taught at the high school level while in the United Arab Emirates. I’m from a small town called Quincy, FL which is 15 miles outside of Tallahassee, FL. I received my undergraduate degree from Florida State University and master’s degree from Troy University. I’m currently working on my doctorate in education from Capella University. I’m married with four girls. I’m looking forward to the experiences that awaits me in NCHE.
Amber West is a sixth grade World History teacher at St. Cloud Middle School. She began her teaching career at St. Cloud Middle in 2012. Before entering the teaching profession, Amber worked for over eleven years at a municipality in their recreation department. Amber holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health and Human Performance specializing in Fitness Wellness from the University of Florida. In her free time, Amber enjoys spending quality time with her family, watching Hallmark movies, and going to the beach.
My name is Celeste Santiago and I am a 2nd Grade teacher at Mill Creek Elementary. I am originally from The Bronx, New York. I have been teaching for 16 years, 15 in Florida and 1 year in New York. I’ve taught 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade (so far)! I love history and historical fiction and am so happy to be part of this program!
I would like to introduce you to Kris Rodgers, Ed.D. I am the K-12 Gifted Resource Specialist for the School District of Osceola County. I am also the Elementary Resource Teacher for Social Studies. I have been in education for 27 years. I have a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a Master’s Degree in Reading K-12, and a Doctorate in STEM Education for elementary and middle school. I taught Reading at Valencia College for several years. I have a passion for STEM and Gifted children. I love to inspire creativity in young people. I enjoy being creative, I paint, make jewelry, and sew when I have time. I am a martial artist and hold belts in 3 different styles of martial arts including a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
My name is Morghan Cameron and I am a Civics Teacher for the School District of Osceola County, Florida. I am a graduate of Florida State University (’05) and am in my 16th year of teaching. My certifications are in 6-12 Social Science Education and Gifted Education. I am our school’s Social Studies Department Head, was First Year Teacher of the Year in 2005-06, Teacher of the Year in 2014-2015, and have been nominated Teacher of the Year again in 2020-2021. Additionally, I am the Odyssey of the Mind coach for my school and help students expand their creative horizons. In the past, I have held the positions of Soccer Coach, Athletic Director, and Saturday School Coordinator. I absolutely love my career and am a firm believer that all students can learn and will learn from the adults in their life they trust and know believe in them, even when they struggle to believe in themselves.
Teaching is my passion! I have been a second-grade teacher for the past 12 years at Mill Creek Elementary School in Kissimmee, Florida. I enjoy working with students from all different backgrounds and helping to be a part of watching them grow into future community leaders! I believe all students can be successful lifelong learners which is my own personal mantra.
The National Council for History Education provides professional and intellectual leadership to foster an engaged community committed to the teaching, learning, and appreciation of diverse