Grace Leatherman has an extensive background in history education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history, with honors, and a master’s degree in history from the University of Delaware before teaching history in the Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools. From 2013 to 2019, she served as the Maryland History Day Outreach Coordinator at Maryland Humanities, where she provided professional development to teachers and created teacher and student resources in partnership with the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Source Consortium and Maryland Public Television.
Grace has served as Executive Director of NCHE since 2019 and has been honored to work with staff on two fantastic online conferences and a wide variety of learning experiences for educators.
Sarah Drake Brown earned her PhD in curriculum studies from Indiana University. A former high school teacher in Chicago’s western suburbs, Sarah holds an MA in history from Purdue and a BA in history from Illinois State University. She was a faculty member at Florida State University and most recently at Ball State University where she served as Director of History/Social Studies Education.
Sarah’s most recent work with practicing teachers focuses on how they understand history as a discipline and how this understanding relates to their teaching, use of assessment, and engagement in civic education. A member of NCHE since the 1990s, Sarah has participated as an education specialist in NCHE colloquia and served on the Board of Directors. She joined NCHE as Associate Director in July 2021.
John Csepegi has been the Director of Conferences & Events for the National Council for History Education (NCHE) since September 2007. He started working for NCHE in January 2007 as a Project Manager for the Teaching American History grant program. In addition to planning the annual National Conference, he has also been the Director of Memberships since June 2013.
John is happily married to Kate and together they have two pugs, Morgan and Bailey. He was born and raised in Madison, Ohio and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Bowling Green State University, with a focus on Secondary Social Studies.
Laura Wakefield earned her B.S. in Political Science/Social Studies Education from Florida State University and a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Central Florida as a James Madison Fellow. A National Board-Certified history teacher, she taught in the School District of Osceola County, Florida and at Florida Virtual School. She was recognized as the National Middle School Social Studies Teacher of the Year in 1995 and was trained as one of the first American Memory Fellow’s by the Library of Congress.
Laura authored and directed three separate Teaching American History (TAH) grants. She has served NCHE since 2004, first as a Master teacher providing professional development for history teachers, and then as a member of the Board of Directors. Laura joined NCHE’s staff full time in December 2019.
Matt Missias earned his PhD in curriculum, teaching, and educational policy with a specialization in social studies education from Michigan State University in 2017 where his research focused on how social studies teachers imagine their practice as they transition from student to in-service teaching. He began his career as a secondary social studies teacher in a Northern Michigan school district where he taught courses ranging from Humanities to US History. His work with his students reflected his passion for authentic inquiry practices and was based on developing encounters that met students through the lens of their own experiences.
Since 2006, he has been working with pre-service and in-service teachers in developing practices that support high quality social studies teaching and learning, through university teaching and research, as well as consulting with schools and other stakeholders. In addition to NCHE, he has been active in professional organizations like the National Council for Social Studies and you'll find his work in professional journals or at state or national conferences. Matt was appointed Education Coordinator for NCHE in March 2020.