Grace Leatherman has an extensive background in history education. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, 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. Since 2013, she served as the Maryland History Day Outreach Coordinator at Maryland Humanities. In this capacity, she worked with over 19,000 students and reached over 1,600 teachers through professional development.
She wrote and implemented grants to fund teacher professional development and, in partnership with Maryland Public Television, the creation of a website to make primary sources accessible to all students, including English Language Learners and those with disabilities. Grace also partnered with Maryland Public Television to build and teach online courses for teachers. In August 2019, Grace was appointed as the Executive Director of the National Council for History Education.
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.