November 11, 2019

Kelly Interviewed on Launch of Spotsylvania Future Educators Program

College of Education Dean Pete Kelly

College of Education Dean Pete Kelly

College of Education Dean Pete Kelly was interviewed for a Free Lance-Star article entitled “Spotsylvania Future Educators Academy hopes to empower students to meet the teacher shortage.” It describes a new program launched in Spotsylvania County Public Schools this year that gives students from all five Spotsylvania high schools the opportunity to learn more about child development, teaching and lesson planning. The program also gives students hands-on experience helping out in Spotsylvania elementary and middle school classrooms, and the opportunity to visit teacher education programs at the University of Mary Washington and Shenandoah University in Winchester. Read more. 


Causarano to Give Free Lecture on “Race and Education in Fascist Italy,” Oct. 11

Antonio Causarano, associate professor of education.

Antonio Causarano, associate professor of education.

Antonio Causarano, associate professor of education, will give a presentation titled “Race and Education in Fascist Italy” about Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s education program. According to The Free Lance-Star, “It will focus on ‘the historical aspects of race in fascist Italy and how the ideology of race was an integral part of the education of fascist youth during the 20 years of fascist regime,’ he said.”  Sponsored by the Fredericksburg-Este Association, the free lecture is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at St. George’s Episcopal Church at 905 Princess Anne St. Read more. 

College of Education Puts Out Call for Proposals for STREAM Conference Oct. 26

The College of Education will host our new STREAM Conference on Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 9 to 1 p.m. STREAM education takes STEM and expands it to include reading and the arts because we know those are other important ways to teach 21st century skills to our students. We are currently putting out a call for proposals for our conference. We are looking for faculty, teachers, administrators, coaches, librarians…anyone who has innovative and engaging ideas they want to share with other educators in the area that use STREAM education to promote 21st century skills in the classroom. Ideas for sessions include using augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, and the design process to enhance teaching and learning in schools.

There will be 3 different types of sessions for which we need presenters:

  • Open sessions – where participants can come in and gets hands-on experience building activities or learning skills with the help of an expert. This is a time to play and explore with new ideas.
  • Workshop – where participants are walked through an activity and leave with something they can take into their classroom. This is more structured than the open session.
  • Presentations – participants can hear about ideas and strategies that are being used in the classroom and how they can integrate them into theirs.

Please share with educators who you believe would be great potential presenters. We are looking for presenters from all different subjects and grade levels. They can go to for more information and to fill out the call-for-presenters form. We will be taking proposals until September 20, 2019. Presenters will be notified by September 27, 2019 if their proposal was accepted for this year’s conference.

Please contact Kristina Peck, Director of Clinical Experiences, at (540) 654-1351 or if you have any questions.


Meadows Provides 3D Design/Printing Workshops in Borneo

George Meadows working with Hutan Education team

George Meadows, professor in the College of Education, recently delivered a series of on-site workshops on 3D printing and design to an Education Team from HUTAN. Headquartered in Sukau, Malaysia, HUTAN is a French NGO that researches Malaysian Borneo wildlife including Oranghutan and Pygmy Elephant. The Education team works with local people, focusing on issues linked to human-wildlife interaction. They hope to use the 3D printer to build models that can be used in their teaching. Meadows has worked with HUTAN several times in the past on both educational issues and technical issues such as the use of video-equipped drones to survey re-forestation efforts.

Russell Named Associate Director of Center for Teaching

A message from UMW Provost Nina Mikhalevsky:

Associate Director of UMW’s Center for Teaching and Associate Professor of Education Victoria Russell

Associate Director of UMW’s Center for Teaching and Associate Professor of Education Victoria Russell

Dr. Victoria Russell has accepted the position of Associate Director of UMW’s Center for Teaching. Victoria is an Associate Professor in the College of Education and former Program Director in Special Education. She received her Ed.D. from George Washington University in Special Education (2005), Master’s degrees in both History (1995) and Curriculum & Instruction (1996) from the College of William and Mary and a B.A. in History from Loyola University New Orleans (1993).

Victoria brings a wealth of professional development experience to this position. She has over 20 years of teaching experience in both K-12 and university settings and was a special education teacher in Maryland public schools. She specializes in inclusive practices and assessment and has had considerable experience thinking through accessible curriculum design and teaching these practices to future teachers. Victoria will be starting in this new position on June 25.

John Broome: Courageous Conversations

College of Education Associate Professor John Broome keeps his worst student course evaluation from his first year at UMW displayed in his office, right beside his teaching award. For him, it’s a constant reminder that he should always strive for improvement as an educator.

College of Education Associate Professor John Broome. Photo by Norm Shafer.

College of Education Associate Professor John Broome. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Broome believes that American educators need to focus their attention on being better teachers to children from all backgrounds. In the classroom, he and his students engage in discussions about race and racism, equity, privilege, implicit bias, youth trauma and poverty to understand the complex web of issues affecting schoolchildren across Virginia and the United States.

“When you have students impacted by these factors, then teaching, learning and classroom environments look different. You have to meet your students where they are with positive expectations for their ability and growth,” said Broome, who has a Ph.D. in education from the University of Virginia, an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from George Mason University and a B.A. in government from The College of William and Mary.

That’s why Broome, whose research focuses on social justice, critical race theory and civic education, was eager to participate in Courageous Conversations, a new video series featuring UMW faculty discussing diversity and inclusion. But he wants his students to think of these topics not as courageous but normalized and present in every classroom.

“We need to work toward having a more open, honest dialogue about the lived and historical experiences of all peoples in our country,” said Broome, who has taught secondary social studies in public and private schools across Virginia. “When more than half of students in our country are Black, Indigenous and People of Color, all students should not just learn more about these histories, but from their own voices as well.”



Q: Are there are any projects you enjoy having your students do?
A: My students enjoy the culture quilt project, in which they divide a poster board into 16 squares like a quilt. They use pictures, words and phrases to explore their family histories, their professional and personal cultural selves and other cultures that are unfamiliar to them. It’s an opportunity for students to self-interrogate, understand who they are and become more accepting of others.

Q: How did you come to direct the Hungry Brains! program at Hazel Hill?
A: I’ve been involved since 2012. It’s an after-school program for economically disadvantaged K-8 students in downtown Fredericksburg that is entirely UMW student-run. It empowers student leadership responsibilities while addressing the academic needs of children in this community. We’ve also helped with fundraising. On Valentine’s Day 2018, my students and I sold candy-grams on UMW’s campus so that Hazel Hill students could open their first savings accounts as part of a financial literacy project. I’ve raised money to help build their library and purchase new technology for the Center.

Associate Professor of Education John Broome with his class. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Associate Professor of Education John Broome with his class. Photo by Norm Shafer.

Q: You encourage your students to use culturally responsive teaching practices. How does that improve learning in the classroom?
A: This centers culture in all aspects of learning. It includes having high expectations of all students; being more student-centered; becoming more culturally competent; building the relationships between schools, families and community; learning the contexts of diversity and cultures; and reframing the curriculum. My work is mostly on the curriculum and what it means when students don’t see their multiple identities reflected in what they are learning.

Q: What is one piece of advice you give to aspiring educators to make their classrooms more inclusive?
A: How you teach is often more important than what you teach. You never know what is going on in the life of a child.

Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: My wife inspires me. She was a first-in-family college graduate from a small town in Oregon. Multiple degrees later, she is a dean at another university. She’s absolutely brilliant.

Q: What would you be doing if you were not a professor?
A: I would be an international travel and food writer, a chef or an electronic dance music DJ. In addition to going to EDM shows regularly in D.C. around the United States, my wife and I are traveling to festivals in Holland, Finland and Belgium this year.

Q: What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
A: In college, I had a pet duck named Clyde, who snored when he slept on you. It was adorable.

Q: Are there any mottos that you live by?
A: “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” ~James Baldwin

Q: What books are you reading right now or have you read recently that inspired you?
A: “We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom” by Bettina L. Love, an associate professor at the University of Georgia.


COE Partners to Debut ‘Intelligent Lives’ Documentary

The award-winning documentary Intelligent Lives will premiere on the Fredericksburg campus Thursday, March 7, from noon to 3:30 p.m. in the Hurley Convergence Center Digital Auditorium. A panel discussion will follow the film, which stars three pioneering young adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce.

The documentary is co-hosted by UMW’s College of Education and Gladys H. Oberle School in Fredericksburg. Admission is free, but registration is requested at

“Intelligent Lives is a film to help us better understand the value and potential of the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by challenging our assumptions about intelligence, said COB Dean Peter Kelly. “I am grateful to partner with the Gladys H. Oberle School to share this important learning experience with students, teachers, and educators in the area.”

Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional story of his son Jesse, as the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S.

“People with intellectual disabilities are the most segregated of all Americans,” said Dan Habib, a New Hampshire-based filmmaker who is the documentary’s producer, director and cinematographer. “Only 17 percent of students with intellectual disabilities are included in regular education. Just 40 percent will graduate from high school. And of the 6.5 million Americans with intellectual disability, barely 15 percent are employed.”

Meadows Presents at Leadership Learning Exchange

George Meadows, professor in the College of Education, presented at the Spotsylvania County Schools Leadership Learning Exchange program on June 24. The title of his presentation was “In the Sandbox with Dr. Meadows: Makerspaces, Engineering, Robotics and New Technology for Your Classrooms.”

During the presentation, participants explored several new technologies and Meadows demonstrated and discussed possible applications in education. The technologies included 3-D printers and scanners, alternative input devices, circuitry components such as LittleBits and Circuit Stickers, and physical computing devices such as the Hummingbird board and the Arduino. Meadows also discussed the role of engineering labs/makerspaces and examples of existing educational makerspaces.

UMW Partners with Local Elementary Schools to Tackle Oil Spills

The timer winds down outside Anne E. Moncure Elementary School in Stafford County. Precious seconds tick away while fifth-graders watch with anticipation to see if their creation will clean up oil dumped in a makeshift waterway. “You guys made this. It’s driving around. Be proud,” said Principal Greg Machi, applauding the group crowded around a blue and white inflatable pool, exhorting their motorized sponge-like devices, built from PVC pipe, pool noodles and oil absorbency pads, to soak up the blackish oil dumped in the clear water. “No wonder they call it trial and error,” said 10-year-old Zoe Lenzmeier, as her group’s machine struggles to move through the water. Her group’s machine successfully cleaned up oil, but will need some modifications to move better in the water. University of Mary Washington Professor of Education George Meadows, who oversaw the student testing, deemed all the inventions a success. “They built a remote-control machine with a purpose,” said Meadows, who spearheaded this project through a $2,390 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Professor of Education George Meadows spearheaded a project to teach Stafford elementary school students about oil spills. Photos by Reza Marvashti. Students built machines from PVC pipe, pool noodles, oil absorbancy pads and recycled materials. Students planned and designed their machines over the course of a few weeks. The final phase of the project was testing their machines. More than 300 students were able to test their machines during the last week of school. Meadows partnered with principals and teachers at Anne E. Moncure, Hartwood and Ferry Farm elementary schools and Friends of the Rappahannock to educate more than 300 students about water pollution caused by oil spills before starting the building process. Through the grant, the schools were able to purchase all of the materials and participate in workshops led by educators from Friends of the Rappahannock on watershed, human impact on rivers and oil spills. “I hope they realize that they can make a difference,” said Lowery Pemberton, education coordinator for Friends of the Rappahannock, as she watched the next group test their machine. “And that this motivates them to figure out solutions for themselves.” Students in groups of four to five were given a real-world scenario where they had a $1,000 budget to purchase materials. Then they had about five total hours to build over the course of a few weeks. During the last week of school they tested and observed the machines by simulating an oil spill. “This is what 21st century learning must increasingly be for all students—multifaceted meaningful engagement that builds complex knowledge and skills, that emphasizes collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, and that embraces the importance of iterations to deep, nuanced, and useful understandings,” said Mary Gendernalik-Cooper, dean of the UMW College of Education, who also came to observe the students as they tested their machines. After testing, students returned to their classrooms to discuss, but some students already were planning improvements. “I would probably attach the funnel that turns – that filters the oil into water – to the machine so it doesn’t create drag,” said 10-year-old Seamus Gutierrez, after his machine finishes its test run. “It was hard to control and maybe it was too long because it jammed against the corners.”

UMW Hosts Virginia Education Specialist as Educator-in-Residence

The University of Mary Washington’s College of Education hosted Robert Fugate ’03, an assessment specialist for the Virginia Department of Education, for its 5th annual Educator-in-Residence. He presented as the keynote lecture at the College of Education’s Graduate Research Symposium on Saturday, April 25. 20150425_ UMW Graduate Program Ceremony Fugate’s lecture recounted his experience with UMW’s Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program. With the theme of “The Writing was on the Wall,” Fugate noted that he had first become aware of the program from an announcement posted on the mailroom wall at the middle school where he was an English teacher. Traveling between Richmond and Fredericksburg for two years to complete the program, Fugate attested to how the program rejuvenated his professional spirit and afforded him countless opportunities through which he continues to be energized, challenged and fulfilled. As an assessment specialist in limited English proficiency (LEP), Fugate manages the statewide administration of the English language proficiency assessment testing program and provides technical assistance regarding LEP students’ participation in the Standards of Learning assessments. The Graduate Research Symposium featured more than 40 research projects by current students in the education program and the presentation of several awards. Local chapters of Delta Kappa Gamma recognized two graduates: Holly Perucci for the Initial Licensure Award from Beta Eta Chapter and Stephanie Kobuchi for the Educational Leadership Award from Alpha Tau chapter. The Barbara Bishop Mann (’66) Virginia Educator Award was presented to Julia Gatusso.  This award recognizes a student pursuing elementary licensure with passion and demonstrated leadership, who is committed to teaching in a public elementary school in Virginia. For more information about the symposium and keynote address, contact the College of Education at (540) 654-1290.