Portrait by Janelle Kieffer Photography
My entire life has been devoted to improving American democracy and public education. Here’s a little about me and my passion:
I was born in Middletown, Ohio in 1973. My entire childhood took place in southwest Ohio with two blue-collar parents. Dad worked in a steel mill for 31 years. Mom was a fast-food worker and public school bus driver.
Teachers and coaches have been blessings in my life. I remember several of them with fondness and a sense of gratitude. I was the first in my family to attend college, graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education.
My career began as a public high school teacher at Franklin Monroe Local School District in Pitsburg, Ohio, where I taught for ten years. I had a wonderful time teaching social studies, including courses on U.S. and world history, American government, economics, world religions, and current events. I also coached high school and junior high basketball and served as a student council advisor. In 1999, my colleagues chose me for the district’s Teacher of the Year award. In 2000, my students selected me as an honorary member of the school’s National Honor Society. The same year, I earned a master’s degree in Social Studies Education from Miami University.
I married my wife, Christa, in 2004, and we moved to Iowa City in 2006. Three years later, I earned a Ph. D. in Social Studies Education from the University of Iowa, specializing in curriculum and supervision as well as the historical foundations of education. This led to an assistant professor position at Ohio Northern University where I was happy …. then Winona State University’s College of Education called me for an interview in 2013. I now happily serve as a teacher educator in the College of Education at Winona State University where I get the opportunity to work closely with hundreds of our nation’s teacher candidates each year.
Christa and I have four children: Lani, Wilt, Swin and Myrene. We love being our children’s parents! In my spare time I enjoy reading, writing, and basketball. I’m a diehard Philadelphia 76ers fan – and have been since my childhood.