Skip to main content



My name is Susan Anauo. I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, lived and worked in Nashville, Tennessee, andfor the past 20 years have been a resident of Hickory, North Carolina.  My husband and I are empty nesters who enjoy travel, SEC football, family time with our sons and daughter-in-law, and enjoying the outdoors. I have taught middle school Language Arts for the past 12 years in Catawba County, 10 of those at River Bend Middle School (seventh grade). Bringing a world view and accurate background knowledge to my students is very important to me, so I find myself sharing historical and cultural stories with them often. I look forward to collaborating with educators who are also striving to enlighten students on our civil rights progress (as well as areas where we still need to make strides).


I am Seth Ashburn, a teacher at Cary High School in Wake County. I teach Civics & Economics, Sociology, and AP Capstone Seminar.  I was born and raised in Raleigh, NC, and I enjoy working in a school system that was instrumental in my education. I’m interested in having students recognize that while there are many great aspects of the current education system, there are disturbing cycles and predictable outcomes based on race and class.  My hope is to enact a meaningful disruption to these outcomes.  I unwind by cooking at the North Carolina Museum of Art as well as for friends and family as much as possible.



My name is Brantley Barrow. I’m originally from New Bern, North Carolina and graduated from NC State in 2010. With a background in History and Political Science, I began my teaching career in Pitt County at DH Conley High School where I met my amazing wife across the hall. I currently teach Civics & Economics, Current Events, and US History. Outside of school, I enjoy staying active with playing golf and water sports. My number one goal as an educator is to help my students learn the value of civic understanding and participation. Studying the history and function of our government is an incredible weapon against corruption and the status quo political gridlock of Raleigh and Washington. I look forward to working with colleagues from around the state through this program to continue this important cause.



My name is Amy Burger. I am originally from Lancaster, PA. I graduated from University of Pittsburgh with a BA and West Virginia University with an MA. I moved to Rocky Mount, NC in the summer of 2016 to teach Civics and Economics and US History at North Edgecombe High School in Edgecombe County. This was my first year teaching. I teach my students to believe in themselves and have high hopes. Outside of the classroom I enjoy Pittsburgh Penguin Hockey and being outdoors. I am excited about this program and look forward to collaborating with teachers from across the state.




My name is Beth Lowry.  I am an eighth grade teacher of English/Language Arts and Social Studies at Pilot Mountain Middle School in Surry County. A graduate of Meredith College with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Studies and Appalachian State University with a Master’s degree in Middle Grades Education, I have taught in the middle grades for nineteen years. I appreciate the opportunity to instill my passion for literature, writing, and history into the minds of young adolescent students, and hope that they emerge from the school year feeling connected to the content, engaged in the learning process and inspired by ideas. I live in Mount Airy with my two sons who are ten and eight years old.  When I am not shuttling the boys to sports practices and games, I enjoy writing and reading and taking care of our thirteen year old Jack Russell and seven month old Havanese puppy (We also have two cats). I look forward to learning more about oral history and its ability to provide powerful and tangible access to the civil rights movement; collaborating with professionals across the state; and transferring that knowledge into engaging, creative lesson plans that will benefit young learners.


I’m Brandy Chappell, the AIG (Academically Intellectually Gifted) Specialist at Martin Millennium Global Academy in Edgecombe County, where I teach K-8 STEAM and AIG. I’ve also taught American Literature, Journalism and Creative Writing at the high-school level. I have a degree from Salem College in Winston-Salem in English and Creative Writing.  Tarboro, NC is where I call home, with my two daughters, Molly (10) and Mary Samuel (12), three pups (Sam, Sophie, and Max), chickens and a vegetable garden.  I am a staunch Civil Rights activist and have marched and continue to march for civil rights. I am honored to share this opportunity with colleagues from across our fine state.



My name is Charmain Gibson. I am native to Raeford, North Carolina. My career began in Hoke County at West Hoke Hoke Middle School 17 years ago where I’m blessed to teach Social Studies and English Language Arts. During these dynamic years, I’ve also had opportunities to teach college and career ready courses at Sandhills Community College and facilitate adult cognitive behavioral classes for the County of Moore. I call Vass home because it’s where two teens fuel my motivations and my heroic husband lifts my wings. When time provides, I indulge in movies and chocolate. I intentionally teach the “whole student” and treasure opportunities to facilitate a love for life-long learning. To continue important investments in our students, I must consciously invest in my own knowledge. I seek new avenues of engaging and empowering students beyond their perceived limits. With much excitement, I look forward to collaborating with curious minds from around our state.


My name is Chris Zwetz, but most people call me “Z” – it’s easier to spell!  I have a diverse background, starting out in the midwest and making it to Carolina two years ago.  I’m an Eagle Scout, class of ’72, and a Marine Corps veteran.  This is my 13th year teaching, but only my second in North Carolina.  I am at the “alternative Middle-school” in Burke County, where I teach ELA, Science, and Social Studies with two other teachers.  U.S. History is my passion, but my degree say’s “Prairie Ecologist.”  I have had the pleasure of working with Illinois State University’s CeMaST, creating NGSS lessons for teachers, and “turning around” an under-achieving middle school.  2009 – 2010, we were one of NASSP’s “top 10 most improved middle schools” in the country!  I look forward to bringing this kind of passion to the children of Burke County; they need to learn to think.  I am the proud husband (35 years) of a “native Carolinian,” and we have two grown sons, ages 30 and 26.  I love being kilted, and I build canoes and kayaks, for fun!


My name is Davis Harper. I’m originally from Henderson, N.C., and completed my undergraduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011. There, I double majored in journalism and history. After college I spent four years in New York City working in a variety of journalism-related jobs. In 2015, I moved back to my home state and enrolled in the Duke Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program for the 2016-17 academic year, with a focus in social studies. I completed my student teaching at Durham School of the Arts and Hillside High School, teaching Civics and World History to high schoolers. I will be working in Durham Public Schools (Durham County) in the fall, most likely at the secondary level. I believe, as William Faulkner put it, that the past is never dead; it isn’t even past. Thus in my teaching, I want to cast a spotlight on those narratives from history that not only enliven their time and place, but also help students better understand where they stand in the broader historical context.


My name is Elaina Wingfield. I graduated from Salem College in 2009 with a BA in history, and from UNCG in 2011 with a MALS. My career in teaching began in Pitt County 3 years ago and I am proud to still be among its awesome staff, where I teach middle school ELA and social studies. I teach with energy and a passion for history that encourages my students to become active citizens in our often chaotic world. My husband and I live with our amazing son in Grimesland, N.C. where we’re active in our church and the Autism Society of North Carolina. Outside the classroom I enjoy writing, watching my son grow, and spending time outside with our many pets.



My name is Iris Robinson. I am from Williamsburg, Virginia. I moved to North Carolina after being accepted into the NC TEACH program at NC State University. I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006 with a Bachelor in Arts. I majored in History due to my love of learning about my family’s heritage. As an educator, I pride myself in making Social Studies a fun and meaningful class. I incorporate investigative and collaborative activities that allow students to learn beyond their comfort levels. It is important for me to challenge my students as they grow into young adults. Personally, I am someone who loves to read, bowl and spend time with my family. Family is everything to me!


My name is Jen Painter.  I’m originally from East Tennessee and have taught in North Carolina for sixteen years.  I teach English as a Second Language and sheltered World History and Civics and Economics at Jordan High School in Durham.  Outside of school, I enjoy studying languages and advocating for strong public schools.  I’m excited for the seminar’s focus on oral histories.  I teach bilingual and bicultural students, and I want them to see their own experiences and histories as invaluable to their learning and to that of their peers. Studying the oral histories of those who used their voices to individually and collectively resist oppression is a powerful way to start that process.



My name is Jesi Knowles-Brock, and I have been an Eastern North Carolina girl my entire life.  In 2006, I graduated from ECU as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and started my career in Wayne County.  For the past 5 years, I have been proud to be a staff member at Mount Olive Middle School in my home town where I currently teach 8th grade Language Arts.  In 2012, I achieved National Board Certification.  Every day I strive to help students find the joy and passion in reading as they grow and learn new skills.  At home, I stay on the go with my wonderful husband and two active sons.  I look forward to the abundance of resources that will be shared in this program including historical documents and first-hand experiences.  I cannot wait to bring these back to share with my students!



I am Jesse Wharton and I have lived most of my life in North Carolina.  My parents moved from South Carolina just in time for me to begin kindergarten in NC public schools, where I’ve received all of my education since: first Polk County Schools (where I later taught), then graduating high school from NCSSM, undergraduate from UNC, and graduate from Western.  I returned to teach in NC public schools in 2008 after working as an outdoor instructor for several years across the country.  The skills I gained working in experiential education and traveling have been invaluable in the classroom. For ten years I’ve integrated my language arts curriculum with all disciplines as I work to create authentic learning experiences for my students. Today I teach 7th and 8th grades at Evergreen Community Charter School in Asheville.  My family and I live in a log cabin outside of town and spend lots of time playing outdoors.  I am excited to work with gifted educators in the Carolina Oral History program and bring new learning back to my students.


My name is Kelli Kidwell.  I was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, until I left for the College of William and Mary in 1994 to major in English and history.  My mom was a principal, and told me to make “good and sure” teaching was what I wanted to do before I chose it as a career path.  I moved to Raleigh, NC after graduation, and after a year of working in a law office, decided teaching was in fact what I wanted to do.  I applied to the NC Teach program and received my teaching license through NC Central. I taught in Wake County for eight years before moving to Wilmington to attend a graduate program at UNCW for English.   I have been teaching in New Hanover County since 2006.  Teaching is in my blood; I love to teach English Literature to my 8th graders mixed with current and historic events to give context and depth.  I want to disturb students’ universes by challenging them with new information about ways of thinking, and I want them to become compassionate and sensitive human beings.  When I’m not teaching, I love to read, spend time at the beach, walk my pup, travel to as many places as I can, and to sample and discuss craft beer.   I look forward to meeting fellow educators and having my own universe disturbed by gleaning new information through this experience.



My name is Reginald Smith. I’m native to Eastern NC (Kenansville, NC) and made our home here in Durham, NC.  I completed undergraduate studies at North Carolina Central University and graduate studies at the University of Delaware in the early 1980s.  My career in education began as an administrator for a decade and later as an Assistant Dean of a school. I currently teach English Language Arts and Individuals and Societies at Shepard IB Magnet Middle School in Durham, NC.  Away from the classroom I enjoy cooking, landscaping, working out, and meeting and getting to know people. Recent experiences have confirmed the critical need of all citizens to support and encourage young people past their levels of discomfort.



My name is Quan Stewart. I’m originally from Bennettsville, SC and moved to North Carolina in 2010. The years between graduating from Morris College in 2003 and my entry into the classroom in 2013 has been in private industry and church ministry. My career began in Brunswick County Schools with two years at Shallotte Middle School in 6th grade Social Studies, one year at Brunswick County Academy, and now at North Brunswick High School. Go Scorps! At North, I teach World History and Honors World History. In the upcoming year, I anticipate teaching Honors Civics & Economics, World History, and AVID. Teaching history is a powerful transformative work that allows learners to apply the historical in a practical manner to effect change. But the teacher must reach student empathy to cure apathy. I am excited to take part in this program and look forward to collaborating with colleagues from around the state.


My name is Stacey Eckard and I was born and raised in Hickory, North Carolina. I have taught at three schools in my ten years of teaching – one middle school in Alexander County, a high school in Iredell-Statesville, and am currently at Hickory Career and Arts Magnet in Catawba County. I teach World History, American History I, and American History II. My teaching philosophy is simple: to engage students by making history a story. When I am not teaching, I am hiking, listening to live music, or just exploring new areas and towns. I look forward to this session and finding new ways to involve the students in my class.



My name is Wendy Kyro.  I am a special education teacher/case manager at Freedom High School in Burke County.  I teach OCS English and OCS History.  This is my first year teaching at the high school level.  I taught K-2 for several years and then went on to a self-contained middle school classroom where I taught all subject areas. I live in Morganton, NC with my husband of 26 years, our youngest son, two dogs, two cats and some fish. I’m looking forward to meeting my colleagues from all over the state this summer and bringing back lots of ideas!




My name is Nonya Chesney. I am a lifelong North Carolina resident. I have been teaching for 17 years. I currently teach in Moore County at Southern Middle School. I teach a reading remediation class called READ 180 and I love it! I enjoy reading, horror movies, eating out and relaxing by a pool! I am married with three swell children and two spectacular grandkids! I am so looking forward to learning and collaborating on the subject of Civil Rights.






Hello!  My name is Michele Nease and I am thrilled to be selected in the first cohort of the Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellows.  I started teaching in Durham Public Schools in 1995 at Hillside High School.  I have taught Civics and all middle grades social studies.  I also helped to create a new Humanities curriculum for 8th graders at Voyager Academy Charter School, where I currently teach 8th grade. Being a teacher has taught me many skills and given me experience which cannot be duplicated.  My philosophy about life (which is what teaching is all about) is to never stop learning and value your mistakes, because they are what drive you to success.