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Dr. Taylor-Thoma is the Coordinator for Social Studies at the Maryland State Department of Education. She holds advanced degrees in education, administrative policy, curriculum development, and TESOL and has just recently completed her doctoral studies at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She has teaching experience at a variety of levels from elementary through college. She has served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Maryland, Towson University and Salisbury University. Ms. Thoma presents nationally and internationally and has held leadership positions in numerous professional organizations, including the Maryland Council for Social Studies, Middle States Social Studies Council, Maryland Geographic Alliance, National Council for Social Studies and the Council for State Social Studies Supervisors. Ms. Thoma coordinates the Center for Civic Education's The Citizen and the Constitution…We the People, Project Citizen and Russia@Civitas programs in Maryland. She also is regional coordinator of Civics Mosaic I and II partnering with Russia and Armenia.
Valerie Johnson is a Social Studies Literacy Specialist. Before her role at MSDE she was a social studies teacher in the Baltimore City Public Schools. While teaching she was also a district wide literacy academy facilitator, on her school leadership team, a Teaching American History grant participant and professional development leader. In 2010 she achieved National Board Certification in Early Adolescence Social Studies/History. Valerie also serves as a School Violence Demonstration Prevention Program and Project Citizen District Coordinator with the Center for Civic Education. As a Social Studies Literacy Specialist at MSDE she is responsible for assisting social studies teachers in the transition to the Common Core State Standards.
Donna Olszewski is a Social Studies Specialist. Prior to joining MSDE in January of 2005, Donna worked in the Baltimore City Schools for 32 years as a classroom teacher, reading teacher, Instructional Support Teacher and Elementary Social Studies Specialist. She participated in numerous curriculum-writing projects for Baltimore City. She was one of the original writers for the Social Studies State Curriculum for MSDE. As a Social Studies Specialist at MSDE, Donna continues to work on the development of the State Curriculum and leads a team of writers in the creation of the ToolKit, a resource for teachers of social studies. She is also a District Coordinator for the We The People Program.
Jonathan Willis is a Social Studies Literacy Specialist. Prior to joining MSDE in November, 2012 Jonathan taught in the Baltimore City Schools for 6 years as a high school English teacher, and preceded this as Family Programs Director at Beth El Schools in Baltimore. He worked on numerous curriculum development and student support projects. As a Social Studies Literacy Specialist at MSDE, Jonathan continues to further the development of Maryland students' literacy by supporting educators as they increase their familiarity and facility using substantive text in the classroom.