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Educator Institute



Summer Education Institute is an immersive, experiential professional development program, designed to provide social studies teachers an opportunity to engage with nationally-recognized scholars in research, critical analysis, and study at the Heritage Foundation.

The 2021 Summer Education Institute is entitled Finding Freedom, Building Community which will involve concentrated immersion in the African American experience, cemented in the Civil War and its legacies, and fostering the impassioned exchange of ideas among the scholars and educators.

In partnership with the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

Sponsored by Twine Graphics and The Harpeth Hotel.


Teachers Please Click to Reserve your Space


Members of Heritage Foundation, Franklin Theatre, or Downtown Franklin Association Please Register Here

General Admission

Cultural Institution Educators, Librarians, etc. Please Register Here

Christy Coleman - Director, Jamestown - Yorktown Foundation

Coleman, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Hampton University, began her career at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, eventually serving as director of interpretive programs development and overseeing all programming and tours in the historic area. In 1999, she became president and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. She was named president and CEO of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar in Richmond in 2008.

In 2013, Coleman helped orchestrate the merger of the American Civil War Center with the Museum of the Confederacy to create the American Civil War Museum, which is located in Richmond and Appomattox. Coleman has been recognized for striving to make museum experiences meaningful to diverse communities and being an innovative leader in the history museum field. Earlier this year, Time magazine featured Coleman on a list of “31 People Who Are Changing the South.” A native of Williamsburg, Va., holds a master’s degree in museum studies from Hampton University and has been a member of numerous organizations, including the African American Association of Museums, the American Alliance of Museums and the Association for State and Local History where she was also a Council member.

As the director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Coleman continues the process of telling a more comprehensive story of our nation’s 17th- and 18th-century beginnings. The recently completed American Evolution commemoration focused nationwide attention on the intersection of English, African and Native cultures in early Virginia and their impact on modern America. Coleman capitalizes on these successes with the aim of bringing Jamestown, Yorktown and their rich stories and legacies to much broader national and international notice and influence.

Brigette Jones - Curator, Social History Tennessee State Museum

Jones is the curator of social history for the Tennessee State Museum. Her works to preserve and interpret the vast social histories of the many diverse cultures that inhabit the state of Tennessee, include but are not limited to, African American history, Latino history, and Middle Eastern history. Jones is a Memphis native and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2019, she gained certification through the National Association of Interpretation and the Smithsonian Institute: National Museum of African American History and Culture to become an official interpreter of the African American experience. Most recently, she served as Director of African American Studies for the Belle Meade Plantation Museum in Nashville.

Steve T. Phan - Acting Chief of Interpretation, Education, & Visitor Services - Camp Nelson National Monument

Phan is a Park Ranger and Historian at the Civil War Defenses of Washington. He served as the acting Chief of Interpretation at Camp Nelson National Monument and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument. He has worked at Richmond National Battlefield Park, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Stones River National Battlefield, and Rock Creek Park. A military history scholar of the Civil War era, Phan’s research focuses on military occupation, operational command, and fortifications during the Civil War. He is the author of articles about Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Civil War and the Defenses of Washington for numerous publications. He was nominated for the National Park Service Tilden Award for Excellence in Interpretation (2019). He holds a master’s degree in American History from Middle Tennessee State University.

Learotha Williams, Jr., PHD. - Professor of History & Public History - Tennessee State University

Dr. Williams is a scholar of African American, Civil War and Reconstruction, and Public History at Tennessee State University. At TSU, he teaches courses that explore Civil War and Reconstruction history, African Americans in Public Memory, Black Politicians, Civil Rights, 20th Century Black Intellectuals, African Americans in Tennessee, Slavery and Emancipation in Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Williams has worked as a Historic Sites Specialist for the State of Florida, acted as coordinator for the African American Studies Program at Armstrong Atlantic State University, and served as a trustee of the Historic Savannah Foundation in Savannah, Georgia.

At TSU, he coordinates the North Nashville Heritage Project, an effort that seeks to encourage a greater understanding of the history of North Nashville, including but not limited to Jefferson Street and its historic relationship to the greater Nashville community.

Bradley Boshers - Director, Williamson County Archives

Bradley Boshers is the director of Williamson County Archives in Franklin, Tennessee. A proud graduate of Brentwood High School, Boshers holds a Masters of Arts in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University with an emphasis in archives and museum management, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Abilene Christian University. His work experience includes Metro Nashville Archives and Rutherford County Archives. His areas of interest are genealogy, local history, archival preservation, and records management.

Event Schedule



8:30 – 9:00 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:00 – 9:45 AM

Session One: Who Knows Their Local History

Bradley Broshers, Williamson County Archivist

9:45 – 10:45 AM

The Past in the Present: Artifacts as Primary Sources

Brigette Jones, Tennessee State Museum

11:00 – Noon

Keynote: How Shall We Remember?

Christy Coleman, Jamestown & Yorktown Foundation

1:00 – 2:00 PM

Session Two: Turning Students into History Detectives: Finding Freedom, Untold Stories of the Civil War and Reconstruction

Steve Phan, Camp Nelson National Monument

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Session Three: Understanding Black Citizenship in the Era of Jim Crow

Dr. Lea Williams, Tennessee State University

3:15 – 4:15 PM

Lightning Round Breakout Session with Scholars

4:15 – 5:00 PM

Tour of Franklin Grove & Downtown Franklin

(weather dependent)


What is the date and time of the summer educator institute?

Saturday, June 12, 2021. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. Sessions will begin at 8:45 a.m. and will go throughout the day until 4:15.

Who can attend the summer educator institute?

This event is primarily intended for social studies educators, but we also invite the following professionals to attend:

Active Middle School and High School Social Studies educators and administrators.

Full-time Historic Sites and Museum Education professionals.


Will there be social distancing and mask requirements?

Yes, social distancing will be in place to ensure ongoing guidelines are followed and masks are encouraged.

Do I need to register for the event?

Yes, you must register to attend the Summer Educator Institute.

When does pre-registration open for the event?

Registration is open. If there is room, we will accept onsite registrations on Saturday, June 12th.

What is the cost of registration?

It is free for all middle and high school educators and $35.00 for all museum educators and librarians.

How do I attend?

If you are an social studies educator, register online at 

If you are a museum educator or librarian, register online at

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email.

Is there free parking in Downtown Franklin?

Yes, there is free parking in downtown Franklin. We have two free parking garages located on 2nd Ave. South and 4th Ave. South. All day free parking is also available on the side streets in the historic neighborhoods, just a short walk to the Theatre. There is inexpensive paid parking lots off of Main Street at 4th and Main and 5th and Main.

Will food and drinks be provided?

All breakfast items and snacks as well as coffee, teas, and waters will be provided by the Heritage Foundation. Lunch will be on your own in downtown Franklin. We will provide maps of downtown Franklin for all attendees.

Are you recording the sessions?

At this time, we do not plan to record the entire Summer Educator Institute.

Can I receive a professional development certificate for attending the summer educator institute?

Yes, please contact our office directly for your Professional Development Certificate at

Is there a minimum number of sessions I must attend to receive a professional development certificate?

Yes. Any participant requesting a Professional Development credit or certificate must attend the entire Summer Educator Institute to qualify for the certificate. However, attending the walking tours is not required to receive your certificate.

How long do I have to wait to receive my 2021 professional development certificate?

Professional development certificates will be sent to the email address that you provided by mid-September of 2021.

Do I have to pay for my own professional development certificate?

No, the cost of the certificate will be covered by the Heritage Foundation.

How do I know if my school district will accept the professional development certificate?

It is your responsibility to confirm with your school district they received your Professional Development Certificate. The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County only facilitates the issuance of the professional development certificate. The application of the certificate is up to each individual, school, and school district.

Are these full college credit hours for attend the summer educator institute?

No. The Summer Educator Institute does not apply towards any continuing education, including undergraduate or graduate hours, and cannot be applied towards a college degree program.

How long do I have to request my 2021 professional development certificates?

You have until August 15, 2021, to request your Professional Development certificate. We will not process any requests for the 2021 Summer Educator Institute after August 15, 2021.