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Educator Institute


JUNE 1-2, 2022

The Heritage Foundation's 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 2022 Summer Education Institute, "Crossroads: A People's Perspective" brings together educators from all over Williamson County and Middle Tennessee. This cross-curricular two-day event includes breakout sessions, lectures, tours of historic sites in Franklin, workshops, and an archaeological field school conducted from leading experts in the fields of history, political science, and education.

Educators will be immersed in an engaging learning environment allowing for networking with other educators, visiting scholars, and learn more about the historic topics taught in the classroom while acquiring innovative teaching methods and ideas to better engage their students. Our Summer Educator Institute is designed to inspire you - our educators - to learn, lead, and leave with tools that equip you for the classroom. We hope each of you will leave our Summer Educator Institute with a deeper understanding of history, a passion for history education, and a network of colleagues who are ready to work with you in and out of the classroom.

Our 2nd Summer Educator Institute is free. At the end of the event, educators will be offered 12 hours of professional development, offered by the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN. To receive those hours, educators must attend both days.

Registration will begin mid-March - stay tuned! If you have questions, please contact Senior Director of Preservation and Education Rachael Finch.


Teachers, please click to reserve your space.

Museum Educators

Museum Educators, please click to reserve your space.

Event Schedule - Day One


Light Breakfast & Registration

8:00-8:15 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

8:15 – 9:15 AM

Session I

9:15 – 10:15 AM

Sesson II

9:15-11:15 AM

Optional Walking Tour with Franklin Walking Tours

10:15 – 10:30 PM


10:30 – 11:30 AM

Workshop I

11:30 – 1:00 AM

Lunch in Downtown Franklin

1:00 – 2:15 PM

Session III (Keynote)

2:15-3:15 PM

Workshop II

3:30-4:30 PM

Workshop III - Reflective Q and A

Courageous Conversations: A Candid Look at Classroom Instruction

4:30-4:45 PM

Wrap Up & Announcements for Day Two

Featured Speakers

Director of Equitable Partnerships, Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery

Lecture: "Teaching Freedom: The Journey to Jubilee"

National Park Service Park Ranger and historian at the Civil War Defenses of Washington

Steve T. Phan is a Park Ranger and serves as the Chief of Interpretation at Camp Nelson National Monument. He recently served as the historian at the Civil War Defenses of Washington. He has also worked at Gettysburg National Military Park, Richmond National Battlefield Park, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, Stones River National Battlefield, Rock Creek Park, and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument. A military history scholar of the Civil War era, Phan’s research focuses on military occupation, operational command, African American soldiers and refugees, 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 in 2019 and 2020. He holds a master’s degree in American History from Middle Tennessee State University.

Professor, Columbia State Community College

Assistant Dean for Graduate Education and Strategic Initiatives, Vanderbilt University

Workshop - "Supporting Students in the Collection of Oral Histories"

Lecture: "The Fort Negley Descendants Project: Capturing the echoes of Civil War & Reconstruction through Oral Histories, Archaeology, and Preservation Work"


Assistant Dean for Graduate Education and Strategic Initiatives
College of Arts & Science
Research Assistant Professor
Assistant Director, Mellon Partners for Humanities Education
Director, Fort Negley Descendants Project

Professor of Communication, Jandoli School Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs: St. Bonaventure University

  • Managing Editor of the Emerging Civil War book series, published by Savas Beatie, LLC
  • Managing Editor and Co-Founder of the blog Emerging Civil War (
  • 2014 finalist for the Library of Virginia's Award in Nonfiction for Chancellorsville's Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church
  • 2014 finalist for the Army Historical Foundations' Distinguished Book Award Chancellorsville's Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church
  • 2013 recipient of the Faculty Excellence Award for Research and Publication
  • 2007 Public Radio News Directors Inc. Award for Best Commentary
    • awarded for “Elvis is Real” commentary, which aired in August 2006 on WBFO.
  • 2005 St. Bonaventure University Junior Faculty Award for Professional Excellence
  • 1995’s Best Newscast from the AP
  • Recognized by the Associated Press and the Maine Association of Broadcasters for his work, including awards for spot news and continuous news coverage, feature reporting, and public service.

Director, Williamson County Archives

Alicia King Marshall, Franklin Walking Tours

Alicia King Marshall is a longtime walking tour guide and owner of Franklin Walking Tours. She’s the history nerd often seen leading field trips in costume by day or telling ghost stories by night. She credits the town for providing a wealth of material, explaining, “Franklin has such a wild past. Making history fun is easy with our cast of characters and remarkable stories.”

A longtime parent volunteer, both of her children attended Franklin schools. She’s an award-winning writer and veteran game show contestant, living by the mantra "carpe diem"!



What is the date and time of the summer Educator Institute?

June 1, 2022 from 8:00-4:30 and June 2, 2022 from 9-3. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. Sessions will begin on day one at 8:00 a.m. and will go throughout the day until 4:30. Day 2 sessions will be conducted in the field (more information to come).

Who can attend the summer Educator Institute?

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

  • Active Middle School and High School educators and administrators of all disciplines. This year's institute is designed with cross-curricular collaboration in mind to bring historical relevance into disciplines outside of more than just the social studies curriculum.
  • Full-time Historic Sites and Museum Education professionals
  • Librarians

To preserve the integrity of a robust professional development experience, members of the public who are not classroom educators are not permitted to attend.

Will there be social distancing and mask requirements?

We will closely follow CDC guidance according to current trends.

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 will open mid-March. If there is room, we will accept onsite registrations on Wednesday, June 1.

What is the cost of registration?

This year's event is free for all classroom and museum educators. We greatly appreciate any donations made at the time of registration or at the event to help continue our local education initiatives.

How do I attend?

Follow the links at the top of the page depending on type of educator.

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 are 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. Day Two will be a rotating schedule of field work and hands-on workshops, which are difficult to capture virtually.

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.

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 there 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 2022 professional development certificates?

You have until August 15, 2022, to request your Professional Development certificate. We will not process any requests for the 2021 Summer Educator Institute after August 15, 2022.