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Intergenerational Mentorship Among Educators

     As high school teachers with extensive experience teaching a wide variety of social science and religious studies courses, we know how essential it is to good teaching that one finds inspiring mentors. We have been co-teaching about women’s history for nearly a decade and have created a campaign to petition the College Board for an advanced placement (AP) U.S. Women’s History course. The success of this campaign has been directly influenced by colleagues we have worked with to improve our craft and nurture our scholarly interests outside of the classroom. We have been fortunate to have been mentored by two extraordinary women educators, Sr. Fran Tobin and Sue Beltramo, and would like to acknowledge their enormous impact on our growing campaign for a college level women’s history course in high school.

       We have both been deeply inspired by the work of Sr. Fran Tobin, RSCJ. A courageous advocate for women’s rights, Sr. Tobin worked as an immigration lawyer, educator, and social justice advocate for trafficked women throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Our partnership with Sr. Tobin to co-host women’s group conversations for students, teachers and retired educators taught us how secular and lay women can work together to further knowledge about women’s history. Sr. Tobin’s lifelong love of learning has been a constant source of inspiration.

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Kristen & Serene with Sr. Fran Tobin, RSCJ

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Kristen Kelly, Sue Beltramo and Serene Williams 
celebrating Sue’s retirement

Another teacher hero of ours is Sue Beltramo, a beloved high school English teacher who consistently and fearlessly challenged students to do their best work in her classroom. Throughout her incredible teaching career, Sue mentored countless students and colleagues and for two decades was a widely respected leader of our inclusive multigenerational Women’s Group. As Sue Beltramo and Sr. Fran Tobin so brilliantly taught us, opportunities for intergenerational partnership in education abound. They have modeled for us the importance of ensuring that high school students learn a complete history of the women’s rights movement throughout all time periods in American history. Teacher mentorship that nurtures one's knowledge and love of women’s history is essential to educating the next generation. At a time where accessing inclusive education is more important than ever, we encourage educators from diverse generational backgrounds to partner together to make sure students can analyze accurate historical evidence and study women's political activism seriously. Students are the ones who will take this inclusive knowledge with them to college and the workforce where we know it will help them work towards a more equitable world.

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