Meet the Teacher Representatives
Update: As of November 2020, the website is live! Please visit africanamericanhorsestories.org
Post Date: June 1, 2020
Ten Teacher Representatives joined the Chronicle team in January 2020. Despite a rather unusual spring semester, they have met the challenge to create ten teaching modules for the Chronicle website. A range of lessons, activities, units and projects will soon be available as the website’s educational component. They are designed to be used in or outside of classrooms, and there’s something for every grade level, from kindergarten through high school.
We’d like to introduce you to the Teacher Representatives for the Chronicle of African Americans in the Horse Industry.
Felicia Smyzer is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Higher Education from Bellarmine University, and holds a Master of Business Administration. After a brief stint as a second-grade teacher, she has taught in post-secondary education for over 12 years, with three years of international education. Her experience in both elementary and higher education motivated her to work on this project because she values the impact she, as an African American teacher, has had on the outcome of her students' lives. Ms. Smyzer’s module invites students to understand the importance that African Americans had, and still have, on horse racing through learning about the jockey William Walker.
Dr. Azra Terzich teaches English as a Second Language to K-12 Jefferson County Public School students. She also teaches graduate courses in the ESL licensure preparation program at Indiana University Southeast. She was born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina where she studied and practiced business law. After moving to the U.S.A. 27 years ago, she earned her doctorate in Leadership in Education from Spalding University. She has been a frequent visitor to the Kentucky Horse Park and the Kentucky Derby and wanted to contribute part of the history that is missing from the curriculum. Dr. Terzich’s module asks students to discover Isaac Murphy’s character traits that have been influential on the horse industry.
Wendy L. Young is a mother to a middle school son, a graduate of Georgetown College with a Bachelor’s and Masters of Education, and currently a Doctoral of Education candidate at Grand Canyon University. She has been an elementary teacher and principal for the past 23 years. Working on the CAAHI project has been an eye-opening, disheartening, but hopeful experience. Wendy is honored as a native Kentuckian to be a part of filling in the missing truth our American history books have not tapped into, related to the impact African American’s have made on the horse racing industry in Kentucky. Ms. Young’s module explores the impact African American jockeys had on their communities during and after slavery.
Carla Criswell is an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Hopkinsville Middle School in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Her goal as a teacher is to create a learning environment where her students can see a reflection of themselves in the curriculum, but also are able to value viewpoints of others as well. Ms. Criswell feels that her experience with the Chronicle of African Americans in the Horse Industry has been very insightful and meaningful, in understanding the rich and diverse history of African Americans in the horse industry. She valued her experiences working with other educators in Kentucky and the opportunity to share ideas. Ms. Criswell’s module invites learners to research and present the lives of Kentucky Derby winners, culminating in a living wax museum experience.
Annabeth Edens is a Social Studies teacher at Royal Spring Middle School in Georgetown, Kentucky. Currently an Education Specialist Principalship student at the University of Kentucky, she also holds certifications in Gifted Education and English Language Learner Education. As a member of the Kentucky Academic Standards Advisory Panel for Social Studies, Ms. Edens helped to ensure new state standards included diverse perspectives and modern connections. She is passionate about developing students into informed members of society through culturally relevant curriculum and has created projects addressing reparations, advocacy, and social justice used nationwide. Ms. Edens’ module poses the question, “What can Anthony Hamilton teach us?” for students to investigate what life was like for African Americans after the Civil War.
Andrew Johnson recently completed his first year teaching Social Studies and Reading and Writing at The Mighty Elkhorn Middle School in Frankfort, Kentucky. He is a graduate from the University of Kentucky’s Master’s with Initial Certification program. Mr. Johnson feels that working with the Chronicle was an amazing experience that helped him grow professionally and as a person. Working with peer educators and professional researchers from across the state not only assisted with his development of this project, it also helped critique and improve his individual lesson planning/designing technique. Mr. Johnson’s module uses the geography of the people in the Chronicle to explore the transition from slavery to freedom during the years following emancipation.
Born and educated in Irving, Texas, Lorrie Fraley chose to come to University of Kentucky where she completed an undergraduate degree in History and a minor in Political Science. After falling in love with Kentucky, she worked for United Way until her first teaching position in Anderson County. Ms. Fraley later completed a Master’s degree in Library Science and worked in Franklin County at Western Hills High School as their library media specialist. In 2013, an opportunity to move into the classroom came and she has been teaching World History and Kentucky Studies since then. Ms. Fraley’s module asks students to explore and consider the impact that racism has had on social, political, and economic freedom in the U.S., by examining discrimination in the horse industry.
Originally from South Carolina, Logan Layne graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2017 with a degree in agricultural education. He teaches equine science at Locust Trace Agriscience Center. Locust Trace is the newest career and technical high school in Lexington, Kentucky, with energy and environment being key factors in the facility design and agriculture being the educational focus. Mr. Layne is also a leadership development facilitator for the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization, where he works with college students. Mr. Layne’s module invites students to discover how traditions and animal care practices are passed down from one generation to the next through the stories shared on the Chronicle website.
Betty Marie McClanahan
Bettymarie McClanahan serves the students at her alumni school, Phelps Jr. and Sr. High in Pike County, Kentucky. She feels that it has been an honor, privilege and a gift to have been the teacher of so many bright and beautiful souls who have dawned the doors of her classroom throughout her 27 years in education. Ms. McClanahan has enjoyed working on this project, although she comments,”…it has broken her heart to see that these pioneers of horsemanship excellence have been overlooked as time has turned history's pages. It is, once again, time to give these African American horsemen and women the reverence they so deserve and encourage others to fill their vacancies in future Kentucky Derby saddles.” Ms. McClanahan’s module provides an in-depth exploration of the history of horse racing, leading up to a celebration of the African American jockeys who have raced in the Kentucky Derby.
Jaronda McPherson currently teaches Social Studies at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky. Originally from Mercer County, a place that has always been connected to the horse industry, she was thrilled to learn of this online exhibit. She has been continually fascinated as she reads about the African American experience in Kentucky. In Ms. McPherson’s module, students will use the website to investigate the importance of primary sources in preserving history and create their own primary source archive.
These teachers also provided valuable feedback and developed criteria for excellence in educational materials that the museum will continue to use as guidelines. Their educational products will make the Chronicle more relevant to students and more accessible to teachers. The teacher representatives will share their good work through professional development and outreach in their districts.
We are so grateful to have these amazing teachers on the team! They have adjusted to working from home, learning to use technology effectively, and teaching kids through non-traditional instruction. While gracefully handling uncertain times, they put additional creative and collaborative energy into supporting their communities by developing excellent materials for other teachers to use. Thank you, teachers!