CCSS Board Election

2017 - 2018 Slate of Candidates

Candidate for President - Natalie Wojinski 

Natalie has been teaching elementary, middle, and high school for more than 20 years. She is currently teaching Modern World History and U.S. History in the Central Valley. Previously, Natalie managed a Teaching American History Grant, served as a Program Assistant for Secondary History/Social Studies, and taught in the San Francisco Bay Area. In her work with CCSS and the California Geographic Alliance, Natalie has advocated for History/Social Studies education in Sacramento and on Capitol Hill. She has been recognized as a Teacher of Excellence and Teacher of the Year. She has B.A.s in Journalism, Social Science, History, and earned a M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning. Natalie is a National Geographic Certified Educator, a Leading Edge Certified teacher for Online and Blended Learning, and a Google Certified Innovator.

Candidate for President Elect - Mary Janzen

Mary Janzen received an M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from Fresno Pacific University. She taught world geography for five years before taking a position as a H-SS Consultant at Fresno County Office of Education. She worked with two Teaching American History Grants and coordinated Fresno County History Day, a teacher on special assignment training secondary history/social studies teachers in Common Core strategies and using the C3 Framework in their classrooms. Currently she teaches AP European History and Modern World History at Duncan Polytechnical High School in FUSD. Mary is an active member of the SJVCSS and a Board Member for the National Social Studies Supervisors Association. She is currently First Vice President of CCSS.

Candidate for 1st Vice President - Michelle Herczog

Michelle Herczog, Consultant III, History-Social Science at the Los Angeles County Office of Education serves on the Power of Democracy Committee led by California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the iCivics Advisory Board, and Advisory Committee on Public Education for the American Bar Association. Dr. Herczog served as Vice-Chair of the California Instructional Quality Commission, President of National Council for the Social Studies, and helped develop the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards as a member of the Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction Committee of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Candidate for Northern Area Vice President - Avi Black

Avi Black is a Past President of CCSS, and currently serves on the Board of Directors as the Northern Area V.P. He has served CCSS in many leadership capacities over the past twenty years, and has helped to organize statewide and local conferences. Having  recently retired from service as a county-level professional development coordinator, he continues to advocate for social studies education through channels of policy and practice.  Avi currently spends the bulk of his time at SF Giants’ games and cheering on the soon-to-be-repeat-champion Golden State Warriors. 

Candidate for Southern Area Vice President - Greg Spielman

Greg serves as the Chair of the 2018 CCSS Conference in San Diego - "Tearing Down Walls: Building Connections, Collaboration, and Civil Discourse." He has been a Social Studies teacher in the Jamul-Dulzura Union School District for 20 years; Greg is a former CCSS President,  2012 District Teacher of the Year and 2013  Patricia Behring National History Day Middle School Teacher of the Year; He is a proud Southern California educator dedicated to preserving and advancing California Council for the Social Studies' mission of developing democratic classrooms, equality, and well- rounded education for ALL students.

Candidate for Central Area Vice President - Valerie Doherty


Valerie is a retired fourth grade teacher, and continues to be an active contributor to CCSS while maintaining a seat in the local council, Golden Valley Council for the Social Studies. She enjoys volunteering and has been involved in the planning and preparation of the CCSS statewide conference, and most recently served as a judge during History Day in Stanislaus County. She vows to continue her support and encourage more schools to participate. She is always inspired by the level of commitment to history/social studies shown by all members of CCSS. 

Region 1 Candidate - Whitney Olson

Whitney Olson earned her degree in history from UC Berkeley and a secondary teaching credential from San Francisco State University. She has been a NHD County Coordinator since 1999 and the NHD-CA Coordinator since 2014. She has been a member of CCSS since 2012 and on the CCSS board as the Region One Director since 2015. Her work to support history/social science teachers through the National History Day framework involves outreach and professional development. She is interested in promoting partnerships with historical organizations in order to increase access and equity for California’s social studies educators and their students. 

Region 3 Candidate - Dawniell Black

Dawniell earned a BA from CSU Fresno, teaching credential from CSU Sacramento and a MA in Teaching from National University.  She taught history-social science for 10 years and is now a district-wide H-SS Program Specialist. She believes H-SS is the most underrated core curriculum in education and it is imperative that we increase membership in established organizations like CCSS to connect to one another, collaborate and build a historical learning and teaching community that forms a louder collective voice, included in the conversation, and part of shaping the educational policy in California.

Region 3 Candidate - Janet Mann

Janet Mann taught social science courses as well as AP Human Geography and Psychology for 25 years. She   maintained a role as a teacher leader, serving as History & Social Science (HSS) Department Chair, while continuously finding professional develop opportunities for myself and colleagues, as well as keeping up on educational research. In 2002 she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to South Africa, and has travelled the world, sometimes with students. Currently she works at the California Department of Education, where she provides leadership, and works to keep the HSS community up-to-date on statewide initiatives, legislation, and new HSS research and opportunities.


Region 4 Candidate - Keldon Clegg

Keldon earned a B.A. in Womens Studies and Politics from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2005. He holds a single subject Social Studies credential. Keldon taught at Hercules Middle-High School and Amador Valley High School before teaching at his current position at Berkeley High and working as an EdTech Specialist. He is currently a CCSS Executive Board member for Region 4 and believes CCSS can help expand the understanding of social studies to go beyond “history” and reach into geography, economics, psychology and the variety of fields that make up social studies as a whole. Keldon is committed to building local council membership and connecting new ideas and resources to CCSS members


Region 5 Candidate - Pamela Harter 

Pamela Harter is a product of the California Public School system where she now teaches. She is originally from Sacramento, and graduated from Sacramento State University. Pamela teaches multiple Social Science classes at San Jose High School in San Jose, CA , including IB History of the Americas, Economics, and Government. In addition to teaching in the classroom, Pamela has worked in multiple teacher leadership roles within the department, the school and the district. She currently serves on the CCSS board representing region five, has been an active member of CCSS since 2009, and is currently working with NCSS to bring the 2017 conference to San Francisco.

Region 5 Candidate - Jennifer Elemen 

Jennifer Elemen, Ed.D. is president of the Bay Area Council for the Social Studies, an educational specialist for the Monterey County Office of Education, and Region 5 Representative for the History-Social Science Subcommittee of CISC (CCSESA).  She previously served as a history-social science department chair/teacher, received the Outstanding Secondary Educator of the Year Award from CCSS, a Civic Learning Award for John F. Kennedy High School, and Volunteer of the Year Award from the YMCA for the Youth and Government Program.  Jennifer is interested in collaborating to increase membership, communications, and networking to improve social studies education.

Region 7 Candidate - Brinkley Abercrombie 

Brinkley is a middle school history teacher in Fresno, California. She is currently one of two regional directors serving Region 7, and is the current president of the San Joaquin Council for the Social Studies. Through her experience on the Board of Directors this past year, she has observed the dedication and necessary and important presence our state council has in making sure history education maintains its relevance, especially as the History-Social Science framework makes its way through the state legislature. With new and exciting steps in  history education on the horizon, she looks forward to continuing to represent Region 7.


Region 9 Candidate - Cheryl Rehome

Cheryl Rehome is in her 36th year of teaching and is a Past President of CCSS and the Greater San Diego Council for the Social Studies. She has served CCSS in various capacities for the past 15 years and enjoys presenting at national, state, and local conferences. She has participated as a fellow and a peer facilitator for Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute. California History Project, Gilder-Lehrman American History Institute, and Teaching American History Grant program.  She is passionate about history/social studies and believes that History/Social Studies must be viewed as a foundational curriculum that provides the basis for building critical thinking skills, character development, a democratic understanding, responsible citizenship, and greater tolerance toward others. 

Region 9 Candidate - Rob Vicario

Rob Vicario is the Coordinator, History-Social Science for the Orange County Department of Education, (OCDE) and is adjunct professor for Santa Ana College and Concordia University, Irvine.  Rob taught middle school for 15 years, and later served as Assistant Principal, Focus Coordinator, and Curriculum Specialist.  He was Literacy Coordinator/Co-director of the UC Irvine History Project and was Project Director of several TAH grants. At OCDE, he now supports all 28 school districts and private schools.  Rob provides help to teachers and schools transitioning to inquiry-based instructional practices and programs that prepare students for success in college, career, and civic life.

Region 10 Candidate - Katherine Rand 

Katherine M. Rand is a 21-year veteran Social Studies teacher from the Victor Valley Union High School District.  She teaches AP Government, US History Honors, and Mock Trial at Cobalt Institute of Math and Science, and is also serving as a Reflective Coach for the New Teacher Induction Program at the district level. Mrs. Rand is an active member of CCSS, currently serving as one of two Region 10 Directors for CCSS and as Secretary for the Inland Empire Council for Social Studies.  Additionally, Mrs. Rand has presented at the IECSS Jamboree, CCSS, and other local Social Science professional development venues.

Region 11 Candidate - Rebecca Valbuena

Rebecca Valbuena, M.Ed., began teaching in South America and currently works in the Glendora Unified School District. She co-directs a teacher institute at the Autry National Center, is a California History-Social Science Project fellow of UC Berkeley and CSU Dominguez Hills, and teaches a History Methods class at CSU Dominguez Hills. Rebecca co-directed a Multilingual Institute and taught for UCLA Extension assisting teachers with effective instructional strategies for English Learners. Valbuena served as a model teacher for the book, Doing History and as a Common Core teacher for the CDE and LACOE. She is the past President for SCSSA, a CCSS Outstanding Elementary Teacher, L.A. County Teacher of the Year, and a YWCA Woman of Achievement.

Region 11 Candidate - Scott Petri

Scott Petri has taught social studies at the middle school level and  high school level since 2003. He has also served as a coordinator and small school principal in LAUSD.  He holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and a Masters in Educational Administration from California  State University Northridge, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of San Diego. Dr. Petri is the Vice Chair of the National Council  for the Social Studies Instructional Community and President-Elect of the Southern California Social Studies Association.

California Council for the Social Studies
Serving K-16 Educators Statewide
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