Martinsville High School Social Studies Department chairman and teacher, Dr. Heather Tolbut, has been selected to participate in the Lincoln Fellowship Program in July.
The Lincoln Fellowship Program places special emphasis on the statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln, no less than the American Founders, believed that free government is possible only if it recognizes and protects the equal natural rights of all human beings. Attendees, or Fellows, discuss how the statesmanship and political thought of the Founders and Lincoln should guide policy makers today.
Fellows will spend a week meeting with distinguished visiting scholars to study American politics and political thought. In intensive daily seminars and relaxed evening symposia, Fellows discuss a wide selection of great American readings. Topics of study and discussion include the Founding, the Civil War, the Progressive Era, the Great Society, and the enduring modern disputes between liberalism and conservatism. After their participation, Fellows will be invited to attend events and seminars in and around the nation’s capital, at which they will be honored.
Fellows will also participate in The Reframing Lincoln: Myth, Memory, and Changing Narratives Symposium. The symposium will allow Fellows to participate in a weeklong professional development event on-site at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The symposium will focus on how to study Lincoln as a myth, a man, and a preCity sident. It will explore Lincoln’s beliefs and actions on issues ranging from emancipation to Black citizenship and equality, to civil liberties in America. Attention will be given not only to Lincoln as a politician, but Lincoln as a person, unraveling simplified narratives to unveil a figure in his full complexity.
“I have always been a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln,” said Tolbut. “Having just completed my dissertation with an emphasis on diversity, justice, and equality, it seems fitting to have an opportunity to expand my knowledge in those areas. I am looking forward to studying at the Presidential Library and meeting other scholars from around the country. I am hopeful that the knowledge I gain will help to positively impact our students and staff.”
“Dr. Tolbut is our high school department chair for social studies,” said Cary Wright, MCPS coordinator for Humanities and Advanced Programs. “This opportunity for her will benefit our entire department and then the entire high school student population. MCPS values and supports our teachers who seek to further their professional skillset.”
In addition, Tolbut also will be presenting at two Holocaust education conferences this summer in Washington D.C. and Richmond, Virginia.
“One presentation will be on how racist ideologies before the 1940s contributed to the implementation of racial laws in Germany and the Holocaust,” said Tolbut. “The other presentation will be centered around how genocides have continued to plague the world, even after the Holocaust, with specific attention given to the Rwandan genocide. These presentations will be given to fellow educators participating in these conferences who are looking to increase their knowledge of Holocaust education.”
“I am very proud of Dr. Tolbut’s leadership and scholarship,” said Schools Superintendent Dr. Zeb Talley. “She is a life-long learner and will certainly contribute to the body of knowledge. Dr. Tolbut is an outstanding professional educator.”