Teacher Advisory Council

Karen Beranek

Years teaching: 20
Subjects: Language Arts and History
Education: B.A., Michigan State University (English Literature)
Secondary Teaching licensure, Michigan State University (minor in History)
M.S. in Special Education, Michigan State University
M.A. in Humanities, Adams State University (in progress)

Karen Beranek relocated to rural Alaska after five years of teaching in Michigan. For 14 years she taught Native Alaskan students in the Bering Strait School District; which is comprised of 15 schools spread across an area the size of Minnesota. Many of the schools are inaccessible by road. Karen has participated in professional development seminars and workshops sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the Alaska Network for Understanding American History (ANUAH). As part of a Teaching American History grant, Karen completed field studies in Skagway, Alaska studying the economics of the Gold Rush. Currently she serves as an instructional support resource and pedagogical coach for History and Humanities teachers in the Bering Strait School District.

“The National Humanities Center has been of great benefit to this rural teacher, and I look forward to introducing and guiding other teachers to this rich resource. With the emphasis on testing, often the humanities fall by the wayside, and the America in Class webinars offered through the National Humanities Center are a pedagogical light on a dark horizon for history teachers. Our teachers are at remote locations and high quality professional development in history and the humanities is difficult to achieve. By reviewing and refining lessons and previewing primary document collections for use in class, I hope to provide other teachers with lessons that assist in them in maintaining a passion for their subject and providing more engaging instruction to their students.”