Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman named to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the bench in 2005. The first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Justice O’Connor has a keen interest in promoting civics education. Prior to her appointment to the Supreme Court, she was a politician and jurist in Arizona. President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice O’Connor to the Court in 1981.  She currently serves on the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Concerned that young people today are not learning what they need to know to become knowledgeable and active participants in civic life, Justice O’Connor spearheaded the creation of iCivics, simulated games to engage youth.


Kirk Ankeney is the Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction in the San Diego Unified School District, where he has served as curriculum leader for history/social studies, a school administrator, and a history teacher at both the middle and high school level. A former chair of the California Curriculum Commission and Sand Diego County Social Studies Teacher of the Year, Kirk is a co-author of primary source lessons for successive Huntington Library exhibitions on Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and the Gold Rush; several lessons about Lincoln for the National Center for History in the Schools, UCLA; and lessons about George Washington for the Library of Congress. He is chairman of the state’s history-social science Curriculum Framework Criteria and Evaluation Committee (CFCC), serves on the Assessment Review Panel (ARP) for the history-social science assessments for California schools, and is on the board of directors of the Friends of the California State Archives and the California Council for the Social Studies. He is the past recipient of two NEH summer scholar designations, two National Fellowships for Independent Study in the Humanities, and two Gilder Lehram seminar institute invitations.

John Bridgeland is President & CEO of Civic Enterprises and Vice Chairman of Malaria No More. He served as Assistant to the President of the United States and the first Director of the USA Freedom Corps., where he helped create the new Citizens Corps and Volunteers for Prosperity while overseeing the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps. He also served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. As a Teaching Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, John taught a class on Presidential Decision Making. He graduated with honors in government from Harvard University, studied at the College of Europe and the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium as a Rotary International Fellow, and received his J.D. at the University of Virginia School of Law. He serves on numerous boards including the National Conference on Citizenship and We the People National Advisory Committee for Civic Education.

Mark French is President of Leading Authorities, Inc., one of North America’s top lecture agencies with adjacent business interests in video production and publishing. Mark founded Leading Authorities in December 1990 following more than a decade of achievement with two major national associations. As Senior Vice President of Development of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and Executive Vice President of the ATA Foundation, he was responsible for a major increase in membership and funding for both ATA and the ATA Foundation. From 1979-1987, Mark held key positions in the membership and development areas of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He was the Chamber’s leading national account manager in 1981 and 1982. In 1982, he was appointed Director of the Chamber’s Spirit of Enterprise Capital Campaign. He led a successful effort to raise $35 million for the restoration of the Chamber’s historic headquarters across from The White House. Mark is a member of the US Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Dr. Jesus Garcia is a first generation Latino whose appreciation for U.S. citizenship developed in his childhood home. He is former President of the National Council for the Social Studies and Professor of Social Studies Education at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dr. Garcia provided valuable advice and assistance in the creation of the Citizenship Counts core curriculum, The Path to Citizenship.




Carlos M. Gutierrez was the 35th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce from Feb. 2005 until Jan. 2009. Before his government service he was Chairman and CEO of the Kellogg Company, a global manufacturer and marketer of well-known food brands. Secretary Gutierrez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1953 and came to the United States with his family in 1960. In 1975, he joined the Kellogg Company as a sales representative in Mexico City, Mexico. After assignments in Latin America, Canada, Asia, and the United States, he became President and CEO in 1999 and Chairman of the Board in April, 2000. Secretary Gutierrez studied Business Administration at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Queretaro, Mexico.



Award-winning journalist Leon Harris is the news anchor for Washington D.C.’s 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts for ABC7/WJLA-TV. He came to Washington after 20 years at CNN’s Atlanta headquarters, where he co-anchored CNN Live Today and Prime News, and hosted CNN Presents and American Stories. Leon has covered a wide variety of stories including the September 11th terror strikes, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Asian tsunami of 2004, the TWA Flight 800 crash and the Los Angeles riots. He has interviewed several Presidential candidates and reported live from both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. His professionalism and hard work has earned him a number of honors, among them multiple Cable Ace awards for Best Newscaster and National Emmy Awards for his coverage of the September 11th terror strikes, the Oklahoma City bombing and the 2000 Presidential election. He was also honored with a National Headliner Award and most recently with a National Capital Area Emmy Award for Best Anchor. A Cum Laude and honorary doctorate recipient from Ohio University, he is passionate about improving the lives of children and serves on numerous charitable boards including those of For the Love of Children, Junior Achievement of the National Capital Area, and MenzFit.


Samuel Harris is a child Holocaust survivor, author, active community member and proud naturalized citizen. He has received countless awards and distinctions for his leadership, visionary ideas, and contributions to the community. He is a former President of Northbrook United Way, and he is currently on the Board of Directors of South Central Bank in Chicago. For 44 years, Mr. Harris has been a member of The Rotary Club of Northbrook, Illinois, who awarded Mr. Harris with the “Service Above Self” award. Mr. Harris spearheaded the building of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center (IHMEC) and is currently serving as President Emeritus of the IHMEC in Skokie, Illinois. In 2011, New Trier High School named Mr. Harris one of the ten outstanding graduates of all time. Chicago Magazine awarded Mr. Harris “Chicagoan of the Year 2009.” In 2005, Mr. Harris was awarded “The State of Illinois Human Rights Award for Distinguished Leadership for Protecting the Human Rights of the People of Illinois.” He is a graduate of Grinnell College and the recipient of the College’s coveted Alumni Award.

Benjamin Johnson is the Executive Director of the American Immigration Council (AIC) in Washington, D.C. AIC is dedicated to increasing public understanding of immigration law and policy and the value of immigration to American society, and to advancing fundamental fairness and due process under the law for immigrants. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Ben served for four years as the Director of AIC’s Immigration Policy Center (IPC), which is the research arm of the organization. He studied and worked in the immigration field for more than 15 years. Ben has written extensively on immigration law and policy and has been an invited to present testimony on immigration issues before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. He is a frequent guest commentator on television and radio, with appearances on CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Fox News, BBC World News, National Public Radio and other television and radio programs.

Dr. James Kielsmeier is the Founder, President and CEO of the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC), an organization founded in 1983 through the University of Minnesota. As it moves through its third decade of promoting service-learning on a national and international scale, NYLC continues to be at the forefront of education policy and research, helping to write the service-learning provision for the National Community Service Act and producing the first ongoing national study of the state of service-learning in kindergarten through 12th grade, Growing to Greatness. An adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, Jim also founded the Center for Experiential Education and Service-Learning. He holds a doctorate in education from the University of Colorado, a master’s in international relations from American University in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College.

Thomas H. Kirk, Jr. was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1964 and completed his pilot training the following year. In Korea he flew 55 combat missions as a T-6 “Mosquito” pilot and in F-86s. Following Korean service, he flew various aircrafts as a line pilot, flight commander and squadron operations officer in various fighter units during from 1953-1966. In 1967, he was assigned as squadron commander of the 357th Fighter Squadron in Thailand, flying combat missions over North Vietnam in F-105s. On October 28, 1967, while leading the largest mission of the war to that date, his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Hanoi, North Vietnam. He parachuted from his burning F-105, and was held Prisoner of War for 5 & 1/2 years. He was released at the war’s end in March, 1973 and returned home. Upon return to the United States, he was Commander for Operations and later Wing Commander of the 29th Flying Training Wing, Selma, Alabama. Next, he was Vice Commander of the Lowry Technical Training Center, Denver, Colorado. His final duty billet prior to retirement was Headquarters US European Command where he was Deputy Commander of all Special Forces in Europe. Tom’s military awards and decorations include the Air Force Cross, three Silver Stars, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Legion of Merit, 9 Air Medals and the Purple Heart. He received his BS from the Virginia Military Institute and his MBA from the University of Southern California.

Amy Leveton is the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates (PSB), a strategic communications firm that helps some of the biggest brands in the world boost their business. She was the firm’s first female Vice President and is its first female Executive Vice President. In her role, she oversees PSB’s offices in Washington, D.C., New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, and Austin. In 2008, PRWeek magazine named Amy as one of its “40 Under 40”. The annual list honors those public relations practitioners under 40 years of age who demonstrate “innovative thinking, strong determination, and results that indicate a long and successful career in the PR industry.” In the spring of 2009, Amy was honored as one of Politics Magazine’s “Rising Stars.” The award recognizes people 35 or under who have made a significant mark in political consulting or advocacy. She is a strategic partner for many Fortune 500 and leads teams that conduct integral research and strategic brand development for major entities such as Microsoft, McDonald’s, General Mills, T-Mobile, Procter & Gamble, MetLife and the United States Department of Treasury. She has been instrumental in achieving victories for a range of political candidates in the US and abroad, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in her 2000 and 2006 elections to New York Senate. Amy Leveton graduated summa cum laude from the University of Michigan Honors College, with dual degrees in political science and psychology.

Carrie Martz is the former CEO and Founder of The Martz Agency which she has built into one of the top advertising and public relations agencies in Arizona. Carrie has been recognized for her leadership, innovation and achievement with respect to both business and philanthropy. Carrie is the recipient of the Athena Award, given to the Business Woman of the Year by the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. This year she will chair the 2010-2011 Suns Annual Gala. Carrie also founded the WWDPGO, (Women Who Don’t Play Golf Organization), as a non-profit that has raised almost $100,000 for local women’s charities. She has been featured in the book, Women Who Mean Business, Success Stories of Women over Forty, by A. Mikaelian that was published in 1999. Carrie remains very active with The Martz Agency and her efforts are primarily focused on business development, strategic planning and creative solutions.

Ted McConnell serves as Executive Director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (CMS) a coalition of over 50 national organizations committed to improving the quality and quantity of civic learning in our nation’s schools. Prior to joining CMS, Ted directed the Campaign to Promote Civic Education, a fifty state effort to revitalize and strengthen civic education at the state and district levels, which was an initiative of the Center for Civic Education. He also served as co–coordinator of the Congressional Conferences on Civic Education 2003-2006. Ted has been involved in the political, governmental and non-profit sectors for over thirty years. Prior positions include Congressional Affairs Assistant to the United States Secretary of Commerce Assistant to the Chairman; and Director of Marketing and Events for the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution; Transition Assistant, 1980 Presidential Transition; and Deputy Director of the Citizens Division of the Republican National Committee. Ted also served on staff for the Presidential campaigns of Presidents Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.

For over 33 years, Marney Murphy has been an educator in Cincinnati serving grades K-12. She has taught reading, language arts, information science, social studies, and mathematics at private and public schools. Since 1986, Marney has been conducting naturalization ceremonies on the campus of Three Rivers Middle School in Cleves, Ohio. As a result, schools in southwestern Ohio now hold naturalization ceremonies at their schools exposing children to citizenship, patriotism, and global identity. As a library media specialist for grades K-12 and a reading specialist she has served on many curriculum committees including the curriculum advisory board for CET, the public television station in Cincinnati and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center where she assisted the development of the Teacher Resource Center. Marney serves on the National Board of Directors of UNESCO’s Transatlantic Slave Trade Project—USA. She is an alumna of the Holocaust and Resistance Fellowship Program held in Poland and Israel. In addition, she has conducted workshops for Comparative and International Education Society Conference at Columbia University andUNESCO Transatlantic Slave Trade workshops at Yale University, Penn State, University of Richmond, and Tulane University. Marney was also on the international program committee for the UNESCO World Youth Forum held in Trinidad & Tobago. Marney is a State of Ohio Educator of the Year and earned a Master’s of Education from Xavier University.