President’s Message – April 2014

Welcome to the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (Mass Council). My name is Gorman Lee. I currently serve as the K-12 Director of Social Studies for the Braintree Public Schools. I can be reached by email at

Mass Council is an independent not-for-profit organization for K-12 social studies educators throughout Massachusetts. The primary mission of the Mass Council is to promote, advocate, and support social studies education in K-12 public, charter, and private schools in the Commonwealth.

As president of Mass Council, the main goal for the 2014-15 year is maintaining the sustainability of and expanding the organization to ensure that social studies education remains an essential component to the K-12 core curriculum in Massachusetts’ schools. Active membership is critical to the sustainability of this organization.

Develop, plan, and facilitate annual summer content institute workshop series. I am proposing to establish a Summer Institute Committee.

  • Seek sponsors and grants to fund institute series and/or after-school workshops
  • Charge a registration fee to non-Mass Council teachers; consider a discount or free to Mass Council members.
  • Partner with local colleges and universities to offer graduate credit courses that can be easily transferred to a graduate degree program (fee for both members and non-members; maybe discount for members?)
  • Allow teachers time to develop curriculum and instructional practices that can be immediately implemented in the classroom

Host after-school receptions to introduce and recruit new teachers to Mass Council. I am proposing to establish a Reception Committee.Seek sponsors to help fund receptions

  • Seasonal (Fall Reception and Spring Reception)
  • Host several receptions around the state (e.g., National Archives, Gardner Museum, Lowell Mills, Adams National Historical Site, Boston Public Library, Peabody-Essex Museum, Plimoth Plantation, etc.) to provide convenience for teachers throughout the Commonwealth
  • Create literature (e.g., brochures, flyers, etc.) to promote Mass Council (and NERC)
  • Possible guest speaker? A well-known speaker could certainly draw a crowd

Expand outreach. I am proposing to establish an Outreach Committee.

  • Host New England teachers’ breakfast at NCSS Boston
  • Participate in other Massachusetts education conferences, such as MassCUE, METCO, MSSAA, etc.)
  • Conduct a Job Fair (early April 2015?)
  • Coordinate a day to the MA State House; have volunteer social studies teachers to schedule visits their local state representatives and invite them to NCSS and other Mass Council events

We are currently looking for volunteers for NCSS Boston this November (21-23, 2014). If you would like to volunteer at the conference, you will earn equal amount of time to attend NCSS Boston! So, if you volunteer for 1 day, you will have a 1-day access to attend NCSS workshops and events. If you want more information and are interested in volunteering, please contact Dot Verheyen-Cudjoe at

If you are interested in attending the entire 3-day event, as a teacher in Massachusetts you will be able to register at a reduced rate! Registration opens this June. Go to the National Council for the Social Studies website at for conference and registration information.

We are also always looking for new members to actively serve on the Mass Council Board. We currently have an opening on our Board. If you are interested in submitting your name to serve on the Board and make a positive impact to social studies classrooms across the Commonwealth, please e-mail June Coutu at

We have tentatively planned three Board meetings for the 2014-15 school year. Our first meeting will be held on Constitution Day, September 17, 2014. We will meet again on January 21, 2015, and May 20, 2015 (locations of our meetings are yet to be determined).

About the MCSS’s New President

Prior to serving as the social studies director in Braintree (2007-present), I taught history and social studies at the middle school level and high school level for the Medford Public Schools from 1993 to 2007. In 2001-02, I served on the state’s History and Social Science Curriculum Framework Review Panel Committee for the Massachusetts Department of Education. In 2003, I became the Teacher Learning Center Director for the Medford Public Schools, where I co-developed and trained professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers to develop online Project Based Units (PBUs) in their respective content areas. In 2005, I was appointed Director of Social Studies (6-12) for the Medford Public Schools. I am also a member of the South Shore Social Studies Supervisors Council. I have served on the Mass Council Board since 2008.

I earned a Bachelor of Science in History Education at Boston University School of Education in 1992, a Masters in Arts in Education at Tufts University in 1999, a Master of Education degree from Endicott College in 2003. This past month, April 2014, I completed my Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University. The title of my dissertation is “Effecting Student Learning for Historical Understanding.”