Iowa Council for the Social Studies

Ballots for the 2022 Executive Board Election will be available at the ICSS Fall Conference, 3 October 2022. Members in good standing who are not able to attend the conference can request an absentee ballot here.

Candidate biographies and statements:


Catherine Mein–I currently teach Modern World History and AP World History at Ballard HS. I am also a half-time instructional coach for the high school. I have taught almost all of the social studies disciplines over the last quarter century at schools in Texas, southwest Iowa, and currently in central Iowa. I have been an ICSS board member since 2004, serving as treasurer, vice-president, and now as president. I have been engaged with professional development through NCSS, the National Consortium for Teaching Asia and Qatar Foundation International, as well as working at the state level on social studies standards and state-wide professional development.

I have been and continue to be committed to the work of the council to improve the teaching of social studies in Iowa. I would also like to see a stronger pipeline of upcoming leaders in our organization, especially at this moment when social studies are so much in the public eye.


Dan Jones–Greetings, all! I'm Dan Jones, currently the Vice President for ICSS. In my other life, I am the Programming Co-Director for Education & Day Camp at Living History Farms. As such, I handle all things education related for the museum. I've been active in ICSS since Living History Farms hosted the ICSS annual conference in 2001, having served at different times as the membership coordinator, the conference exhibitor coordinator, and the ICSS secretary.

Originally from Postville, in far northeast Iowa, I grew up in Independence, IA, and attended Loras College in Dubuque, majoring in history and secondary education. During college, I had an opportunity to spend summers working at Living History farms. After a stint as a junior high social studies teacher in Dubuque, I returned to Living History Farms, where I have been for 30 years.

Social studies education provides all of us with crucial skills that we will use the rest of our lives.  For example, where else can we gain and practice the skills needed to critically evaluate sources of information?  

This is why I am a part of ICSS; I believe in the work that the council does to further the field of social studies, especially in the teaching of Iowa history and civics.

In addition, with all of the attention that social studies education is receiving currently, it is vital that ICSS continue to be the leading organization for social studies education in Iowa. 


Jennifer Cooley is the Education & Outreach Manager for the State Historical Museum of Iowa. She manages all of the public and school programs, which include the creation of the free primary source based national, world and Iowa history materials made exclusively for Iowa educators. She has worked in museum education for over 20 years in art and history museums as well as historic homes. Jennifer completed her undergraduate studies from Michigan State University, a masters in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University and a Masters of Public Administration from Drake University.

I would like to continue my service to the ICSS board to help educators across the state with their social studies needs.


Todd Hospodarsky–I received my BA from UNI in Social Studies Education and then later got my MA in History also from UNI. I have been a teacher in at Monticello HS for 27 years. I taught 20 years in Social Studies and then the last 7 years I took a TLS position as a Student Success Coordinator. I have been the ICSS Treasurer for about ten years. I live in Monticello with my family.

I have been the treasurer for many years and enjoy helping ICSS not only grow but also be fiscally responsible.


Alisa Meggitt's Global Studies career began in Washington, DC where she attended United Nations conferences, volunteered 2 years' Peace Corps service in a remote West African village, and worked on Federal Environmental Policy.

After moving to Iowa in 1999, Alisa surrendered to her calling to teach, and left Iowa DNR to pursue UI teaching certification. She earned her Masters degree in Collaborative Teaching from Graceland University; and completed post-graduate education coursework with UC-Pueblo.

Alisa just completed her 20th year teaching social studies to Iowa City students grades 5-8. She was invited to serve on the Iowa Social Studies Standards writing team, and has supported several other diversity, curriculum, and professional advocacy efforts

Alisa's unique community project based approach to civic service learning has been recognized with 14 local, state and national teaching awards. The potential for quality educators to empower kids, strengthen communities and shape future generations compels Alisa to advocate for teachers and public education in Iowa City.

In addition to ICSS, Alisa has served on boards for Sierra Club (Washington, DC and Iowa City); 1000 Friends of Iowa, JC United Nations Association; Boy Scouts Troop 212; and Council for International Visitors to Iowa City (CIVIC). She volunteers for many other programs as well.

Alisa loves to explore the world with her son James. She speaks four languages and enjoys making friends across the planet. Her husband Josh is a 4th grade teacher, an ultra-runner, and a practical joker like his wife.

I value social studies education and want to contribute to improving professional practices around civic participation, service learning, community based learning practices; global education and teaching to and about diversity in Iowa.


Ben McQuade–Ben has taught in the state of Iowa for 10 years and has served as Awards Chair the past 4 years. Currently he teaches Economics and Sociology at Ankeny High School. He greatly enjoys collaborating with colleagues and working with students. Ben and his wife Leigha have a son, Meyer, born in November 2021. When not in the classroom he enjoys spending time with his family, coaching baseball, and assisting his wife in coaching volleyball.

I’ve served on the board as it’s Awards Director for the last few years. I’ve enjoyed my time working with the board to further social studies education in the state of Iowa!


Chad Christopher works at UNI where he is the Coordinator of Social Science and History Education and have done so since 2000. He works part time as an 8th US History at Peet Jr. High in the Cedar Falls.

I have been a contributing member of ICSS for several years. In the past I served as membership director and am interested in continuing serving social studies in the state of Iowa.


Kelsey Hudson is the Curriculum Lead for Secondary Social Studies in the West Des Moines School District in Iowa. She also teaches AP World History: Modern and the “Teacher Academy” classes at Valley High School, where she has been a teacher since 2007. She teaches Western Civilization as an adjunct at Des Moines Area Community College and has taught World Civilization, Western Civilization, and AP European History at Valley in the past. She regularly presents at both the Iowa Council for the Social Studies conference and the National Council for the Social Studies Conference. She also developed curriculum and co-leads workshops for teachers new to AP World History: Modern with Heimler’s History. She is a board member for the West Des Moines Historical Society. Kelsey also frequently participates in domestic and international professional development programs to improve her content knowledge and pedagogy.

I am very passionate about Social Studies in general, and World History in particular. This is my 16th year as an educator, and I believe I would not be where I am now if it were not for colleagues at my building, across the country, and abroad who have changed my perspectives and challenged me to be better at every turn. On the ICSS Board I would seek to facilitate quality professional development and be an advocate for Social Studies across the state of Iowa. I would also be a part of helping others foster meaningful professional relationships, which are crucial to our success as educators.


Jack Vanderflught began his teaching career in 1992 and has been teaching AP US History, AP World History and American Government at Dallas Center-Grimes High School since 2009. Jack has worked as the social studies professional learning community (PLC) leader at the high school, coach, and advisor for Rho Kappa. He also is an adjunct in history for SWCC. Jack received his B.A. from Graceland University majoring in history with a minor in political science. Since then, Jack has become certified with an all social studies endorsement. In addition, he received a Masters of Teaching from Morningside College and was in the first class of teachers receiving certification in the social studies from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. He has also completed a Masters degree in History from Missouri State University. Besides teaching, Jack also currently serves social studies educators as the Advocacy Director for the Iowa Council for the Social Studies. Jack lives in Osceola and enjoys spending time with his spouse, a teacher and coach in southern Iowa, and his daughter, an architectural student at Drury University.

I am interested in seeing the continued improvement in social studies education at all levels. I also want to see continuing improvement in a well-rounded, non partisan program for students and teacher professional development.


Dwight Herold–I taught 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th grades from 1971-2008 in the Ames Community Schools. The majority of my elementary teaching, I was responsible as a 4th and 5th Grade Social Studies Teacher. I integrated many of the Social Studies Standards with language arts/projects. Throughout my Ames teaching career, I served on the Ames Community Schools Vertical Committee for Social Studies. From 1995-2003, I taught Elementary Social Studies Methods in summers and evenings as an adjunct professor at Iowa State University.. I have been involved with the Iowa Council for the Social Studies as President, Vice-President, Conference Program Developer, Governmental Affairs/Advocacy and NCSS HOD Delegate. In 2000, I was the ICSS Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year and in 2001, I was the NCSS Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year. I have attended and presented at many of the ICSS and Great Lakes Regional Conferences. I have attended and presented at Los Angles, Washington, DC, Chicago and Austin NCSS Conferences.

I have been the ICSS Higher Education Liaison for a number of years. I know personally many of the social studies educators in the teacher preparation institutions in Iowa. I have extensive files of emails and US postal addresses of higher education social studies educators throughout Iowa.


Janet Wills teaches 8th grade social studies at Southeast Valley Middle School in Burnside, Iowa. She has previously served as the ICSS Communications Director. Wills has led professional development regarding technology integration, implementation of the social studies standards and has been a presenter at numerous conferences.

Iowa social studies teachers don't have a lot of options when it comes to professional development that directly relates to them. I want to help offer quality PD to Iowa social studies teachers that is especially for them.

The Iowa Council for the Social Studies is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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