Peggy O'Brien - Director of Education
I’m the Folger Shakespeare Library’s director of education, and therefore have the privilege of (a) working with this mighty band of smart, dedicated, versatile and hilarious people that is Folger Ed, (b) working with folks all across this Library who are full of respect and devotion for schoolteachers, and . . . (c!) the privilege of working with schoolteachers from all over. I’m the luckiest person on earth. I’m a DC public high school English teacher who, about 35 years ago, took on what I thought would be a short-term job at the Folger. I turned out to be the right teacher in the right place at the right time: I began the Folger’s education work and ran it for 13 years, thought I was out of ideas here, and took a deep dive into the ed tech universe-- at a dot.com, the cable industry’s education foundation, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Left CPB to serve as DC Public Schools’ Chief of Family and Public Engagement under Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson. Got jazzed about returning to the Folger after meeting the then-new Library director, Michael Witmore, a man with a big brain, a big heart, such a fine vision for this institution, and a deep belief in the importance of K-12 education. So I’m the right teacher in the right place at the right time again. Woo hoo! We’re inventing and reinventing Folger Ed at a pretty decent pace so that we can keep up with what teachers (and students) need . . . and this online community is only one example. Other info: my undergraduate Shakespeare prof never really knew my name because I cut class so much, I love Hamilton for about a million reasons, and my two grown-up kids still seem to like me. PS. Hope you are not correcting for grammar today.
Corinne Viglietta, Assistant Director of Education
As a classroom teacher, I saw firsthand how the Folger Method transforms teaching and learning. (Side note: it was my students who made me fall in love with this Shakespeare guy.) After years of using it with all kinds of students in all kinds of settings—ELLs, reluctant readers, AP students, and students with exceptionalities, here in DC and abroad—I wanted to share it with everyone. Plus, since I’ve joined the Folger, I’ve learned a ton of new and exciting things, not just about Shakespeare and teaching but also about rare books and special collections, theatre, art, history, museums, community engagement, and the digital humanities. I run a big chunk of our teacher professional development, including this online universe for Teacher Members; the Lily McKee High School Fellows; and our partnership with DC Public Schools. It is a privilege to work alongside teachers on instruction that grows students’ knowledge and confidence as readers, writers, speakers, and listeners—and makes us all fall in love with language over and over again.
Other essential info: Matisse’s cut-outs, The Great Gatsby, lemons, 80s new wave, How to Steal a Million, travel adventures with my husband and daughter, and my mom’s carbonara all give me life. My dad was my high school principal. Always seeking fellow West Virginians, Francophiles, and writing center people.
Heather Newsam, Manager of Teacher and Student Programs
The newest member of Folger Education, I serve as a resource for teachers on teaching Shakespeare and other complex texts and play an active role in both our local and national education communities. Before joining Folger Education, I served in the School of Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as the Director of Teacher Licensure and Placement. I've worked in education at the state and local level for 19 years, including 13 years as a secondary and undergraduate English teacher.
Kate Haase, Manager of Visitor Education Programs
I develop programming for families and students, manage visitor tours, and support the fabulous Folger Docent Corps. Originally from New York, I moved to the DC area to get my Masters in Library Science, ended up working in Exhibitions at the Folger, and soon found myself drawn in by the siren song of the Education Department. I’m a Victorianist at heart and collect 19th decorative arts and books. I spend most of my off hours developing new configurations to fit said books in my living room.
Greg Armstrong, Administrative Assistant for Education Programs
I serve as the first point of contact for Folger Education, answer questions about our programs, handle logistics for tours and school visits and provide support for the Education team. My job has evolved over the past two years to include more in depth work with our day to day operations, docents, budgets and playing a role in each of the programs Folger Education runs. When I'm not at the Folger, I'm DJ'ing fitness classes and a variety of private events or catching up on some weekly manga and comic releases, all of those fun things.
Katherine Dvorak, Education Project Manager
I’m the stage manager running this online community from backstage and I’m thrilled to see it up and running after leading its creation. You won’t see me but I’m back there, making things go. I’m responsible for all Folger Education digital properties, managing our database, building our budgets, and organizing the logistics across the department, including our yearly adventure to NCTE (come visit our booth!).
I’m also a recovering political operative, a runner who runs a lot and a kickboxer who kicks a lot. Elizabeth I is my spirit animal and I ask myself at least once a day What would Tammy Taylor Do?
To find out more, please visit us at www.folger.edu/teach-learn.