Welcome to the History and Social Studies Department

Congratulations to Ms. Massillon for winning the O'Toole Teacher Leadership Award from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation!

 

 

Meet the Faculty

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Alicia Kersten

B.A. Anthropology, Yale University; M.A.T. Tufts University

Ms. Kersten has been at SHS since 2000 and has been Department Head since 2008. She has taught US and World History as well as several electives.  In 2006, Ms. Kersten won the Gilder-Lehrman Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year award, largely for her students' projects on Somerville's History. She is a member of the school’s Building Cultural Proficiency Committee, and helps lead school-wide professional development in this area. Ms. Kersten has traveled in Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, and she taught in China and Hong Kong from 1995 to 1997. She has passed her love of travel on to students by organizing SHS student trips to Cuba and Costa Rica. Ms. Kersten also founded the school’s Ultimate Frisbee program in 2008 and still helps out with the teams when she can

 

 

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Ted Blake

B.A.S.  History and Journalism, University of Connecticut; M.A.T. Tufts University

Mr. Blake has taught full time at SHS since 2008. He currently teaches World History, and AP World History. Mr. Blake is a coach of the Ultimate Frisbee Team and the Trivia Team, and an advisor of the Outdoors Club. He loves sports and outdoor activities, in particular basketball, football, Frisbee, hiking, sailing, cycling, and running.  He is an avid reader and writer an an aspiring carpenter and handyman. Mr. Blake is an enthusiastic traveler, and recently took two years’ sabbatical to teach in Shanghai, China. He has visited more than 30 countries and thirty-five states since he began teaching at SHS, with plans for more travels in the near future.

 

 

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Kara Carpenter

B.A. in History and Secondary Education, Lesley University; M.Ed. in Social Studies Education, American International College

Ms. Carpenter has taught at SHS since 2008. She teaches U.S. History and Environmental History. She is currently pursuing her M.Ed in Reading Specialist at American International College. She is the advisor of the Community Service Club and is one of the advisors of the  Outdoors Club. She is an avid traveler and has recently lived and taught in China on a sabbatical from SHS. When not teaching, advising or traveling, Ms. Carpenter spends time outdoors and enjoys camping, visiting museums, and food (cooking and eating).

 

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Carlos Contreras

B.A in History and Secondary Education; M.Ed. in Mild/Moderate Special Needs, Boston College (Donovan Urban Scholars Program)

Mr. Contreras began his career at SHS in 2013 as a Special Education teacher working with the Social Studies department in a co-teaching model. He has been with the Social Studies Department since 2018. He teaches U.S. History I, AP U.S. Government and Politics, and Debate. He also coaches the Ultimate Frisbee Team, advises the Debate Team, and serves as one of the building’s Union Representatives. As an undergraduate at Boston College, he was a captain of the Latin dance team, and he tries to bring his love of Latin dance to the school community whenever possible. In his spare time, Mr. Contreras also enjoys exploring different parts of Boston, attending sporting events, traveling, and reading.

 

 

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David DiPietro

BA- Roger Williams University; MA of Liberal Arts in American Studies UMASS; Boston M.A.T. Tufts University

Mr. DiPietro has been at SHS since 2012, when he started as a student teacher. He teaches 9th grade U.S. History I and American Identities, an introductory UMass Boston American Studies course. He plays a leadership role in the Ninth Grade Experience program, and serves as one of the building’s Union Representatives. Growing up in Lexington, Massachusetts, Mr. DiPietro was surrounded by history and was always fascinated with the study of it. He is particularly interested in reading, teaching, and writing about American popular culture. In class he is a believer in project based learning and often has students working together or a variety of creative based projects. When he is not teaching he enjoys reading, running, cooking, eating, and the beach.

 

 

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Steve Ensdorf

B.A. in History, Skidmore College; M.A.T., Union College

Mr. Ensdorf came to SHS in the fall of 2017.  Previously he taught in the Boston Public Schools for 18 years.  Prior to that, he work with the Department of Youth Services teaching history and managing educational services for court-involved youth in a secure setting.  Currently, he teaches World History and United States History II. In the past, Mr. Ensdorf has participated in Fulbright and National Endowment for the Humanities projects in Mexico, testified at Boston City Council Meetings to advocate for more history instruction and presented at the National Council for Social Studies Conference regarding Participatory Action Projects in the Civics Curriculum. In addition to teaching he is co-leading the Outdoors Club.  In his spare time, Mr. Ensdorf enjoys riding bicycles, playing the guitar, reading and travel

 

 

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Sarah Eustis

B.A. in History, Tufts University; M.A.T., Tufts University

Ms. Eustis came to SHS in 2013. She currently teaches US History II, AP US HIstory, and an exciting new elective on Women’s and Gender Studies. Ms. Eustis currently advises the Student Government and the GSA.  As an undergraduate at Tufts she studied mostly European and African history and is particularly interested in the varied legacies of European colonialism. She spent a semester at Crafts School practicing wheel thrown pottery and dreams to one day have her own studio. Ms. Eustis was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and is still a Reds, Bengals, and Xavier basketball fan.

 

 

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Cynthia Massillon

B.A. in Politics, Brandeis University; M.A. in Teaching, Brandeis University

Ms. Massillon came to Somerville High School in 2012. Ms. Massillon is a Gates Millennium Scholar. She has both a bachelor's and Master's degree from Brandeis University, and is currently pursuing her PhD at UMass Boston. She teaches World History, AP World History, and she teaches in the PATH program.  She is a firm believer in project-based learning and believes in incorporating student voice in her class. She is also the advisor for the Debate Team, the Women’s Empowerment Club, and the National Honor Society. She is a member of the school’s Cultural Proficiency Committee. She recently won the prestigious Lawrence W. O’Toole Teacher Leadership  award from the Nellie Mae Foundation, and is conducting a Youth Action Research Project looking at access to AP and Honors courses for students of color. Ms. Massillon enjoys musical theater and traveling. She has been to France, Morocco, Spain, Italy and many Caribbean countries. She spent time in Haiti after the earthquake teaching English in one of the refugee camps.

 

 

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Beth O'Connor

B.A.,Boston College; M.A. in Education, Boston College

Ms. O'Connor has taught at SHS since 2012.  She currently teaches Sheltered English US History I, US History I, and AP Psychology. Ms. O’Connor completed her Master's of Education at Boston College, where she also studied history, Latin American studies, and Hispanic literature as an undergraduate. She completed the Somerville Public School - Lesley University ESL Add-License program to receive an ESL license. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in American History through the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History. With proficient Spanish and Portuguese and basic French skills, she is able to connect with so many of our students and their families. Ms. O’Connor coaches the Somerville girls Ultimate Frisbee team. Ms. O'Connor enjoys watching and playing all kinds of sports, but especially loves soccer.

 

 

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Mark Quinones

B.A. in World History, Wesleyan; M.A. in Education, University of Massachusetts at Boston

Mr. Quinones has been at SHS since 2004. He currently teaches World History and several electives including Human Behavior, Practical Law, and Facing History, a powerful elective on the Holocaust and other genocides. Mr. Quinones is an avid domestic and world traveler. He has won fellowships that have taken him to Japan, China, and Korea, where he visited schools and businesses, and learned about local culture and history.When not teaching, Mr. Quinones enjoys reading, attending plays/performances and watching scary movies. He loves Asian food, refined men's fashion, and enjoys arts and culture, especially live performances and museums. He is also an avid Shakespearean scholar, reading all the plays, keeping up with scholarship, and seeing all of Shakespeare’s plays performed live. When not traveling abroad, Mr. Quinones spends time traveling around the U.S., and takes frequent trips to Michigan and New York to visit family.

 

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Christine “Sol” Rheem

B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies, Bowdoin College; M.Ed. in Secondary History Education, Boston College (Donovan Urban Teaching Scholar)

Ms. Rheem teaches SEI U.S. History II and SEI World History at Somerville High School. She is also collaborating with SHS’s ESL department to earn her ESL licensure this year. She is very passionate about working with immigrant students and families. During her Master’s program, Ms. Rheem worked with a Boston College professor to create “Global Boston,” curricula and resources for teachers to teach local, Boston-based immigrant history. Ms. Rheem has worked with students ages 6-23 in Guatemala City and Havana, Cuba. She also did archival research on Havana’s Chinatown in Cuba. Ms. Rheem is fluent in Spanish and learning Portuguese. When she is not teaching, Ms. Rheem loves biking and farming.

 

 

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Everett “Jim” Roscoe

B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Teaching Certificate for Social Studies and History, Fitchburg State College; M.A. in Education, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Mr. Roscoe has taught at Somerville High since 1993. Before coming to SHS, he taught for two years in Reading, Massachusetts. Mr. Roscoe teaches Psychology, and US History II. He is an active member of the school’s Curriculum Committee, is an active volunteer at the annual Multi Cultural Day, and was a long-standing Building Rep for the Union. Mr. Roscoe is also an accomplished coach. Mr. Roscoe has served as the football coach and has coached wrestling for over 20 years. He is also a Sunday school teacher. When not teaching or coaching, Mr. Roscoe enjoys fishing, working around the house and yard, and spending time with his family.

 

 

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Adda Santos-Smith

 B.A. in History, University of Massachusetts at Boston; M.Ed. in Secondary Education, University of Massachusetts at Boston

Ms. Santos-Smith has been teaching at Somerville High School since 1998. She has taught a wide range of classes, but currently teaches AP US History and US History I. She passes on her love of history to her students by advising the Local History Club. She has been selected for several of the prestigious Gilder Lehrman Institute Summer Workshops; she was able to study the Civil Rights Movement in Memphis in 2017 and the Underground Railroad in New York City in 2015. Ms. Santos-Smith is an active member of the school’s Cultural Proficiency Committee and the New Building Committee. Ms. Santos-Smith is an immigrant from Brazil and has been in the United States since 1990. She went to high school in Brazil and came to the United States to attend college. Ms. Santos-Smith enjoys gardening and taking photographs of landmarks, urban centers and nature