Whitney Olson is an educational consultant employed by the Sacramento County Office of Education to coordinate the National History Day program in California. Her responsibilities include leading professional development and creating resources for students and teachers in 32 counties. She coordinates the statewide contest, bringing together 1700 students and 300 hundred teachers to celebrate student research and inquiry each year. As a member of the Executive Coordinators Committee for National History Day, she supports state affiliates across the country with planning online and in person conferences and leading a task force to address cultural sensitivity. In 2018, Ms. Olson brought a teacher camp to California, providing an opportunity for teachers and librarians to learn how to support students with historical inquiry. She also serves as the executive director of the California Foundation for History Education. In 2020, Ms. Olson was honored as the The CCSS Ruth Delzell Outstanding Service Award Winner, recognizing her service to the organization. Previously, she has served as the CCSS Northern Area Vice President in 2020-21 and the Region One Representative on the CCSS Board of Directors in 2017-18. She also served on the CCSS Conference Committees 2017 - 21. Ms. Olson received her Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of California, Berkeley; her single subject teaching credential from San Francisco State University; and is currently working on a Master of Arts in American History at Pace University.
CCSS is shifting to meet the challenge of a dynamic and digitally connected membership. Increasing membership and extending our professional support beyond conferences requires the organization to reconsider how today’s social studies teachers access professional development. By increasing visibility and inserting the organization into the conversation in every corner of the state, CCSS has the opportunity to drive the conversation around social studies education. My work on the executive committee has supported our visibility through the development of a branding kit that will enhance the organization's opportunity for recognition as a leader in the field. I challenge board members to consider how CCSS might better connect with social studies educators, promoting policy, content, and pedagogy, through new partnerships and online platforms. History might be old, but CCSS needs to be current to be relevant.
I plan to continue working with fellow board members to infuse our membership with younger teachers, to consider how we can support inclusivity and diversity within our board and our profession, and to deepen our commitment to social justice in the curriculum and in the classroom.