Instructors

Dr. Steve Cox

Steve Cox received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of New Hampshire. He has taught a variety of courses in U.S. history at UNH, Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana State University, Ball State University, and Pease Air Force Base. He has also taught Western civilization and world history. He served as the editor of the statewide history journal at the New Hampshire Historical Society, and as the Senior Historian at Conner Prairie, a living history museum in Indiana. As one of the vice presidents for the Indiana Historical Society, Steve managed the areas of collections, conservation lab, the IHS press, and public programs, including National History Day in Indiana, which is geared toward middle school and high school students.

Tim Crumrin

Tim Crumrin is a lifelong historian and author. He holds a B.A. in European History and an M.A. in American History from Indiana State University. From 1992 to 1996, he was Adjunct Professor of History at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. He served for 25 years as historian and a director at Conner Prairie Museum in Fishers, Indiana, retiring from the museum in 2014. He has written or edited more than 35 scholarly publications and has made numerous presentations at conferences sponsored by the Organization of American Historians and the Indiana Historical Society, among others. In addition to winning two national awards of merit from the American Association of State and Local History, he received a national Telly award as writer and director of the PBS documentary Harvesting the Past. Notably, he received the prestigious Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement in Indiana History Award in 2014 for his contributions to history. He is President and Principal Consultant of the Historiker Consulting Group, a historical consulting firm dedicated to telling the story of history.

Bryan Gersbeck

Bryan C. Gersbeck is a writer, historian, and cartographer. After graduating from the University at Albany, he worked at the State University of New York in Orange County, but he left to pursue a career in writing. He now works out of CoLab in Goshen, New York, and writes about history and current events. He has traveled extensively, and his experiences abroad with the people and cultures of other countries have infused his deep understanding of history.

Allen Gross

Allen Gross holds both a B.S. and an M.A.T. in Mathematics Education from New York University. He was an adjunct mathematics professor for nineteen years at LaGuardia Community College and taught SAT math review classes for ten years. He has recently retired from a career in banking.

Dr. Sharon Kaye

Dr. Sharon Kaye is the author of the Western philosophy series published by Royal Fireworks Press. She is Professor of Philosophy at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, she was a Killam postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She runs a Philosophy for Kids internship program in which undergraduate students teach philosophy to middle school honors students. She has published numerous articles and books, some of which have been translated into Japanese, Greek, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, and Slovak.

Dr. Thomas Milton Kemnitz

Dr. Thomas M. Kemnitz is a historian and the author of many books for students. During the past few years, he has concentrated on writing about the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome for students of the Michael Clay Thompson language arts curriculum by Royal Fireworks Press. He received his B.A. in history and literature from the University of Michigan and his doctorate in history from the University of Sussex in England.

Myrna Kemnitz

Myrna Kemnitz taught writing for decades in the New York public schools, and she also trained teachers in the instruction of creative writing. She is the author of the enormously popular four-volume series Suppose the Wolf Were an Octopus, which teaches readers how to use children’s literature to develop higher-level thinking skills. Among her other publications are Our Friend the Mastodon and What Valley View Has Meant to Orange County. She served as editor of many of the Royal Fireworks Press novels.

Ingrid Klass

Ingrid Klass holds a Master’s in the History of Religion from the University of Chicago, with a focus in South Asian philosophy and languages (Sanskrit and Pali). Her B.A., from Carleton College, is in religion, with a concentration in South Asian studies. She has studied Sanskrit at Harvard, and while a student, she lived in Sri Lanka for one semester, studying Buddhism. She has taught courses in Asian philosophy, world religions, Buddhism, Fundamentalism, and Asian humanities at the college level.

Dr. Kristin Krause

Dr. Kristin Krause is a teacher and a biologist. She holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in biology. After earning her doctorate from Dartmouth College, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she learned to slice a fruit fly’s eye into 5,000 extraordinarily thin pieces. She spent two years as a crew member on tall ships, which led her to write Last Voyage of the Hornet: The Story that Made Mark Twain Famous, published by Royal Fireworks Press. She keeps busy as an adjunct professor and has three teenaged sons.

Dr. Rachel Lott

Dr. Rachel Lott holds a Ph.D. in medieval philosophy from the University of Toronto. Her favorite teaching method is the shared inquiry style of discussion, and she uses this method extensively in university courses, from ancient philosophy to contemporary ethics. As a professional editor, she has edited more than twenty academic publications, and she enjoys running workshops that help students at any level to improve their writing skills.

Dr. Rachel McAnallen

Known simply as Ms. Math to children across the country, Dr. Rachel McAnallen has devoted her life to sharing the joy and beauty of mathematics with learners of all ages. A professional educator for more than sixty years, she travels the globe teaching math at every grade level. In addition to her experience in the classroom, Rachel has served as a department chair, a school board member, and a high school administrator. A lifelong learner, Rachel received her Ph.D. from the Neag School at age seventy-five. She approaches the world around her with a boundless curiosity and a playful sense of humor that is reflected in her teaching style.

Cody Rounds

Cody Rounds works with people of all ages on building life skills through mindfulness techniques. After graduating from The College of New Jersey, she began working with individuals on controlling their stress, focus, and emotional state using their own thoughts and perspectives. In 2018 she co-founded BeetleDoo Kids, an initiative to bring mindfulness-based curricula to the American educational market. Cody has co-authored Breath Magic and The Secret Code of Senses, both available from Royal Fireworks Press.

Dr. Frances R. Spielhagen

Frances R. Spielhagen, Ph.D., is Professor of Education, co-founder, and co-director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Development at Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, New York. She served as Chair of the NAGC Education Committee from 2009 to 2011. Dr. Spielhagen was a Latin teacher for more than thirty years before becoming an academic. She has presented her work in Latin at the American Classical League, the Classical Association of New England, the New Jersey Classical League, the Association for Teachers of Foreign Language, and the National Association for Gifted Children. As a young scholar, she wrote a Review Book for the College Board Achievement Test in Latin. She is the author of the Fabulae Caeciliae series of Latin texts, published by Royal Fireworks Press, in which she presents the teaching of Latin through a natural, inductive approach.

Dr. Myriam Borges Thompson

A native Spanish-speaker from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dr. Myriam Borges Thompson received her B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Spanish literature from the University of Puerto Rico. An experienced classroom teacher, she has taught Spanish in elementary school through high school and college. She is a co-author of the Caesar’s English texts and is the translator/author of With the Eyes of a Woman and Ideal Love. She contributed articles to Our Gifted Children magazine, including “Identification of Gifted Hispanic Students” and “One Gifted Child, Three Environments.” She is co-author of the chapter “Reflections on Foreign Language Study for Highly Able Learners” in Developing Verbal Talent, published by the College of William and Mary (1996). Fascinated by the Spanish classics of the Golden Age, she likes to reread Cervantes’s Don Quixote every few years. She has spent the last decade researching the work of nineteenth-century Latin American women writers. She is a frequent presenter at conferences, including the Great Homeschool Convention conferences.

Michael Clay Thompson

During a period of thirty years, Michael Clay Thompson was a classroom teacher, middle school head, and academic. Now Michael teaches his curriculum online while he continues to develop new literature trilogies. An acclaimed speaker and workshop presenter, he has inspired millions of students and educators through his teaching, books, and presentations with a new love of language and literature. Michael received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University, studied for gifted education accreditation at Mars Hill College, and obtained his M.A. from Western Carolina University. During his teaching career he taught in schools in Indiana, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Michael has written more than 100 books, all with Royal Fireworks Press.

Francis C. Wickham

Francis C. Wickham

Francis C. Wickham, AIA, practiced architecture for three and half decades as a partner with Prentice & Chan, Ohlhuasen Architects (New York City). His training began at Carnegie and included Sommerakademie fur Bildende Kunst, Salzburg, Austria. He spent five years with I.M. Pei and Partners and many years as a solo practitioner. He designed and contributed to the designs of many buildings around the world. He has taught at Columbia University and Vassar College.

Portia M. Wood

Portia M. Wood is a practicing attorney who earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland in 2011, where she served as president of her class. She earned a Master of Law and Letters from the Pepperdine University School of Law, and she was awarded a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Pan African Studies from California State University, Northridge. She is a member of the California State Bar, the Maryland State Bar, the American Bar Association, the California Association of Black Lawyers, and the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. She has been named on the Top 40 Under 40 list by the National Black Lawyers Association for the past four years in a row. She regularly gives workshops on the legal and social issues of wealth accumulation and management.

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