Published May 9, 2023

We’re excited to announce our newest cohort of K-12 Educator Fellows, comprising educators from all around Virginia who are committed to teaching the humanities for primary and secondary school students.

Over the next nine months, our Fellows will meet, learn, and work together to create learning experiences that will be shared on our Virginia Humanities Education website, a free resource accessible to educators everywhere. The Fellows will also aid in planning a professional development offering in collaboration with other fellows and Virginia Humanities staff.

“We are so excited and inspired by this year’s 2023 cohort of six K-12 Educator Fellows,” Director of Education Emma Ito said. “This year’s applicant pool was incredibly competitive, but we are thrilled with the educators from across the Commonwealth that we will be working with. We look forward to learning alongside them as they create reliable, interesting, and compelling learning experiences for educators across the state to use for free.”

Nasiyah Isra-Ul

Nasiyah Isra-Ul is a senior at Liberty University, a homeschool graduate, and a budding homeschool coach. She is also the founder of Canary Academy Online Inc, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization working to provide equitable access to homeschool resources and support. She especially enjoys coaching homeschooling parents and students on how to effectively leverage technology and digital tools to maximize their homeschooling budgets while making learning engaging and personalized.

As a young leader, Nasiyah loves mentoring youth, volunteering in local organizations, participating in community leadership opportunities, and staying active in her honor society memberships. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book or isn’t managing a national nonprofit, Nasiyah enjoys spending time with family (sibling, parents, and a dog), tutoring, and furthering her interest in multicultural cooking.

Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman is an instructional specialist with the Office of English Learners in Arlington Public Schools. In her work, she supports PreK though 12th grade educators with teaching academic content to students who are identified as English learners. Particular areas of professional interest include fostering student-to-student discourse and promoting English language development during content instruction.

Amy previously taught the English language to students in Japan, Maryland, and Virginia. She has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University in teaching English to speakers of other languages and has recently completed a doctorate in curriculum and instruction at the University of Virginia. With this fellowship, Amy is hoping to develop learning experiences that help students see themselves as part of Virginia’s future history.

Tiya Shaw

Tiya Shaw is a graduate of Fisk University. She holds a license in K-12 Administration as well as a Masters in Education Administration. Additionally, she has been teaching for 18 years. Currently, Tiya is the ITRT (Instructional Technology Resource Teacher) for K-5 in Spotsylvania County Public School, along with being the division’s History Liaison for Elementary K-5. She takes pride in creating and implementing engaging lessons based on exploration. 

Recently she has partnered with the Virginia Geographic Alliance (VGA) to create engaging digital content for the online Atlas of Virginia. She also sits on the board for the Shenandoah Valley Writing Project and works as a teacher consultant for this incredible program. Tiya Shaw is the creator of GeoLit Labs and the production manager of VA GeoExplorers. The most important part of Tiya Shaw is her 3 daughters, who inspire her everyday to lead a life of joy, innovation and love. 

Andrew Abeyounis

Andrew Abeyounis is a Social Studies teacher at Grafton High School in Yorktown, Virginia. In his 6 years of teaching, he has taught average level World History and AP World History. He also virtually teaches World Geography, World History 1, and World History 2 for York County. He has worked as a College Board rater for the AP US History Exam for 3 years. Mr. Abeyounis also created a National History Honors Society at his school which encourages students to create projects to compete in National History Day.

He has created lessons for multiple programs including an NEH program in the summer of 2022, the Virginia Department of Education’s Echoes program, and the Korean War Legacy Foundation. Mr. Abeyounis has a B.A. in Government and History from the College of William and Mary, a Master’s in Public History from the University of South Carolina and a Master’s in Education from Christopher Newport University. Mr. Abeyounis looks forward to networking with other teachers and historians from around the state and to learn how he can best connect his students with creative and relevant learning opportunities.

Angela Harman

Angela Harman has spent over 20 years as an educator and currently is in her 2nd year as Library Media Specialist at Valley Institute Elementary. She has spent the majority of her career as an ESL teacher in 5th grade. Currently, she is the Director-Elect of the Clinch Region of VAASL (Virginia Association of School Libraries) and former Elementary Teacher of the Year for Washington County Virginia Schools.

She has served on many committees within the county and state and is happy to report that her job as Library Media Specialist is one of the most fulfilling adventures she has experienced in my professional career. She is pleased and honored to be chosen as a Virginia Humanities K-12 Education Fellow and looks forward to all that this entails. She is most excited about collaborating with fellow educators across the state as we work to create lesson plans and content for other K-12 teachers to use in their classrooms.

Harrison Cash

Harrison Cash is a 6th grade social studies teacher, currently living and teaching in Charlottesville, but originally from Amherst County, VA. He has a cat named Mona who will be a constant feature of any virtual meetings. History was always the most fascinating to him when he was in school, and he had amazing teachers who inspired him to enter the field. One thing that he realized when going through school was that so many voices were left out of our historical narrative. That was reaffirmed when he began teaching and re-working his curriculum to better represent all historical narratives.

He is looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate with other educators who have different skills sets and specialities to try and improve how he teaches. He is also looking forward to the opportunity to take the time to develop the best work possible. So much of teaching involves doing the best with what we are given, and he is looking forward to having the freedom and resources to create useful and engaging material to bring unheard voices to the front.

Vanessa Adkins, right, is apprenticing under her cousin Jessica Canaday Stewart learning the finer points of traditional Chickahominy dancing. Photos taken at the Fall Festival and Pow Wow in Charles City on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.

Our work brings people together and honors our shared humanity.