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UK-Led Initiative to Enhance Kentucky K-12 Holocaust Education

LEXINGTON, Ky. —  A new initiative led by the Interdisciplinary Program in Jewish Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Kentucky features a collaboration with educators from across the Commonwealth to enhance K-12 Holocaust education and provide professional learning and teaching tools to meet the requirements of the 2018 Ann Klein and Fred Gross Holocaust Education Act.
Funded by a grant from the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, the UK Holocaust Education Initiative will create a network of teachers who will include Holocaust curricula in their classrooms. The initiative will create opportunities for interdisciplinary content sharing, pedagogical training and collaborative planning.
Through an extremely competitive process, the steering committee chose 20 teachers to lead this initiative:
  • Jill Armstrong, Greenup County High School, Greenup County Public Schools.
  • Kelly Bales Tates, Creek High School, Fayette County Public Schools.
  • Kathryn Bilkha, Dunbar High School, Fayette County Public Schools.
  • Kelly Booth, Highlands High School, Fort Thomas Independent.
  • Renee Boss, Woodford County High School, Woodford County Public Schools.
  • Andrew Burgoon, Elkhorn Crossing High School, Scott County Public Schools.
  • Tiffany Carson-Givan, Winburn Middle School, Fayette County Public Schools.
  • Nate Daniels, Madison Central High School, Madison County Public Schools.
  • Leslie Davis, Lafayette High School, Fayette County Public Schools.
  • Paidin Dermody, Butler Traditional High School, Jefferson County Public Schools.
  • Ashley Gendek, Owensboro Innovation Academy, Owensboro Independent Schools.
  • Joseph Gross, Lafayette High School, Fayette County Public Schools.
  • Kim Joiner, Noe Middle School, Jefferson County Public Schools.
  • Shannon Kederis, DuPont Manual High School, Jefferson County Public Schools.
  • Emily Knight, North Bullitt High School, Bullitt County Public Schools.
  • Alicia McCollum, Catholic educator, Diocese of Lexington.
  • Andy Smith, Dunbar High School, Fayette County Public Schools.
  • Adam Spinks, Grayson County High Schoo,l Grayson County Public Schools.
  • Lane Springer, Callaway County High Schoo,l Calloway County Public Schools.
  • Jody Veeneman, Powell County High School ,Powell County Public Schools.
Teachers will work with UK Faculty in Jewish Studies, the College of Education and other content experts during the
summer and the 2022-23 academic year to:
  • Deepen understanding of the Holocaust and related genocide studies.
  • Collaborate to design school and district-specific lessons.
  • Plan and execute Holocaust education workshops for up to 250 teachers across Kentucky Become content leaders in schools and districts.
Instructional materials created by Kentucky teachers through the UK Holocaust Initiative will be peer-reviewed and then shared freely on the Initiative’s website.
“UK faculty will use their expert knowledge to empower Kentucky teachers with extensive middle and high schoolclassroom experience and expertise by educating and collaborating with them and their peers," said Janice Fernheimer, project co-director. "Through these multiple layers of collaborative work, we will create networks of experts at the local level and a sustainable model for educational excellence."
A steering committee of experts from the College of Arts &Sciences, the College of Education, Fayette County Public Schools and two Louisville educators will guide the grant's implementation. UK’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning collaborates on program design, pedagogical framing and the development of instructional materials.
UK-JHFE Steering Committee:
  • Janice Fernheimer (UK Jewish Studies), project co-director.
  • Karen Petrone (UK Jewish Studies), project co-director.
  • Lauren Hill (Leestown Middle School, Fayette County Public Schools), teacher-leader facilitator.
  • Aaron Davis (Fayette County Public Schools).
  • Sharim Hannegan-Martinez (UK Curriculum and Instruction).
  • Jeff Jamner (Arts Educator, Jewish Federation of Louisville).
  • Sheila Jelen (UK Jewish Studies).
  • Jeremy Popkin (UK Jewish Studies).
  • Kathy Swan (UK Curriculum and Instruction).
  • Fred Whittaker (Holocaust educator, St. Francis of Assisi, Louisville).
Ex Officio Members:
  • Jill Abney (UK Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning).
  • Trey Conatser (UK Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning).
For more information or additional comment, contact Fernheimer at