About West Virginia Civics Coalition

Our Mission

Our mission is to foster equitable civic engagement and education within West Virginia. With a diverse, bipartisan alliance, we seek to make meaningful improvements to policies and practices within civic learning.

Our long-term goals are to strengthen equitable K-12 civic learning while reflecting the needs of higher education and all West Virginians. We strive to sustain a coalition founded on the principle that democracy represents everyone.

Our first objective is to establish an active coalition of civic-minded individuals and organizations and build a robust recruitment infrastructure.

Additionally, we intend to conduct several needs assessments in our first year, including a teacher survey and a possible listening tour. As sustainability is a primary goal, the coalition aims to establish clear communication by creating an actively maintained website which houses vital coalition information.

Finally, we would like to celebrate our first year by hosting an inaugural leadership summit, inviting all coalition members to attend. Following our first year, we aim to connect with like-minded financial sponsorship within West Virginia to maintain the quality of work necessary to implement the coalition’s mission. This funding continues the advocacy necessary for all citizens to receive high-quality education to become active and informed West Virginians. By the third year, we aim to have assembled an active coalition that reaches all corners of the state.

While committed to meeting the needs and interests of this broad community, which is constantly evolving, we will work towards building healthy bipartisan and nonpartisan relationships with policy leaders to advocate.

West Virginia Civics Coalition

OUR HISTORY

In the early days of our organization, a small group of state members gathered to kickstart something meaningful. During that meeting, they got down to practicalities, creating a spreadsheet to keep track of potential stakeholders. As more folks joined the coalition, the spreadsheet evolved, becoming a handy tool to manage names and contacts. It wasn’t about grand gestures; it was about people coming together, contributing, and building something bigger than themselves. That simple spreadsheet, born from a grassroots effort, now stands as a testament to the collective journey of individuals working together to make a positive impact.

COALITION OFFICERS

Rebecca Tinder

Rebecca Tinder

President

Before retirement from Bowles Rice LLP, Rebecca Tinder enjoyed a general law practice as both a solo practitioner in Morgantown, WV and Bluefield, WV and as a member of a small firm, Bell & Griffith, LLC.

In 2000, Rebecca was drawn to Charleston to represent the West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Department of Education (2000-2005), where she worked cooperatively with the Board and Department in the various areas of education and oversight. During her tenure at the Department, she eliminated the back log of pending licensure investigations and cases while maintaining an open-door policy as a resource for State Department and county education administrators. She was also instrumental in expanding the Department website to be more user-friendly and to include Superintendent Interpretations and West Virginia Ethics Commission Opinions.

John Quesenberry

John Quesenberry

Secretary

Teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School
Finalist for Bill of Rights Institute National Civics Teacher of the Year (2023)
Gilder-Lehrman State History Teacher of the Year, West Virginia (2014)

Woodrow Wilson High School Teacher of the Year (2022)
West Virginia Council for the Social Studies – Former President / Current Executive Committee
West Virginia Civics Coalition – Secretary
West Virginia Education Association – State Executive Committee
Raleigh County Education Association – President
Sphere Teacher Advisory Committee
National Constitution Center Teacher Advisory Committee
WV Courts Learning Center Teacher Advisory Committee
Committee to Rewrite State Social Studies Standards
WV United Methodist Church – Southern District Lead Team
WV United Methodist Church – Lay Servant (Lay Speaker)
Mullens United Methodist Church – Lay Leader, Administrative Council Chair, Sunday School Teacher
WV United Methodist Church – Delegate to Annual Conference
National Education Association – Delegate to Representative Assembly
Head Football Coach – Independence Middle School

Betsy Osborne

Betsy Osborne

Vice President

During her teaching career, Dr. Osborne dedicated ten years to teaching social studies in a middle school classroom. She taught 7th grade U.S. History (1865-present), as well as 8th grade Civics and Economics.

Currently, as a teacher educator, she assists students in the Secondary Social Studies program who aspire to become social studies educators. Dr. Osborne’s research interests revolve around critically examining and disrupting whiteness within social studies education. Her dissertation, “The Eruption of Disruption: The Manifestation of Disrupting whiteness in Secondary Social Studies in Appalachia” (2023), investigated the lived experiences of social studies educators and their entanglement with the phenomenon of disrupting whiteness. She is deeply invested in understanding and challenging the dominant narratives and perspectives that have historically excluded marginalized voices from K-12 social studies curriculum.

David King

David King

Officer

David King serves as director of Ohio-West Virginia Youth Leadership Association (YLA). Civic understanding and responsibilities are woven in all YLA youth programs including Youth in Government Student Legislature
and Supreme Court at the West Virginia Capitol and the Ohio Statehouse, 8th Grade Youth & Government Seminars, local YLA Chapters, Entrepreneurship and Leadership Summits at YLA Camp Horseshoe in West Virginia and soon at YLA’s new Ohio Center for Community Leadership and children’s programs at Camp Horseshoe. Prior to his YLA service, David taught 11th Grade American History. David earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Wittenberg and a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Bowling Green State University. He was named a Distinguished West Virginian by Governor Joe Manchin in 2005 and was appointed to the Ohio Association of Commodores by Governor Ted Strickland in 2007. Wittenberg recognized David with their 2021 Servant Leader Award.

David is a graduate of Leadership West Virginia. A founder of South-Central Ohio Preservation Society, David’s memberships include historical societies in Aurora and Tucker County WV and Greenfield, Ohio, The Aurora Project in Preston County, Chautauqua Network, Heritage Ohio, Preservation Society of West Virginia, WV Humanities Council, Gallery at 409 Point Pleasant, Southern Hills Arts Council In Jackson, Ohio, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation,

Ray Smock

Ray Smock

Treasurer

Dr. Ray Smock led the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education as its founding director from 2002 to 2018. He has rejoined the staff in 2021 as Interim Director.

Prior to his tenure at the Byrd Center, Ray served as Historian of the United States House of Representatives from the creation of that office in 1983 until 1995. He is a past president of the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress, the Society for History in the Federal Government, and the Association for Documentary Editing. He holds the Ph.D. in American History from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a biographer of Booker T. Washington, co-editor of Congress Investigates: A Critical and Documentary History (2 vols.), and other works on the history of Congress and the presidency. He served as a historical consultant to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA.

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