Educator Working Group

The educators described here provided critical feedback on the development of the GCC program and continue to offer guidance as expert faciliators.

Patrice CallahanborderPatrice Callahan

Patrice Callahan is a passionate educator with a global environmental perspective encouraging high school seniors to participate in the world around them. She teaches Environmental Studies, Advanced Placement Human Geography, Psychology and Economics at the School of Environmental Studies High School in Minnesota where she also coached two winning teams in the World Savvy Challenge. Patrice designs and guides student field studies internationally and domestically traveling far and wide creating opportunities for students to experience other people and places. Patrice is an active steering committee member of the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education promoting geographic education by providing resources and opportunities for educators.  She participated in the Fulbright Japan-United States Teacher Exchange for the Education for Sustainable Development in 2012 traveling across Japan and collaborating with teachers.  The School of Environmental Studies is the only high school accredited as an official delegate to the Conference of the Parties and she accompanied 10 students to the International Conference on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico for the 16th Conference of the Parties in December of 2010.  Patrice holds a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Teaching from the University of St. Thomas.

Michael ElstonborderMichael Elston

Michael Elston works on Partnerships and Community Relations for FAIR School,  a public fine arts magnet school part of the West Metro Education Program integration district. FAIR School focuses on the integration of arts into core curriculum and leverages community partnerships to create a rich environment for students to engage in learning, and pursue opportunities aligned with their passions. In his nine years with FAIR, Mr. Elston has been instrumental helping to shape the vision of the school, and translating that vision into successful and sustainable programming and opportunities for FAIR students. Mr. Elston has served on numerous leadership committees, and has presented for FAIR at both the local and national level. Currently, Mr. Elston develops and coordinates all FAIR + programming, FAIR’s award winning outside-of-school-time partnership program.  By creating and sustaining partnerships with local businesses, educational institutions, and the vibrant arts community of Downtown Minneapolis, Mr. Elston helps to ensure that the FAIR student experience is exceptional. Mr. Elston holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and was awarded the TIES Teacher of Excellence Award in 2008.

Rev Hillstrom 2borderRev Hillstrom

Dr. Hillstrom has had to learn how to navigate multiple worlds, as a person of both Indigenous and European decent.  Formal studies in American Indian studies and western classical music opened up several pathways to explore both Indigenous and European culture. His graduate studies in ethnomusicology and his doctorate in education have provided a deep foundation to engage learners with his passion for empowering people to purse their own pathways of liberation and transformation.

As an educator Dr. Hillstrom blends creativity and culture into a transformative learning experience for all students of all races, ethnicities, genders, ages and social economic status. Dr. Hillstrom’s career as a leader in race equity and educational excellence has allowed him to serves his community by working with several organizations including: Saint Paul Public Schools Equity Department, the Minnesota Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development the Global Learning Advisory Board for the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation, the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership and as a consultant for the Pacific Educational Group and World Savvy.

His Indigenous worldview, artistic talents, and sincere generosity engage learners at their very core. Dr. Hillstrom’s approach to education connects intuitive insight with intrinsic values of participates to create a true learning experiences. From Kindergarten to graduate school, Dr. Hillstrom has shared his gifts challenging learners to grow in their understanding of who they are and what their relationship is with the world around them.


Bob Manningborder2Bob Manning

Bob Manning is the founder and president of Global Perspective.  His 19 years of experience as an educator combined with creating and conducting customized seminars for multinational corporations gives him a unique perspective on training a 21st Century workforce. He has helped employees ranging from Fortune 50 to small and mid-sized organizations see the world from a different perspective, acquire the tools to work more effectively across cultures, and gain the mindset needed to be global leaders.  He has taught in the United States and overseas, including an American corporation’s offshore facility in Bangalore, India.

Mr. Manning holds a Masters in Teaching from the University of St. Thomas and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from St. John’s University.  He has served on various boards including the Minnesota International Center, Business School Advisory Board for Rasmussen College, and is an active member of the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education based at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Manning is a certified Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) consultant, able to administer and interpret the IDI.

Melanie NafzigerborderMelanie Peterson-Nafziger

Melanie Peterson-Nafziger graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in foreign studies. During college she worked with a women’s art and community development cooperative and the World Food Programme in rural Kenya for six months. She earn a master’s from the University of Colorado -Boulder with a research emphasis in geography focused on international development and food security policies in Ethiopia and Uganda. She subsequently received her grades 5-12 social studies license while earning a Master’s of Arts in Instruction from Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota.  Melanie is co-chair of the Environment Committee and serves on the Board of Saint Paul’s Macalester Groveland District Council where she founded environmental programs that encourage walking and biking and a program which enables community members to pay a small fee for organics collection to convert up to one-third of their solid waste into compost.

Melanie currently teaches IB 20th Century World History and also serves as the IB and Creativity-Action-Service (CAS) coordinator where she supports 85 students in planning yearly activities and internships.

Sharon ShelerudborderSharon Shelerud

Sharon Shelerud has been teaching or 30 years in the Burnsville School District in Minnesota. She is currently a Social Studies Curriculum Lead for the District, a member of the Teacher Evaluation Team and a member of the ISD 191 Technology Cohort.  Sharon was instrumental in developing the Human Geography and AP Human Geography high school courses in Burnsville.  She is also currently an adjunct professor at Augsburg College, where she teaching Human Geography to those majoring in Education.  Sharon received her undergraduate degree in Social Studies and her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota.  She currently completed a certificate in distance learning from the Learning Media Technologies Department at the University of Minnesota.

Sharon has been very active in the development of the Links to Geoliteracy project that is sponsored by the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE).  This project is designed to help ensure the Minnesota High School Geography Standards are being taught in the most effective way possible.  It is also designed to help teachers develop their Human Geography course curriculum. Sharon is also the co-chair of MAGE’s Strategic Planning Committee, the coordinator of the High School Round Tables. Sharon has presented at NCGE and MCSS multiple times. She has hosted NCGE webinar’s on teaching AP to 9th graders.  She has been a Reader and Table Leader at the AP Reading the last fours, where she also presented lessons and wrote curriculum for a Teaching Africa project.  Sharon has also written lessons for MAGE, the AP Reading CD, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Austrian Studies, AP lessons for the Minnesota Department of Education and multiple lessons for Geographische Rundschau Journal International Edition, Westermann Publishing.