Virginia Civics Operating Board
VA Civics is governed and operated by a dedicated team of civic education experts and enthusiasts.
Jen Patja Howell has dedicated her career to strengthening constitutional self-government through her work with the Center for Civic Education and Montpelier’s Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, where she served as Deputy Director. She is the producer and editor of “Rational Security,” a weekly foreign policy and national security roundup; “The Lawfare Podcast”; and Eagles, Globes, and Anchors, the podcast of Marine Corps University.
Emily is passionate about making museums relevant to the modern world. At four different museums, she has developed creative approaches to working with adults, families, schools, teachers, and general audiences. As Director of Education at the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier, she develops, delivers, and manages professional development programming for teachers focused on modern constitutional issues.
Dr. Bell is Professor of Political Science and Dean of Academic Affairs at Randolph-Macon College. She is a former American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow on the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary and a former United States Supreme Court fellow at the United States Sentencing Commission in Washington, DC, as well as the author of numerous books and academic articles.
Kelly Carmichael Booz is the Manager of Online Resources and Dissemination for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), overseeing the AFT’s PreK-12 publications and digital content through Share My Lesson and AFT’s E-Learning. Kelly is currently a member of the Alexandria City School Board, where she also served from 2013–2015.
Jennifer Hoffman’s career path has led her to James Madison’s Montpelier three different times, thus James Madison’s words and writings have been a constant backdrop in her life. Jennifer has held multiple event planning jobs over her career. While working at the Association of Social Work Boards as their Convention & Meetings Manager, she served as primary staff of the Program & Education Committee, assisting them to select suitable themes and speakers for the Association’s annual education meeting.
Russell Riley, associate professor and co-chair of the Miller Center’s Presidential Oral History Program, is one of the nation’s foremost authorities on elite oral history interviewing and on the contemporary American presidency. He has logged more than 1,000 hours of in-depth, confidential interviews with cabinet officers and senior members of the White House staff reaching back to the Carter and Reagan administrations.
Bill Shields is a native of Charleston, West Virginia. In 1967, he received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In 1974, he graduated with his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia Law School. Mr. Shields has nearly 40 years of civil litigation experience. His practice is concentrated in the areas of personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice, workers' compensation and criminal law.
Joe Valenti is a public policy researcher and advocate with a focus on consumer and economic issues, currently working for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, DC. He previously served as a senior policy advisor with the AARP Public Policy Institute, and prior to that was the director of consumer finance at the Center for American Progress.