Who We Are

National Office Staff
Board of Trustees
Advisory Council
NHD Honorary Cabinet
National Office Staff

Cathy Gorn, PhD
Executive Director

Cathy Gorn is the executive director of National History Day (NHD) and an adjunct professor of history at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Dr. Gorn has made numerous presentations on history education at forums for historians and teachers, including the National Council for the Social Studies, the American Historical Association, and the Organization of American Historians. Her publications on teaching history to young people have appeared in several professional journals. In addition, Dr. Gorn has served as editor for more than 25 history curriculum guides and has directed 15 national institutes for teachers of history and social studies. She serves on the White House Historical Association Board of Trustees, the Education Committee of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the Education Committee of the American Bar Association. Dr. Gorn received her B.A. from Kent State University in 1982, and her Ph.D. in history from Case Western Reserve University 1992.

Dr. Gorn joined National History Day in 1984 when the organization was still based in Cleveland, Ohio, and was in its infancy as a national endeavor. Dr. Gorn has held positions of increasing responsibility within the organization. As a member of a small core national office staff, her efforts have fundamentally shaped the evolution of National History Day from a series of contests to a full-fledged, highly acclaimed national academic program.

Kim Fortney
Deputy Director
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Kim Fortney is the deputy director of National History Day (NHD).

She joined NHD in August 2009 after 13 years with the Heritage Center of Lancaster County in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and 19 years as a member of the extended NHD family. As vice president of the Heritage Center of Lancaster County, Kim directed all aspects of educational programming for teachers, students and adults. In her position, she coordinated a thriving regional competition of National History Day and served on the advisory board for National History Day in Pennsylvania. However, her love for NHD began even earlier. While teaching in 1990, she coached students in the creation of NHD entries, and during graduate school in 1995, she judged at a regional competition.

Kim is deeply committed to history education and informal learning and has made a name for herself in the museum education community. She co-edited An Alliance of Spirit: Museum and School Partnerships, published by the American Alliance of Museums in 2010 and was president of the board of directors for the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums from 2008-2010.

Kim has presented on numerous occasions at professional conferences, including the American Alliance of Museums, the American Association for State and Local History, the American Federation of Teachers, the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies and the Middle States Council for the Social Studies. Kim received her M.A. in History and Museum Studies from Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA), 1995, and her B.A. in History and Secondary Education from Westminster College (New Wilmington, PA), 1988.

Lynne O'Hara
Director of Programs
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Amanda Hendrey
Assistant Manager, Programs and Contest
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Gary Pettit
Director of Communications
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Lorena Torres
Finance Manager
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Adrienne Harkness
Associate Director of Contest
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Elaine Koontz
IT Manager
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Erikka Washington
Office and Events Manager
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Board of Trustees

Sarah Aschbrenner
Minnesota Historial Society

David Behring
Wheelchair Foundation

Thomas Downs
Downs Government Affairs

Noralee Frankel

Jon Gillum
Locke Lord LLP

Steven Goldberg
SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.

James F. Harris
University of Maryland

Jeff Hawks
Army Heritage Center Foundation

Julian Hipkins, III
Theodore Roosevelt High School

Richard Kurin
Smithsonian Institution

Celie Niehaus (President)

Richard T. Prasse
Hahn, Loeser and Parks

Joseph Suarez
Booz Allen Hamilton

Jerry Whitfield

Lyric Winik

Advisory Council

Molly Berger
Case Western Reserve University

Beth Boland

Wendy Eagan
World History Association

John Dichtl
American Association for State and Local History

Noralee Frankel

Susan Griffin
National Council for the Social Studies

Justin Jakovac
National Council for History Education

Esther Mackintosh, PhD
Federation of State Humanities Councils

Maria Marable-Bunch
National Archives & Records Administration

Elisabeth M. Marsh, PhD
Organization of American Historians

Lee Ann Potter
Library of Congress

Amy Riegelman
University of Minnesota Libraries

Dana Schaffer
American Historical Association

Philip M. Soergel
University of Maryland

NHD Honorary Cabinet

Ira Berlin
Professor, University of Maryland

Lonnie Bunch
Founding Director, National Museum of African American History and Culture

Ken Burns
Documentary Film Maker

Stockard Channing

Joseph Ellis
Professor, Mount Holyoke College

Paula Giddings
Professor, Smith College

James Horton
Emeritus Professor, George Washington University

Nancy Isenberg
Professor, Louisiana State University

Knight Kiplinger
Publisher, The Kiplinger Report

Jim Lehrer
MacNeil/Lehrer Productions

James McPherson
Emeritus Professor, Princeton University, Pulitzer Prize winner

Cokie Roberts
Journalist and Author

Vicki Ruiz
Professor, University of California, Irvine

Mrinalini Sinha
Professor, University of Michigan

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Professor, Harvard University, Pulitzer Prize winner


NHD has affiliates around the world. These programs are independently sponsored by organizations that coordinate local and state/affiliate level contests where students can compete for the chance to advance to the National Contest. NHD’s states/affiliates also provide programmatic materials and workshops for teachers and students.