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Wake Forest Teacher Named One of 17 America 250 NC Freedom Fellows

Wake Forest Charter Academy Eighth Grade Teacher Simonae Williams has been chosen as one of just 17 educators throughout North Carolina as an inaugural America 250 NC Freedom Fellow. This group of teachers will take part in a professional development initiative for K-12 educators marking the approaching 250th anniversary in 2026 of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Eighth Grade Teacher Simonae Williams
“This fellowship will provide teachers with tools and resources to help students understand our state’s unique and diverse history and the important role it played in the American Revolution,” said Reid Wilson, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Throughout four in-person meetings and three virtual meetings, the programming will examine how North Carolinians have continued to engage with the topics of freedom, civic responsibility, and the ideals of democracy throughout the last 250 years.

Williams will seize the unique opportunity as a chance to deepen her historical knowledge of complex histories, while exploring best practices for engaging students in comprehensive and culturally responsive narratives of the past. It’s this kind of advancement that has helped WFCA outperform the local district for the past seven years.

The fellowship will also provide an equally important pathway for K-12 educators to engage in a professional community of teaching and learning, network with other historians, scholars, and authors from around the state, and engage their own expertise as they advise others from around the state.

"I am thrilled to have this opportunity, as the A250 Fellowship opens the door to explore the vast and fascinating history of North Carolina,” Williams said. “Working alongside talented peers provides a collaborative space to unearth innovative ways of engagement, ultimately enriching the learning experience for my students."
The fellowship will center on educator development in the following four categories:
  • Content Knowledge:  Deepen understanding of North Carolina’s diverse history, people, and events, with a focus on the ongoing struggle for various freedoms, through place-based engagements at historic sites across the state; interaction with historians and authors; experiential activities; tours; general exploration of the themes of freedom and ongoing freedom struggles; and more.
  • Pedagogy:  Share and further develop best practices that most effectively engage students in a comprehensive, effective, and culturally responsible history education, with a focus on categories such as local/place-based learning; primary sources; the integration of arts and cultural experiences; critical thinking; and meaningful discussion.
  • Serving as Expert Advisors: Provide expertise to the State A250 Education Committee on how best to engage teachers and students around the state, as well as how to make historic sites/spaces, exhibits, resources, etc. more effective and interactive for maximizing K-12 teaching and learning.
  • Networking & Collaboration: Cultivate relationships with educators from around the state, forming a collaborative cohort of resources and support. Fellows will also receive special access to/notice of other A250 opportunities such as classroom grants, potential classroom visitors, etc.
This collaborative fellowship will help Ms. Williams foster a deeper understanding of North Carolina's history and will support educators around the state in inspiring the next generation of engaged and informed leaders.

Congratulations on this special honor, Simonae!

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About Wake Forest Charter Academy:
Wake Forest Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Wake Forest, North Carolina, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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