Meet the CSAA Board of Directors
Dr. Veronica Ent, President
Dr. Veronica Ent chairs the Saint Vincent College Education Department in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and teaches graduate courses in instructional technology, curriculum design, and visual thinking and learning. Dr. Ent’s research areas are the evolution of technology and visual media for instruction, human –computer interaction, innovative instructional design and technology, and curriculum. She also is an accomplished equestrian and coach of the college’s intercollegiate equestrian team. Dr. Ent is a member of the International Society for Technology and Education, Association of Education Communications and Technology, and the Association of Teacher Education. She has served as the president of the Country School Association of America since 2013.
Joan Prouty, Vice President and 2021 Conference Co-Chair, and Dale Prouty, Director
Joan and Dale Prouty are long time educators and museum programmers in upstate New York who have enjoyed interacting with youth of all ages. Dale is a retired Elementary School educator who taught in the Slate Valley. Joan is the education coordinator at the Farm Museum and Perkins Hollow Schoolhouse located at the Washington County Fairgrounds where both work with children’s programs and exhibits. Preparing for the 200th year of New York country schooling in 2012 they worked on locating, photographing and documenting the sites and surviving buildings which were included in their exhibition at The Farm Museum in Greenwich, NY.
They are charter members of the Country School Association of America and both serve on its Board of Directors. They have presented at various local and national conferences and in 2015 they hosted the CSAA National Conference at Saratoga Springs, New York.
Other historic interests include the Washington County Historical Society, the Hebron Preservation Society and the Association of Living History Farms And Museums. (ALHFAM). Dale served as a member of the Washington County Advisory Council on Historic Preservation where he produced the annual awards booklets.
Since becoming members of the Country School Association of America, visitations to various historic sites have given them the opportunity to note the great variety of student slates that had been available to young scholars a century ago
Dr. Mary Outlaw, Secretary
Beginning her career in the elementary classroom, Dr. Mary Outlaw gained valuable experience that served her well as she earned advanced degrees and became a professor of education, teaching courses in curriculum and methods for elementary education majors. Her interest in the history of teacher education provided the topic for her dissertation and on-going research. A founding member of the CSAA, she serves as the secretary for the organization, and hosted the 2013 CSAA conference at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.
Maureen O’Connor Leach, Treasurer
Maureen O’Connor Leach has chaired and presented at CSAA conferences since 2007. As the Executive Director for the NSCDA-NJ she oversaw the operation of the oldest (1759) one room schoolhouse on its original site in New Jersey. She presented the living history school program at that site for over 9 years; currently she is involved with the Freehold Township Heritage Society which owns the West Freehold School and the Georgia Road School.
Maureen has been a historic interpreter for over 30 years and has presented a variety of programs at historic schoolhouses throughout the New York/New Jersey area as well as at various local and national conferences. She was appointed to the New Jersey Living History Advisory Council by Governor Corzine and is a Commissioner for the Monmouth County Historical Commission.
Ms. Leach holds a BA in History and a Juris Doctor. She studied women and the law while at Brooklyn Law School, clerked in Family Court, and worked with abused women as a prosecutor. When changing careers to the museum field these interests led her, through course work in historic preservation and the women’s movement in America, to a passion for one room schoolhouses.
Dr. Lucy Townsend, President Emerita and Founding Editor, Country School Journal
Dr. Lucy Townsend earned a Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago. For 23 years, she taught at Northern Illinois University (IL), and for 10 years she also curated the University’s Blackwell History of Education Museum. She is now a retired professor. A founding Country School Association of America board member, she was CSAA executive director from 2006 to 2013. She has authored and edited several books including More Than 200,000 Country Schools: A Guide for Research, Preservation and Education and has published articles, plays, poetry, and curriculum. With Nick Shudak, she founded and was the first editor the Country School Journal.
Liz Ferris, Director and 2022 Conference co-chair
Liz Ferris is a high school special education teacher in Western Pennsylvania. She has a BS in Mathematics, MS in Curriculum and Instruction, MS in Special Education, and Pennsylvania teacher certifications in Mathematics (7-12) and Special Education (N-12). Liz also has held positions as the assistant varsity softball coach, ski club advisor, junior/senior class co-advisor, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) co-advisor, and Student Assistance Program (SAP) team member. She has been a member of CSAA since 2009 after assisting with the annual conference in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Liz enjoys snowboarding, running, gardening, and riding horses.
Susan Fineman, Director, Conference Liaison/Advisor
Susan Fineman is a retired teacher from the Lowell (MA) Public Schools where she taught for 31 years. Upon retirement she became involved with programming at the District #1 Schoolhouse, a restored 1841 one-room school in Nashua, NH, where she lives. She has served as a docent schoolmarm in the school’s 4th grade living history program since 2005 hosting over 1,800 students each year.
A founding member of the Country School Association of America in 2005, Susan has served on the Board of Directors of the CSAA since its official launch in 2006, and has presented at numerous CSAA annual conferences and historical societies on a variety of country school topics. She has published the online CSAA newsletter since 2006 and enjoys photographing schoolhouses across the United States. Susan has chaired two national CSAA conferences in New Hampshire, 2007 and 2017. She also co-chaired the 2021 Virtual Conference on the CSAA website.
Myrna Grove, Director
Myrna Grove’s career in education spanned 35 years as an elementary classroom teacher in Northwest Ohio. She has a B.A. in Education from Manchester University and a Masters degree in Library Science from Kent State University. She has authored four nonfiction books and contributed to three others. Among them is Legacy of One-Room Schools (Masthof Press). Her website is www.mgrovebooks.com .
Since 2002, Myrna has attended the annual Country School Association of America conferences held at various locations in the U. S. She has served on the Board of Directors since 2011 and also serves on three CSAA committees. For a number of years, she conducted one-room school re-enactments in the summer through her county’s historical society in a 1901 frame schoolhouse. Students in grades one through eight dressed in early 1900s clothing and came for a day to experience lessons.
As a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators, Myrna has served her chapter as President. She has been listed in various editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Education and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers since the 1990s.
Sarah Bent, Director and 2025 Conference Chair
In her career with the Monmouth County, NJ Park System, Sarah worked as an historic sites interpreter and supervisor at sites that highlighted historical activities from the late 18th century through the early 20th century. Through her involvement with local and regional history and with the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums - ALHFAM - she met Dale and Joan Prouty, and Maureen Leach, who led her to CSAA. She attended my first conference at St. Vincent's College in Latrobe, PA. Now retired and relocated to Ohio, Sarah remains interested in historic preservation, passionate about accurate, engaging interpretation, and educational history.
Richard and Catharin Lewis, Directors
Richard and Catharin Lewis are charter members of the Country School Association of America and both serve on the Board of Directors; Catharin as the archivist for the organization at our Headquarters location in Texas and Richard as chair of the National Schoolhouse Registry.
Richard has a B.A. in business economics from Hood College, and M.B.A. studies at the Johns Hopkins University. He is a Vietnam veteran who worked 30 years for IBM and 18 more as the manager of the Software Help Desk for the International Space Station at NASA JSC in Houston. Catharin has a B.S. in family and child development from Hood College. After graduation, she was a Director of Christian Education for ten years while raising her children.
In 1993 she co-founded with her husband Richard the West Bay Common School Children’s Museum in League City, Texas, which is now the headquarters of the Country School Association of America. The centerpiece of the museum is a fully restored 1898 one-room schoolhouse where children can step back in time and experience reading, writing, and arithmetic as they did in the 1890s.
Catharin, the director and curator of the museum, developed a “living history” curriculum for museum visitors called the Hands-On-History program. In 1996, she received commendation for her program by the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH). In 1994 she received the Museum Award from the Texas Historical Commission for her accomplishments in interpreting and preserving Texas heritage, and in 2006 she was an inductee into the Pioneers of the State of Texas Hall of Honor.
Richard’s interests include historic preservation and artifact restoration. He was in charge of moving and restored the schoolhouse and considered it just the largest antique he has ever restored.
Christy Nelson, Director and 2022 Conference co-chair
Christy Nelson is Education Director at Summit Historical Society. While at the Society, she has developed living history educational programs for children at the 1883 Dillon Schoolhouse. She has implemented the Moving Day history class for Summit County 4th graders in collaboration with History Colorado, the Colorado state historical society.
Christy is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder in education. She has held numerous educational positions including elementary education in Eagle County, Cairo, Egypt, Hong Kong and Hawaii. Before moving to Summit County, she was a corporate trainer for Motorola.
Christy has developed adult historical programs at Summit Historical Society including Historical Adventure Hikes and Tours and the Pastry & the Past lecture series. She is a full time resident of Breckenridge since 2003, and loves to tell the stories of towns and people of Summit County.
Dr. Kathy Brabson, Director and 2023 Conference Co-chair
Following 35 years as a teacher and principal, Kathy Brabson focuses her retirement interests on early Pennsylvania schooling. She has authored and coauthored several articles about instructional practices of specific country schoolmasters for publications of LancasterHistory and Conestoga Area Historical Society, and she delivered a presentation at the 2019 CSAA conference. Kathy published Life of Thad Stevens: What Part of “All Men Are Created Equal” Do You Not Understand?
Dr. Brabson holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Millersville University, and an M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Pennsylvania State University. She serves on the boards of Conestoga Area Historical Society and Millersville Area Historical Society, and she volunteers weekly at LancasterHistory.
Ginger Shelley, 2023 Conference Co-chair
Ginger Shelley began her education in a country school in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She earned her B.A. from Susquehanna University and an M.L.S. degree from Drexel University. She was catalog and government documents librarian at Millersville University, librarian at Northeast Surrey College of Technology in England and retired as Director of Library Services at LancasterHistory. Her research interests are focused on genealogy and country schools. She is the author of Lancaster County’s One-Room Schools and the History of the Common School Movement. This award-winning book was a collaboration between LancasterHistory and the Willow Valley Camera Club. She looks forward to showcasing the country schools in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania at the 2023 CSAA conference.
William Sherman, Director
William L. Sherman worked for more than 35 years as public relations specialist for the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) is a private advocacy organization representing public education employees. As part of his final work for the ISEA, Sherman coordinated publication of a book on the status of Iowa’s one and two-room country school, “Iowa’s Country Schools: Landmarks of Learning.” Since retiring for ISEA in 2000, Sherman has continued to work for the preservation of Iowa’s remaining country schools. He has also done research on the standard school movement with May Francis, the first woman elected to statewide office in Iowa.
He is a founding member of the CSAA, served 6 years on the State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees, and was a member of the Preservation Iowa Executive Board from 2000 to 2001. Since that time, he has organized annual country school preservation conferences for Preservation Iowa. In 2010, as president of the Polk Historical Society, Sherman coordinated efforts to get a 33 by 4 foot tall mural placed on a wall to help mark the birthplace of Des Moines. Sherman received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Iowa and has taken additional hours of graduate work at Iowa State University. He was accredited by the Public Relations Society of America in 1993. In 2000 he received an award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History for his work on country school preservation. Sherman is married and the father of two grown children. He and his wife live in Des Moines.
Dr. Pam Stover, 2024 Conference Chair and Editor, Country School Journal
As a child, Dr. Pam Stover lived briefly in a one-room school that was converted into a hunting cabin in Michigan. She attended Brick School in rural Beardstown, Illinois in a building that retained a 1920s one-room school as the first grade classroom. But she became interested in how people taught music in one-room schools after finding her grandmother’s music book by Charles Fullerton. This led to writing her dissertation on Teacher preparation, methods and materials for music education in rural and one-room schools in selected areas of the Midwest (1890-1950). She earned her PhD in 2003 from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and continues doing research as a historian of music education both in the US and abroad.
She is now an Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Toledo, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses specializing in teaching methodologies, curriculum, early childhood, research methods and pipe organ. A frequent clinician, she has taught or presented research throughout North America, Europe, Australia, Asia and the Middle East. Stover was the 2020 Fulbright Research Scholar at the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute in Hungary. She was a charter member of the Country School Association of America and serves on the board as Editor of the Country School Journal, and will be hosting the 2023 CSAA conference at the University of Toledo.
Susan Webb is a charter member of CSAA and currently serves on its Board of Directors. Susan has offered presentations for most of the CSAA conferences. The topics for her presentations have ranged from Noah Webster; William McGuffey; Rosenwald Schools; Latta teacher resource books; reward of merit certificates; reenactment lesson plans; early schoolhouse textbooks; and schoolmarm diaries.
Drawing on her more than 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher on all grade levels, and her background of theatre productions, Susan is aware of various methods to draw an audience into a presentation setting. She engages audience members in oral recitations and activities as well as providing members with related printed materials for personal files.
Susan has presented her own one-room school programs School Days with the Traveling Schoolmarm; Masterful McGuffe; A Rosenwald School Primer; Country School Copybook; and Noah Webster to various historical societies, civic clubs, and academic institutions throughout the country. She also presented a one-room school museum program for an international schooling conference in Bremen, Germany.