Maia Sheppard

Maia Sheppard
Assistant Professor, Curriculum & Pedagogy; Social Studies
(202) 994-3236

Maia Sheppard is Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Pedagogy with a focus in Social Studies Education, and Coordinator of the Secondary Education Program at the George Washington University. Dr. Sheppard’s research focuses on the difficult nature of teaching and learning about the past and examines the role of emotions in social studies education.

As a teacher educator, Dr. Sheppard works to develop pre-service teachers’ skills in community-engaged teaching and the professional capacity to advocate for educational approaches that best serve their students’ needs.

Prior to coming to GW, Dr. Sheppard was the founding social studies teacher at a school for immigrants and refugees in the Bronx, taught ESL in Namibia with the Peace Corps, and supported teachers and schools in a range of contexts, from Zambia to Minnesota.


Sheppard, M., & Levy, S. (in press). Emotions and teacher decision-making: An analysis of social studies teachers’ perspectives. Teaching and Teacher Education.

Levy, S. A., & Sheppard, M. (2018). ‘Difficult knowledge’ and the Holocaust in history education. In S. Metzger & L. Harris (Eds.) The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell.

Sheppard, M., Katz, D., & Grosland, T. (2015). Conceptualizing emotions in social studies education. Theory & Research in Social Education, 43 (2), 147-178.

Sheppard, M., & Mayo, J. B., Jr. (2013). The social construction of gender and sexuality: Learning from Two Spirit traditions. The Social Studies, 104 (6), 259-270.

Mayo, J. B., & Sheppard, M. (2012). New social learning from Two Spirit Native Americans. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 36 (3), 263-282.

Sheppard, M. (2010). Creating a caring classroom in which to teach difficult histories. The History Teacher, 43 (3), 411-426.

Sheppard, M. (2010). Difficult histories in an urban classroom (Doctoral dissertation). University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.


Sheppard, M., & Levy, S. (2017). Analyzing emotional rules in two urban history classrooms. Presentation at the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council of the Social Studies Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Jenks, S., & Sheppard, M. (2017). What role should historic sites play in teacher professional development? Presentation at American Association of State and Local History Annual Conference, Austin, TX.

In the News

Dr. Maia Sheppard and Sara Levy, Wells College, co-authored a chapter for the The Wiley International Handbook of History Teaching and Learning, entitled ‘Difficult knowledge’ and the Holocaust in history education.

GSEHD student Kristen McInerey (Ed.D, Curriculum and Instruction) is one of two Knapp Fellowship winners for the 2018-2019 school year. Ms. McInerey is advised by Dr. Maia Sheppard, and her research project focuses on improving outcomes for English Learners. (Learn more about her project in the interview entitled "Knapp Fellowship Winner Kristen McInerney.")
The Steven and Diane Robinson Knapp Fellowship for Entrepreneurial Service-Learning recognizes, rewards, and facilitates creative public service and academic engagement. GW undergraduate or graduate students are selected to design and implement entrepreneurial service-learning projects. Fellows work with the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, a faculty member and may work with other students or community partners to execute a project that makes a significant difference to the lives of others.

Dr. Maia Sheppard co-authored the presentation, “Analyzing Emotional Rules in Two Urban History Classrooms,” at the College and University Faculty Assembly at the Annual Conference of the National Council of the Social Studies in San Francisco, CA.

Dr. Maia Sheppard and Sarah Jenks, Director of Education and Interpretation at Ford's Theatre Society, co-presented on a panel entitled "What Role Should Historic Sites Play in Teacher Professional Development?" at the Annual Conference of the American Association of State and Local History in Austin, TX.

Drs. Tiffany-Rose Sikorski, Maia Sheppard, Curtis Pyke, and Jonathan Eakle were awarded a Collaboration Grant from 100Kin10 for their ongoing work with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Loyola University Chicago to find better ways to link university-based teacher preparation programs with museums and cultural institutions.