Academy Educators & Staff

The National History Academy’s leadership team is comprised of leaders in education and history.


William W. Sellers

President and CEO, National History Academy

William Sellers - National History AcademyWilliam W. Sellers serves as the President of National History Academy and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  He has deep experience in education.  From 2008 to 2013, he served as President of Wentworth Military Academy and College in Lexington, MO, founded in 1880. Sellers received a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from Harvard University, where he studied under David Herbert Donald and Bernard Bailyn, and a law degree from the University of Missouri. Sellers has served in leadership roles in a broad range of organizations. Among other positions, he has served as President of the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States; on the Presidential Advisory Committee to Missouri’s Coordinating Board of Higher Education; on the Board of Trustees of the State Historical Society of Missouri; and on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Alumni Association. Sellers has spent the last two years building the National History Academy into the preeminent summer history program in the country.

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Michelle Burrelli

Chief Operating Officer, National History Academy

Michelle Burrelli is the Chief Operating Officer of the National History Academy and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. Michelle holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Illinois and a Master’s degree in Museum and Gallery Studies from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She has been with the Journey since 2010 and held positions ranging from Director of Regional and Strategic Partnerships to Director of the National Heritage Area to, now, COO. Michelle has been involved in every program and initiative the Journey has run over the past eight years, and is excited to play a major role in creating the National History Academy.

Stuart A. Haney

Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area

Mr. Haney is an attorney, previously served as in house counsel to Jack Kent Cooke and co-executor of his estate, and formerly as President and COO of Salamander Farms. He currently serves as a founding board member of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and on the board of the Gettysburg Foundation. Originally from Topeka, Kansas, he holds a LLM in Tax from Georgetown University and a JD from Washburn University school of Law. He received his BS in Hotel Administration from the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. Stuart and his wife, Paula, have lived in Northern Virginia since 1983, and currently reside in Leesburg, VA with their son, Colton.


Master Teachers

James A. Percoco

Lead Master Teacher

James A. Percoco is a former high school history teacher with 32 years of classroom experience and a national recognition as a leader in the area of history education. The author of three well-received books, Percoco has an active interest in public history and public memory. His book, A Passion for the Past: Creative Teaching of U.S. History received the 2000 James Harvey Robinson Prize from the American Historical Association. In 1993, he was named Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year at the Walt Disney Company American Teacher Awards. That same year, he received the Archivist’s Achievement Award from the National Archives and Records Administration. In 1998, he was named to the ALL – USA TODAY Teacher Team, in 2010 was named as Virginia History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, in part for a project he developed with the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, and in 2011 was elected to the National Teachers Hall of Fame in Emporia, Kansas. In addition to his duties at the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, he also serves as the Teacher-in-Residence for the Civil War Trust. He was a member of the Advisory Board for the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and serves on the Education Committee for the National Park Service Advisory Board as well as the National Park Service’s Centennial Advisory Board. A dynamic speaker, Percoco often leads teacher tours at numerous historic sites or battlefields, and lectures widely on a variety of issues pertinent to history education.

Strategic Advisors

Dr. Richard B. Dressner

President, Capital Development

Dr. Richard B. Dressner is President of Capital Development, a consulting firm offering capital campaign counsel to museums, historic sites and patriotic organizations. He earned his B.A. from The George Washington University where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and his Ph.D. in American Intellectual History from Cornell University. Dr. Dressner has been a faculty member at Colgate University, Hiram College, and three campuses of the State University of New York.  He taught courses in American cultural, social and intellectual history.  As Historian in Residence at American University, he taught a graduate course in administration and interpretation of historic sites. He also served as Associate Vice President for Advancement at the State University of New York at Albany, and Vice President for College Advancement at the SUNY campuses at Buffalo and Geneseo. Dr. Dressner was the Associate Director of George Washington’s Mount Vernon where he helped plan and design a new visitor orientation facility, education center and museum. He led Mount Vernon’s capital campaign which raised $120 million from foundations, corporations and individuals.

Dr. Brent D. Glass

Director Emeritus, Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Brent D. Glass is Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the world’s largest museum devoted to telling the story of America. A national leader in the preservation, interpretation, and promotion of history, Glass is a public historian who pioneered influential oral history and material culture studies, an author, television presence and international speaker on cultural diplomacy and museum management.



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