Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “We are not the makers of history. We are made by history.”

At Gould, students become critical thinkers who use history as a tool to better understand their own cultural identity and the interconnectedness of civilizations around the world and across centuries. In the upper grades, Gould’s history curriculum challenges students to broaden their historical and cultural appreciation through electives and AP courses. Throughout the curriculum, students learn research methods that empower them to think critically and make solid arguments.

Departmental Requirements:

Three years, to include U.S. History (generally taken during a student’s eleventh-grade year).

Embedded Honors:
All courses that are not AP History have the Embedded Honors option.  Students who are interested in further challenging themselves can earn honors credit by completing a significantly more demanding version of an assignment each term.

History Courses Include:

Human Geography

Geography dramatically shapes our cultural identity as human beings. Human Geography will focus on learning to understand world cultures from many different perspectives. Strong emphasis will also be given to questions of place. What does it mean to be in a certain location? How does that location impact identity? How do people find ways to comprehend place? In conjunction with the English department, we will consider these questions both from a geographic and a literary perspective.

(Ninth grade requirement)

The West and the World – World History

This course will study the major civilizations which have developed around the world over the last several thousand years, with a focus on the way in which Western Civilization has emerged and developed in the context of cultures and civilizations around the globe.

(Tenth grade requirement)

United States History

United States History offers an opportunity to study the life of the Republic, from its colonial beginnings to the present. During this exploration, we will not only focus on the who, what and wheres of United States History, but most importantly, the whys, looking at factors that contributed to the outcomes of pivotal events in the country’s history. We will also work at improving and mastering the skill of writing research papers. Students will complete three research papers over the course of the year, with the last culminating in a 15-minute presentation over the topic selected. This course is required of all 11th grade (and older) students who have yet to satisfy departmental credit requirements. It is also a prerequisite for department electives.

AP United States History

This year-long course will introduce students to college-level study of American history as well as prepare them for the AP United States history exam in May. Primary source readings, individual research, group discussion, and debate are combined in each unit to develop the ability to think, speak, and write critically about United States history. Major course themes include the development of American identities, American exceptionalism, law and social change, war and diplomacy, the evolving meaning of the Constitution, environmental change, art and literature as expressive of the American experience, and the rise of the United States as a global power. Course themes act as touchstones for discussion, writing, and analysis in each unit of study. Students will be expected to take the United States History AP exam in May. Students will be expected to take the AP U.S. History exam in May.

History of Indigenous Peoples of America

History of Indigenous Peoples of America traces the changes and influences of Native American peoples beginning with the Columbian exchange through the formation of the United States, and contemporary sociology. Students will examine political and legal policies, rights, demography, boundaries and land, identity, and environmental concerns throughout US history with secondary, primary, and personal resources.

Critical Readings on Genocide

This course will cover some of the theoretical explanations for the causes of genocide, discuss the philosophical implications of genocide in relation to human nature and world politics, and review historical events. The course will conclude with students creating case studies on other instances of genocide in the 20th century.

History of the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was the longest war in American history, and likely the least understood. This course will introduce students to the causes of the war, perspectives on the war itself, and the legacy of the war for Americans today.

Maine History

Maine is a place of beauty, rich in history and has a culture all its own. In this class, we will examine the history and development of this state, looking at the days of the early native inhabitants to the modern day issues facing the state. When studying the larger issues, we will often look at Northern Oxford County and the Bethel area as case studies of how the state was affected by the many issues that were playing out at the state and national levels. We will also examine the lore and tradition of the local history of Bethel and Gould Academy, using the resources housed at the Bethel Historical Society and the school.

Global Migrations

The movement of people across borders is a central political issue throughout the world. In North and South, East and West, the issue of migration is a controversial one that has at times even become the focus of violence. The movement of people from their homelands into other parts of the world changes the migrants themselves as well as the receiving communities. We will examine diverse cases of migration from around the globe as well as make connections to immigrant communities close by here in Maine with the goal of creating oral histories recounting the migration to and settlement in our region. We will use a range of texts, including journalistic accounts, academic writings, fiction, films, and lastly, the words of migrants themselves in order to study migration from both a structural and a local perspective.

Baseball and American Culture

This course will cover the history of baseball and how it can be connected to other major themes in United States History. The course will cover roughly the last 100 years of the game and making connections with topics such as the origins of the game, how the corruption of the early 20th century affected the game, baseball in the ’20s and ’30s, baseball and World Wars, racism in baseball, and other selected topics.

Eastern Philosophy

This course will explore Eastern thought and philosophy through the study of two of the world’s largest religions: Buddhism and Hinduism. Our study of Buddhism will focus on the life of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama. We will spend quite a bit of time studying the doctrines he left behind and how Buddhists continue to find ways to “meet” the Buddha in his absence. As we follow the spread of Buddhism, we will begin to see how the path to reaching enlightenment varies between different traditions. As we transition to study Hinduism, we will continue to look to Buddhism to understand the similarities and differences between the two religions. We will consider the various gods of Hinduism and the often polarizing path to enlightenment. Throughout our studies, we will explore the rituals, practices, and beliefs that make these “lived” religions. We will read mantras, consider yoga and meditation, and the beautiful and sometimes troubling practices of both beliefs. Our essential question for the course will be: What does it mean to be enlightened? The course will culminate in a final research project where students will dive deeper into a topic that has sparked their interest.

History Department Faculty

Katie Stack

B.A. St. Lawrence University
M.S. University of New England
Director of Advising and Wellness
Humanities Department Chair
Ski Patrol


Mrs. Stack teaches 10th grade West and the World and 11th grade U.S. History. In all of Mrs. Stack’s classes and programs, her goal is to seamlessly incorporate technology, differentiation, the writing process, and focused discussion methods as part of the core curriculum. In addition to teaching, she is an advisor and facilitates the Ski Patrol Program. Mrs. Stack lives off campus with her husband, Brian, their daughter, Gwen, and son, Preston. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, knitting, and escaping to the coast in the summer.

Brad Clarke

Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning
B.A. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Ph.D. Brandeis University
Cross Country Running Coach
Nordic Team Coach


Dr. Clarke has been teaching and coaching at Gould for over twenty years.  Over the years he has taught many courses including AP Comparative Government, AP US History, Eastern Philosophy, Psychology, and Dylan and American Culture. In his time at Gould, he has coached a variety of sports including baseball, basketball, softball, cross country, mountain biking, road cycling, and Nordic skiing.

In Dr. Clarke’s spare time he enjoys climbing mountains with his corgis, listening to music, collecting vinyl, and doing crossword puzzles. He likes long walks on the beach and has a soft side for the Carpenters, especially “Rainy Days and Mondays.” He lives in Bethel with his wife Beth, the principal of Agnes Gray Elementary School in West Paris. They have four children, Jeb ’12, Aiden ’15, Caleb ’16, and Liv ’19, who continue to amaze and inspire them.

Robert Manning

B.A. St. Lawrence University
M.A. Tufts University
Dean of Community Life
History Teacher
Ski Patrol Program Co-Director


Mr. Manning has over 30 years of experience in the classroom. A gifted speaker, he is a dramatic presence in the classroom. His energetic discussions are engaging and can often be heard into the halls and nearby classrooms. Aside from being a dedicated and talented teacher, Mr. Manning is dedicated to the seven-day boarding school tradition where students come first, whether it be in the classroom, on the athletic fields, or in the dormitory. When not teaching Mr. Manning can be found on the mountain with the Ski Patrol Program, teaching students the ins and outs of mountain operations and wilderness medicine. He lives on campus in the Hutchinson House with his wife, Denise, and their campus therapy dog, Mookie. Their son, Alec ’14 played baseball at Kenyon College.

Colin Penley

B.A. Middlebury College
Associate Dean of Students
History Teacher/World Languages Teacher
Holden Hall Dorm Head

Fall Drama Director

Mr. Penley, a Bethel almost-native, loves living in this beautiful corner of the world. A teacher in the History and World Languages departments, who also works in the Dean of Students Office, he is excited to work with students in a wide variety of settings. He loves to travel and tries to use every chance he gets to see new places, experience new cultures, and learn a little more about the world in which we live. He has traveled to China many times, both for personal study of language and teaching pedagogy and as a leader with students. Mr. Penley also runs Holden Hall, one of the two boys’ dormitories on campus. In addition to his work as a teacher, dorm parent, and advisor, he helps direct the fall theater production. He has lived in a dormitory continuously for more than half of his life, having first lived in a dorm at age 14.