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.

Summer Reading

Download the Summer Reading Assignment

Departmental Requirements:

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

History Course Classes 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)

Human Geography Honors Designation

Students who are interested in further challenging themselves within the course and earning honors credit can participate in the Honors program. The assignments in the Honors program are designed to demand deeper academic work related to the material being studied that term within the history curriculum.

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)

The West and the World Honors Designation

Students who are interested in further challenging themselves within the course and earning honors credit can participate in the Honors program. The assignments in the Honors program are designed to demand deeper academic work related to the material being studied that term within the history curriculum.

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 eleventh grade students 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 may enroll in the course only with departmental approval.)

AP Government and Politics: Comparative

This course is designed to introduce students to comparative politics through studying the diversity of governments in a global context. The comparative method is used to analyze the governments of the Britain, France, Russia, China, Nigeria, Iran and the United States, among others. Current global political events are utilized to keep the course relevant to world affairs. As our world grows smaller with technological advances and increased economic ties between nations, it becomes increasingly important that we understand politics in such a comparative and global context. Students enrolled in this course will be expected to take the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam. (Students may enroll in the course only with departmental approval.)

Critical Readings on the American Myth

Historian C. Vann Woodward wrote: “Every self-conscious group of any size fabricates myths about the past: about its origins, its mission, its righteousness, its benevolence, its general superiority.” Americans are no exception. Myths inform the image that Americans have of themselves and their country. In this course we will interrogate the meaning of the major myths that sustain and inform American culture and civilization, both past and present. By better understanding the place of myth in culture, we will arrive at a more complete understanding of American social structure and the place of various cultural groups within it. Readings for the course will include Rereading America by Colombo et al., Myths America Lives By from Richard Hughes, and Mythologies by Roland Barthes.

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.

Critical Readings in History: Art and Architecture

This course provides an opportunity to observe and analyze the evolution of fine art and architecture from the prehistoric period to the beginning of the Renaissance. A chronology of the major works in the Western tradition are presented and students develop the critical and analytical tools to discuss the historical, religious and cultural circumstances in which they were produced. This course continues in the spring trimester with History of Art: Renaissance to the Present. Students may take either or both terms.

Research Methods: Law and Society

This course will revolve around a specific legal case. During Phase I of the course students will be introduced to their case, research legal and social issues associated with the case, and write and present position briefs regarding these issues. Parallel to this work students will learn the elements of mock trial law and procedure necessary to conduct the the trial of the legal case. During phase II, students will take on specific witness and attorney roles, work as defense/respondent or prosecution/plaintiff teams to develop case strategy and write their direct and cross examinations and opening and closing statements. Outside attorneys will also work with students in this phase of the course. The final trial will be public and judged by a panel of local attorneys.

Research Methods: 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.

Research Methods: 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.

Research Methods: Art and Architecture

This course provides an opportunity to observe and analyze the evolution of fine art and architecture from the end of the Renaissance to the present. A chronology of the major works in the Western tradition are presented, and students develop the critical and analytical tools to discuss the historical, religious and cultural circumstances in which they were produced.

Presenting Great Decisions

This is a current events course that will focus on eight issues of concern to current US foreign policy, issues that represent foreign policy challenges of tomorrow. The topics of study will include: United States and rising global powers, Afghanistan/Pakistan, energy & the global economy, the Arctic, United States and Egypt, global food supply, Cuba after Castro, and universal human rights. Students will maintain websites devoted to one of the eight areas of study.

Presenting the History of Baseball

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 20’s and 30’s, baseball and World Wars, racism in baseball, and other selected topics.

Presenting the History of Sustainable Maine Industry

This course will be divided into two halves. The first half of the course students will focus on the longevity and importance of the Maine woolen fiber industry. We will look at the history of sheep farms, textile mills, and wool production in the state and how it has proved to a sustainable industry. The second half of the course students will research and report on an industry of their choice. The course will commence with a final written and visual project on each student’s industry.

Presenting Psychology

This elective is an introduction to evolutionary psychology. Students will read, write, think, and talk about how the miracle of the human mind has evolved and paradoxically how its function today is strongly linked to our evolutionary past.


History Department Faculty

Dr. Brad Clarke

Associate Dean of Academics
History Department Chair
B.A. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Ph.D. Brandeis University
Cross Country Running Coach
Nordic Team Coach


Dr. Clarke has been teaching at Gould for over 15 years. Prior to Gould he was a visiting instructor at Mount Holyoke College, a teaching assistant at Brandeis University and Harvard University, and a research assistant at Harvard. At Gould, Dr. Clarke’s  many classes include AP Government and AP United States History. He loves trail running, Nordic skiing, playing baseball, his record collection, house painting, the Bethel Outing Club (he is the former president), and coaching youth sports. The rest of the time is spent catching his breath. Dr. Clarke and his wife, Elizabeth, live in Bethel and have four children: Jeb ’12, Aiden ’15, Caleb ’16, and Livy ‘19.

Mike Lowe

Dean of Community Life
U.S. Naval Academy, B.S.
U.S. Naval War College, M.S.
Boys’ Varsity Soccer Head Coach


After serving more than 20 years in the United States Navy, Mr. Lowe has embarked on a second career helping the students of Gould reach their potential, in the classroom, on the sports field, and within their community. As a Professional Intelligence Officer Mr. Lowe will bring a unique perspective to Gould Academy helping students relate theoretical classroom time to practical real life experience. Mr. Lowe graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in Economics and a Master’s Degree from the U.S. Naval War college in Strategic Studies. In his free time, Mr. Lowe is competitive cyclist that also skis, hikes, runs and generally spends time outdoors to enjoy all life has to offer. Mr. Lowe lives in Gehring Dorm with his wife Rebecca and two dogs and two cats. Mr. Lowe is also the head Boy’s varsity soccer coach at Gould. Coach Lowe has more than 20 years of competitive playing experience. He started playing soccer at the age of 4, and culminated his soccer career playing for USNA earning 2nd Team All Patriot League Honors at the Division 1 level. Coach Lowe was one of two players selected to be assistant coaches at the Naval Academy following their senior year. Coach Lowe knows the value of teamwork, and will push his student athletes to be the best versions of themselves on and off the field.

Robert Manning

History Teacher
B.A. St Lawrence UniversityTufts University
M.A.Tufts University
Baseball Head Coach
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. In the Spring, he is on the baseball field coaching the Boys’ Varsity Team, meticulously maintaining the diamond between games. Mr. Manning lives on campus in the Hutchinson House with wife, Denise, and dog, Luna. Their son, Alec ‘14 is currently attending and playing baseball at Kenyon College.

Alec Newell ’88

History Teacher
B.A. Hobart William and Smith
Golf Head Coach
Boys’ Varsity Baseball Coach


Mr. Newell grew up on-campus as the son of Mr. Charlie Newell, the legendary Gould teacher, coach, and dorm head. Now as a faculty member (and 1988 Gould grad), Mr. Newell has a knack for finding the story in any historic moment and making that story come alive for his students. Before Gould, he taught at Telstar High School, the regional high school here in Bethel, where he was named “Teacher of the Year” by their student council in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Mr. Newell served as the Athletic Director and English/History teacher at Kents Hill School for eight years, where he was honored with “Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year” in 2000 by the Central Maine Newspapers. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, sports collectibles, and playing the harmonica. Mr. Newell lives off campus with his wife, Lynn, a local primary school educator, and their two daughters, Caroline and Emma.

Colin Penley

History Teacher
World Languages Teacher
Associate Dean of Students.
Holden Hall Dorm Head

B.A. Middlebury College
Fall Drama Director


Mr. Penley, a teacher in the History and World Languages departments, has traveled to China to study Chinese language and language pedagogy extensively. He 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 play. During the winter he runs the Rugrats Instruction, Learn to Ski & Ride, and Maine Adaptive programs. He has lived in a dormitory since age 14, making this his 17th straight year living in a dorm setting. An avid world traveler, Mr. Penley enjoys sharing his experiences with students both in the classroom and around the world.

Savannah Sessions

Teaching Librarian – History
B.A. Smith College
Girls’ Varsity Soccer Coach


Ms. Sessions grew up in the nearby town of Norway, Maine. After graduating from Smith, she dabbled in jobs ranging from dairy farming to banking, but found her true vocation working with adolescents (turns out…dairy farming and banking are actually not irrelevant to working at Gould!). Ms. Sessions started her tenure in the College Counseling Center and later transitioned to teaching history. She now spends her class days in the library or in the classroom with her ninth grade students. After school, time spent on the soccer field or cross country ski trails gives Ms. Sessions great joy. She loves living in Davidson with her best canine pal Loki, singing/making music, and trying to be an active member of the Greater Bethel Community.

Katie Stack

English Studies Teacher
B.A. St. Lawrence University
M.S. University of New England
Fall Equestrian
Spring Outing Club
Tenth Grade Program


Mrs. Stack teaches ninth grade Human Geography and tenth grade West and the World. She also manages the Tenth Grade Program, which focuses on supporting students as they transition into young adults, using service learning as the vehicle to encourage their understanding of the bigger world and their place in the Gould community. 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 helps with the Equestrian Team. Mrs. Stack lives off campus with her husband, Brian, their daughter, Gwen, and son, Preston. In her free time she enjoys being outside and playing with her children in the sandbox.