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.

History and English 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).

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.

AP United States Government and Politics: Comparative

AP U.S. Government and Politics provides a college-level, nonpartisan introduction to key political concepts, ideas, institutions, policies, interactions, roles, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political culture of the United States. Students will study U.S. foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, and other texts and visuals to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions among political institutions, processes, and behaviors. They will also engage in disciplinary practices that require them to read and interpret data, make comparisons and applications, and develop evidence-based arguments. In addition, they will complete a political science research or applied civics project. Students will be expected to take the AP U.S. Government exam in May.

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.

Latin America

Interdisciplinary introduction to contemporary Latin America, drawing on films, literature, popular press accounts, and scholarly research. Topics include economic development, ethnic and racial identity, religion, revolution, democracy, cycles of political change, the legacies of conquest, changing roles of women, and expressions of popular culture.  Examples draw on a range of countries in the region, especially Mexico, Ecuador, Columbia, and Venezuela. Assignments will include weekly writing, discussion, presentation, research, and debate.

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: 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.

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.

History Department Faculty

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.

Alec Newell ’88

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


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), he 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 Boy’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 ’20 and Emma.

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.
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.