The Bill of Rights Institute Team

David J. Bobb, Ph.D., President

David joined the Bill of Rights Institute in December 2013.  Previously he was the founding director of two national centers for Hillsdale College, the Washington-based Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, and the Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence, a civic education program. From 2001 to 2013 he also was a lecturer in politics at Hillsdale College.

David is the author of Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue (Thomas Nelson, 2013) and a contributing editor to The U.S. Constitution: A Reader (Hillsdale College Press, 2012). He has written articles and reviews for the Wall Street JournalWashington TimesBoston Herald, Claremont Review of BooksPerspectives on Political Science, and the American Spectator, among other publications. He has spoken widely to audiences in twenty-five states on topics including education reform, civic engagement, and the American Constitution.  He earned his Ph.D. in political science from Boston College.

 

Michelle Griffes, Vice President of Education

Michelle directs the writing and editing of Institute curriculum resources. She also manages the co-sponsored Liberty Fund colloquia for teachers. Michelle graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Social Science–Public Policy Studies. She received K-12 Teacher Certification in Social Studies, History, and Political Science from Olivet College. Prior to working at the Institute, Michelle interned on Capitol Hill and worked as a teacher in Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia. She is originally from Grand Ledge, Michigan.

Michelle was drawn to the Institute because she believes that educating the leaders of the future about founding and constitutional principles is a fundamental part of continuing to secure liberty in the future.

 

Gennie Westbrook, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development

Gennie leads the Institute’s Professional Development team and collaborates in curriculum creation.  Since joining The Bill of Rights Institute in 2007, she has conducted over 200 constitutional seminars for teachers around the nation and has participated in development of several new books.  Prior to that time, Gennie enjoyed a long career as a teacher of U.S. History, AP U.S. History, We the People advanced U.S. Government, World History, Geography, Sociology, and other social studies courses at Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca, Texas. She also often served as a presenter at Texas Law-Related Education conventions and workshops. Gennie is a 2000 Madison Fellow from Texas, and received her MA in Political Science from Virginia Tech’s online program in 2003. Gennie earned her MA in Education with certification in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Houston-Victoria, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Education with composite Social Studies certification from Texas State University in San Marcos. Gennie is glad to work here because of her own teaching experience with our curriculum. “As a former teacher, I love sharing resources that I know to be useful and valuable because I used them myself in the classroom. It is a privilege to work with awesome and dedicated teachers all over the country.”

 

Cynthia Bader, Professional Development Instructor

Cynthia develops curricula and conducts professional seminars for history, government, and economics teachers. She made the move from the classroom to the Bill of Rights Institute because of her deep belief that middle and high school students are particularly primed to appreciate our nation’s founding principles and her genuine delight in supporting and affirming fellow teachers. Cynthia brings to the Institute educational experience in the United Kingdom, Michigan, Virginia, and Washington, DC, as well as service on school boards and as the chairman of the curriculum committee of a school in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

In addition to developing expertise in educational and non-profit management, she wrote the curricula for her own classroom, coached teachers in curricula writing and implementation, and led professional development workshops. She has been married for 22 years and is close to having survived parenting two teenagers; she has one in college and one in high school.

 

Laura Vlk, Manager of Programs & Events

Laura manages the Institute’s professional development workshops and the Constitutional Academy. Those interested in bringing a Bill of Rights Institute professional development workshop to their district or school should contact Laura.

She graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a degree in Business Management and has spent her years since college working in a number of other non-profit organizations including the American Cancer Society and the Council for National Policy. She enjoys all things related to event planning and loves that she can bring this passion to the Institute team. She lives with her U.S. History teacher husband Alex in Williamsburg, Virginia.