Lem Wheeles, a Bill of Rights Institute Teacher Council member from Anchorage, Alaska, has been teaching for seventeen years. Despite having traveled extensively during this time (he’s visited 41 states), Lem has ultimately stayed true to his roots and teaches at his alma mater, A.J. Dimond High School. Lem was inspired to teach by his history teacher, Greg Brown, and in true “full circle” spirit, Lem now teaches AP U.S. History himself, succeeding Greg in the role he held when Lem was one of his students.
In addition to nudging him towards teaching rather than engineering, Lem attributes Greg’s “constant enthusiasm and encouragement in the classroom with fostering his passion for studying our founding documents.” Lem’s love for the founding documents is one of the reasons James Madison is one of his favorite historical figures. Lem marvels at how much Madison had done by age 40 and his central role at the Constitutional Convention, helping to devise the framework for our government.
As an AP teacher, Lem is grateful for the help that BRI’s AP review videos provide, especially during COVID. He notes how “having quality videos matched to the exam topics allowed his students to review the topics they needed the most.”
Lem’s many accomplishments include being recognized as the 2018 Alaska History Teacher of the Year, serving as the parliamentarian for the Anchorage Education Association, and advising students who have earned the National Student Council’s Gold Council of Excellence Award for the past 4 years. This latter achievement is something he cites as one of the proudest moments of his teaching career.