My name is John Cunningham and I have worked as a high school teacher of History and Economics in regular, honors, and IB classes over the past fifteen years. I have been in full time education for sixteen years the last eleven of which have been in Douglas County teaching International Baccalaureate Economics and History. However, I have numerous interests and have taught a variety of subjects including Government, World History, American History, World Geography, Economics, and Physical Education. Additionally, I have been a head and assistant coach in numerous sports including Soccer, Baseball, Softball, and Golf and as a club sponsor for the photography club, Rho Kappa (Social Studies Honor Society), the Table Tennis Club, and the Bowling Team. These clubs as well as the sports I have coached are all part of an attempt to help young people learn, grown, and mature through extracurricular engagements that provide opportunities for leadership and connectivity. Sports and clubs help students connect to their community. This is why I founded the DC chapter of Rho Kappa. In this club we are attempting to connect students to previous generations by exploring and showcasing the changes of generations of students at Douglas County High School. I have led these efforts as a coach and sponsor in order to help students connect to new activities, connect to others in their community, and connect to previous generations who have also been a part of the same type of activities. I have served as a department head at the school and as an assistant to the administration.
In teaching History courses at DC, I introduced my students to the "National History Day" competition. In my first year bringing NHD to DC, one group of students who did a project on Tokugawa Japan were selected as the state runner-up, and we took their project to the University of Maryland to represent our school and the state of Georgia in the national competition. They were also chosen to display and speak about their project at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. The following year, I had three other groups of students travel to Maryland as representatives of the state in the national competition. I then encouraged other social studies teachers to continue NHD, and those teachers continued to develop our NHD program. My work with the NHD program prompted an invitation by Dr. Kevin Shirley at Lagrange University to speak at the 93rd Annual Medieval Academy of America conference at Emory University as part of a panel discussion where we spoke to professors from around the country about the ability of National History Day projects to encourage studies in Medieval History and illustrate how pre-modern topics can also be used to develop the skills of a historian.
At DCHS, my fellow teachers elected me to serve as a member and then Chair of our newly created Teacher Advisory Committee in which I worked as a liaison directly to the principal for concerns and teacher improvement. I helped shape the structure of this committee whose success then encouraged the principal to establish a new assistant administrative training team of which I also served.
At the state level, I have been invited each year for the past several years to present to teachers from around the state at the Annual GCSS conference in Athens, GA. In these conferences I have presented the way in which teachers can use pop culture to teach history and have presented numerous content specific sessions that involved Modern History, Medieval History, and Macroeconomics. The presentations combined creative pedagogy and the initiative that teachers must take by learning new content. (A list of these academic presentations can be found on my curriculum vitae).
Internationally, I have consulted with Las Palmas Christian School in the Dominican Republic helping them rethink their budget and providing insight into economic and professional issues that impact teacher performance. In October of 2019, I was invited to The Hague, Netherlands to present on an IB History curriculum that “continues to produce depth of knowledge while promoting a skills based curriculum” and have worked with the IB curriculum review team since that time.
In 2018 I began a Ph.D. program researching Modern U.S. History with a minor in Global History and a second minor in the History of Science at Georgia State University.
I currently live in Douglasville, GA with my wife Carrie of eleven years. I am currently pursuing a PhD in History at Georgia State University. I was born in Smyrna, Georgia and moved a lot a kid alternating between Texas and Georgia. I have two younger sisters one who lives in Georgia and the other who lives in Texas with her husband, my three nieces, and newborn nephew.
In high school I played basketball, baseball, and football, and then briefly played soccer and tennis in college. I have enjoyed coaching and playing sports most of my life. I attended Shorter University (Shorter college at the time) from 2000 to 2004 and then took a job at an alternative school in Bartow County, Georgia. After three years, I left teaching for two years to become a full-time graduate student at the University of West Georgia majoring in Early Modern to Modern European History. After graduating with a Master's degree in 2009, I began teaching in the IB program at Douglas County High school. During that first year, my wife Carrie and I got married.
My wife and I both enjoy watching college football, learning new activities, traveling. Carrie and I have organized student trips to eleven countries since 2015 and enjoy exploring new cultures and different perspectives.
I believe that being a life-long learner is an important trait. I have attempted to model this for my students by working on a PhD in History at Georgia State University since 2018.
For the last several years my wife and I have been active in a large community service endeavor put on by our church called “Hope for Christmas” where Douglas, Paulding, and Cobb county families are able to enjoy a day of Christmas fun and are provided toys for their children, a Christmas dinner, and the children are allowed to “shop” for free gifts to give to their parents. My wife and I have served the community in this endeavor in several capacities donating and giving out toys and treats, photography for parents and kids to remember the event, and working with the children. The community event is a large endeavor serving over 10,000 people each year. In addition, over my time in the Douglas/Paulding/Cobb area I have organized and led activity groups at churches to provide small-group settings and activities for those in the community.
I believe that international education is important, and my wife and I are proud supporters of education for children in the impoverished country of Burkina Faso through Compassion International. We have sponsored a young man named Rahim for the past seven years and are so proud of his progress in school.
This website is an ever-evolving endeavor to provide information. Carrie and I built the website from scratch there may be links that have "rotted" or misliked pages. We are always trying to make this site as friendly and as accurate as possible. If you have suggestions, please let us, know.