Spotswood High School

Home of the Trailblazers


Photo of the SHS Social Studies staff.


Back row: Owen Longacre, Ryne Powell, Emmett Sheahan, Gary Lancaster, Mark Spielman

Front row: Melinda Berry, Katie Eppard, Haley Saunders, Denise Lam

Denise Lam - Department Head, World Geography, US History Honors, AP Human Geography


Melinda Berry - US History, AP European History,

Katie Eppard - Government, World Geography

Gary Lancaster - Honors Government, US History, AP US History


Owen Longacre - US History Honors, World History II


Ryne Powell - Economics, Psychology/Sociology,

Haley Saunders - Economics, World Geography


Emmett Sheahan - AP Psychology, AP Government, Debate


Mark Spielman - World History II, AP World History

Our department offers fourteen different areas for students to study and we are continually seeking to add more opportunities. The course offerings with detailed descriptions are on an accompanying page for your reference.

In order to enhance student learning, the Social Studies Department offers students many opportunities outside of the classroom. Numerous field trips in each subject as well as club offerings and essay writing contests are provided to the students.

The overall goal of the Social Studies Department is to have students be an informed, contributing member of the American community. In order to achieve this goal, as a department, we stress: appreciation of all cultures, patriotism, respect for one’s self and others, responsibility for one’s actions, self-discipline, cooperation, commitment, determination, a strong work ethic, and pride in one’s work. In addition, in our content areas we teach concepts that will build upon this goal such as citizenship, conflict, diversity, change, interdependence, heritage and culture.

We feel it is very important to recognize student accomplishments and as a result the department bestows an academic medallion award to the best all-around Senior in Social Studies. In addition, medallions are given to the top student in U.S. History and World History. Individual awards are also conferred by each teacher in the subject taught.

The Social Studies Department strives to have all students successfully master their classes. Teachers are available for tutoring during their planning periods, as well as, before and after school upon request. Parents are always encouraged to call and meet with the department teachers on a regular basis.

Each year is a new, fresh challenge for our students and our department. We enjoy teaching and we feel we are successful at what we do. We are always seeking to improve our instruction, however, with new teaching strategies, new technological innovations and sharing of ideas with teachers from across the state.