Mary Hendra

As Program Director for Los Angeles and Organizational Innovation for Facing History and Ourselves, Mary has led workshops, seminars, and professional development in the greater Los Angeles area for many years. Her work included coaching individual teachers and faculty teams implementing Facing History in their classrooms, piloting new uses of digital tools and resources for education, and collaborating with formal and informal education organizations across Southern California. In April 2022, she joined the California Global Education Project.

Recent Posts

Reflections on 20 years

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 24, 2022

Facing History opened its Los Angeles office in 1994.

Over the past 28 years, we’ve supported a growing network of teachers across Southern California, cultivated strong community partnerships, and witnessed multiple generations of students apply the lessons of Facing History to step into leadership in their communities and beyond.

This Spring, the faces many of you have come to recognize as Facing History will change, but the work will continue with an incredible team locally and globally. 

Before leaving Facing History, Liz Vogel, Executive Director and Mary Hendra, Program Director for Los Angeles and Organizational Innovation, sat down together to share memories and hopes for Facing History.

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Topics: Facing History and Ourselves, Los Angeles

Creating a More Compassionate, Thoughtful World

Posted by Mary Hendra on March 16, 2022

Over the years, I have had the honor of sharing many thoughts and resources on this Learn+Teach+Share blog. This one is a bit more personal. 

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Topics: Los Angeles

Announcing: A GALLERY of Upstanders!

Posted by Mary Hendra on May 24, 2021

Have you ever wished you could share stories of inspiration with young people about individuals they might connect with and relate to? The stories of Martin Luther King, Jr., Dolores Huerta, Bayard Rustin, Anna May Wong and others are amazing, but sometimes they can feel inaccessible as role models. At least, it feels a little overwhelming to go from where we are now, to what they achieved, without a deep dive into their journeys. 

We have a gift for you!

Each year, Los Angeles area Facing History partnership schools cultivate a culture of upstanding, and celebrate that upstanding at the end of the year by recognizing actions taken by middle and high school students. This year, we're thrilled to share that recognition in an online gallery! And below, a few ways to use it with young people, whether your students or simply individuals you seek to inspire.

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

Teaching About the Armenian Genocide

Posted by Mary Hendra on May 5, 2021

On April 24th, US President Biden recognized the Armenian genocide. As Facing History Board of Scholars member Peter Balakian noted in his   Washington Post perspective article,

"it means a great deal to the Armenian community to finally see our president affirming the truth." 

For teachers and students, it presents an opportunity both to explore further the significance of acknowledgment and to teach the history itself. Here are a few resources which can help: 
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Topics: Facing History Resources

Bringing Facing History Strategies into Online Classrooms

Posted by Mary Hendra on September 7, 2020

We know. 

Teachers LOVE Facing History strategies.

We do too.

Facing History centers students and student voices in our classrooms.  That is all the more important as we build community online.

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Topics: Teaching Strategies, Teaching Strategy

Sharing BIPOC Women of California Resources

Posted by Mary Hendra on September 4, 2020

This week,@FacingHistoryLA shone a special spotlight on California women who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. These are women who have shaped California and many times the nation. Below are all of those visuals, with the links shared on Twitter to further explore their stories. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but our contribution to the body of knowledge and resources available to teachers - a curation of individuals whose stories and legacy can be explored through Facing History resources. (Listed alphabetically.) Who else should be included in California classrooms?  Share your thoughts - and resources - in the comments below!

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Topics: Los Angeles, California

Spotlight on BIPOC Women of California

Posted by Mary Hendra on August 23, 2020

Political conventions coincide with the start of school in California this year, presenting a unique nexus of past, present, and future for teachers.  The nomination of Kamala Harris as a Vice Presidential candidate shows the value in teaching the significance of both contemporary and historic as we have seen that her candidacy has provided an opportunity to dive deeper into the work and legacy of Charlotta Bass.

This week, follow Facing History LA on Twittter @FacingHistoryLA for a special spotlight on women who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color who, like Charlotta Bass, have shaped California and many times the nation. Some had wide visibility even during their own time. Others took a stand which was built on later.

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Topics: Los Angeles, Social Justice

Civic Imagination, Civic Action

Posted by Mary Hendra on June 1, 2020

Over the last 2 months, I've had the immense pleasure of interviewing three individuals with unique and powerful perspectives on civic engagement.

  • Dolores Huerta, civil rights icon and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association, whose activism for 7 decades inspires and compels others to act.
  • Eric Marcus, whose interviews of LGBTQ civil rights activists (now shared through the Making Gay History podcast) illuminates the courage of individuals to raise their voices even when others don't want to hear them.
  • Henry Jenkins, whose research on the intersection of participatory culture and pop culture provide new insight into understanding civic participation in a digital age.

But perhaps the most inspirational are the stories that come from LA Facing History Partnership Schools each year around this time - individuals and groups whose upstanding make a concrete difference every day in the lives and future of our Southern California students and communities.

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Topics: Upstanders, Los Angeles, Upstander

Teaching with Attention to the FAIR Education Act

Posted by Mary Hendra on May 14, 2020

This year, the Los Angeles office of Facing History and Ourselves partnered with Los Angeles and Ventura County Offices of Education and the CLIC Project to bring a series of workshops to help social studies teachers integrate the FAIR Education Act into their teaching.  This law requires teachers to give attention to inclusivity in classrooms and in the curricula, with specific visibility to the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and LGBTQ+ people. 

This spring, we converted the workshops to do a two-part webinar series. For those who were unable to join the webinars live, here are the recordings and resources shared.

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Honoring the Armenian Genocide through Poetry

Posted by Mary Hendra on April 24, 2020

April 24th is annually honored as a day of recognition for the Armenian genocide - the date on which Armenian leaders, writers, and intellectuals were taken from their homes in a meticulously organized beginning to what would become the genocide itself.

In our resource book, Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: the Genocide of the Armenians, we include several poems written by Diana Der-Hovanessian, which explore the diasporan identity that resulted - the pull of belonging to both Armenia and the United States and the legacy of the genocide on her own identity.  "Two Voices" is one of those poems and includes this series of questions: I think of my grandmother
at Ellis Island,

or as an orphan in an Armenian village?

Or at a black stove in Worcester...

This year, we honor the commemoration by sharing student poetry written in response to Diana's poem which highlights the connections students made to that pull of multiple identities.  These come to us from Sasha Guzman at Social Justice Humanitas Academy. In respect for student identities, we present both without the author names.

We hope this reminder to find common experiences in the human condition can both build compassion and curiosity in honoring and learning about the histories of others.

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Topics: Armenian Genocide, Student Work

Welcome to Learn+Teach+Share

This blog helps Southern California teachers connect directly with each other, share ideas, and learn about new resources and opportunities for those interested in or already implementing Facing History.

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