Get To know Ramona Bessinger
We are proud that our Symposium is truly Teacher created- Teacher led. Therefore, we do not have any speakers or presenters that do not have a personal connection to the Holocaust or the K12 classroom. We believe in this so much, even our keynote speaker is not a "fancy PhD", but a veteran classroom teacher courageously fighting to keep Holocaust education, and its lessons of Tolerance and respect for all, in the classroom.
Ramona Bessinger has been an English/Language Arts teacher for over 20 years. She has taught middle and high school ELA mostly to minority students. She has taught a number of Classical and Canonical texts such as Fredrick Douglass, Maya Angelou, MLK jr.and Anne Frank to name a few. Over the years, her favorite time of year was teaching her Holocaust unit. Like most classroom teachers, Ramona was happy in her little corner of the world focusing her attention on her students and their well-being. When not at school, she is a yogi.
But everything changed in 2020. Her school district in Providence Rhode Island changed the curriculum, the texts, and even the state educational mandates. Whether their intentions were good or not, is not the greatest concern for Ramona or teachers like her. Ramona Bessinger's greatest concern is that the changes have lessened the rigor, the intellectualism, and the sense of community at her school district. Most alarming was the increase in racial hostility and Antisemitic sentiments.
When Ramona Bessinger started speaking up, first in her school, and then publicly the district pushed back aggressively. Ramona Bessinger went from a content classroom teacher to an outspoken advocate for Holocaust education.
Ramona Bessinger will be sharing her experiences, her courage, and her expertise with the attendees of the Holocaust Teachers of America Symposium.