Meissel leads social studies conference

Published 11:35 pm Friday, December 14, 2018

Lakeland High School teacher India Meissel spent the end of November at the 98th National Council for the Social Studies conference.

This was her first conference as the council’s president, and she spent the last two years planning the entire event. All of the planning finally came to fruition as a three-day conference in Chicago, Ill., from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.

“It’s been busy. I’m actually the first active classroom teacher in 10 years to serve as the president,” Meissel said. “Actively teaching and doing this job is crazy.”

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When she’s not in the classroom teaching her students, she has spent hours upon hours on the phone with her fellow council members getting ready for the national event.

Lakeland High School teacher India Meissel, president of the National Council for the Social Studies, speaks at the council’s annual conference in Chicago, Ill. (Jennifer Madden photo)

She spent time compiling lists of possible speakers that included former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama. The planning even included places to tour in the city that would be relevant to social studies educators.

“I had some seriously amazing people that were working with me locally and some seriously amazing staff members that would help me as far as a conference planner,” Meissel said.

Meissel and her team were even able to swing tickets to the play “Hamilton” in the Windy City.

The path to the conference wasn’t the easiest, but Meissel appreciated it all once the conference was over.

“It was something I never in my life expected I would do, and it was a lot of hard work,” Meissel said. “To plan and organize and finally see it come to fruition is something I never thought would happen. It was an amazing experience. I was sitting in my suite and sat there and said, ‘This is incredible and this is just about done and I can’t believe it.’”

For Meissel, the three-day weekend was a blur. Before she knew it, Sunday was upon her and she was heading back to Virginia to get ready to teach first thing Monday morning.

“It was kind of a relief. You plan and plan and hold your breath. Then it takes place and happens like you think,” Meissel said. “Friday morning was a big kick-off, and it was almost a blur from there.”

The conference was a huge success. Meissel planned and headed up the third-largest conference in the council’s 98 years. Almost 4,300 people were in attendance.

Meissel has great memories seeing old friends and making new friends from all over the country and the world.

“Getting back, I think I slept eight to 10 hours from the last week and weekend. I’ve got great memories of friends new and old,” Meissel said.