Meet Our Staff Print E-mail


Charles N. Quigley, Executive Director

Charles N. Quigley is broadly recognized as one of the most prominent curriculum, framework, and program developers in the field of civic education. Prior to the founding of the Law in a Free Society Project of the State Bar of California in 1970, Quigley was executive director of the Committee on Civic Education, an interdisciplinary faculty committee at the University of California, Los Angeles founded in 1965. He is also the author and editor of many textbooks, curricular materials, and articles on civic education. Quigley is the principal creator of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, Project Citizen, the CIVITAS Model Civic Education Curriculum Framework Project; the National Standards for Civics and Government; and the Civitas International Programs. Quigley has served as a senior consultant and organizer for numerous civic education reform efforts, including two White House conferences, four Congressional Conferences on Civic Education, and the National Commission on Civic Renewal. He was selected by the secretary of education to be the principal respondent to the NAEP Civics report in 1999. In May 2011 he and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor were selected by NAEP to respond to the release of the 2010 NAEP Civics Report.


margaretbranson-220-oct2012 Margaret Stimmann Branson, Associate Director

Margaret Stimmann Branson is the author of numerous textbooks and professional articles. Dr. Branson was one of the editorial directors and principal researchers and writers of the National Standards for Civics and Government, the CIVITAS Model Framework for Civic Education, Res Publica: An International Framework for Education in Democracy and We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution. She served on the Management Team for the National Assessment of Educational Progress in Civics and the International Education Association National Expert Panel on U.S. Civic Education. She is currently a member of the Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction Group of the Council of Chief States School Officers and of the National Task Force for Common States Standards in the Social Studies. Prior to joining the Center, she was Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services of the Kern County Schools in California. Dr. Branson has been Associate Professor of Education at Holy Names University and Director of Secondary Education at Mills College, Oakland, California.
John Hale, Associate Executive Director

John Hale helps conceptualize, develop, and administer all of the Center's domestic and international programs. Mr. Hale has written student texts, policy papers, and articles in professional publications. He has directed and given speeches at numerous institutes and scholarly conferences, both in the United States and overseas. He is a co-director of the National Campaign to Promote Civic Education and is also a member of the Steering Committee of the California Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools. Hale was a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities, a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Writing Project Corporation, and the director of the selection process for The Walt Disney Company Presents The American Teacher Awards. He has consulted for many educational organizations, including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Mark J. Molli, Associate Director

Mark J. Molli manages government relations for the Center for Civic Education and maintains an office in the Washington, D.C., area. In addition to promoting the Center's educational programs in Congress and with the Administration, Molli has been closely involved in several of the Center's national initiatives including providing public information for the National Standards for Civics and Government, co-managing four ground-breaking Congressional Conferences on Civic Education, assisting in the successful implementation of the American Civic Education Teacher Awards (ACETA), and co-directs the Campaign to Promote Civic Education. He was among the first group of education professionals who went to Bosnia-Herzegovina shortly after the war to help implement an education for democracy program in the schools. He has made several presentations on civic education and education reform at international forums including conferences in Cairo, Egypt and Marrakesh, Morocco. Molli is a former chief of staff for U.S. Congressman Augustus F. Hawkins of Los Angeles.

Gregory Bernstein, General Counsel

Gregory Bernstein received his law degree from the UCLA School of Law, where he served as executive editor of the UCLA Law Review. He also holds a master in public administration degree from Harvard University. He has served as a business and legal executive at entertainment corporations, taught and lectured at the University of Southern California and Chapman University, and helped lead the Writers Guild of America. An accomplished writer, Bernstein co-authored The Conspirator, a film directed by Robert Redford. Included in his duties is direction of the Center’s website and online applications.

Robert S. Leming, Director, We the People Programs

Robert S. Leming manages a national network of fifty state civic education programs involving thousands of upper elementary, middle, and high school teachers and tens of thousands of students in the study of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. He also directs a national effort to develop and conduct high-quality professional development institutes, workshops, and seminars for teachers throughout the nation, including the High-Need Initiative that began in 2008 and the partnership with Justice is Also Deaf that began in 2009. In addition, he directs the We the People National Finals, which involves more than 1,200 high school students from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. He presently teaches online courses on the Constitution and Bill of Rights at Kansas State Univeristy. He began his career teaching middle and high school government and math in Grand Rapids, Michigan and the United States Virgin Islands. He has also taught under graduate and graduate social studies methods courses at Indiana University. In addtion, he taught in jails and prisons from 1978-1998. He attended General H.H. Arnold High School in Wiesbaden, Germany and has three degrees from Indiana Univeristy.


Maria Gallo, Director, Professional Development &
Special Programs

Maria Gallo oversees the professional development programs of the Center and manages the presentation of Center programs and curricula at conferences, both nationally and internationally. Gallo also directs the Citizens Not Spectators voting curriculum and the annual American Civic Educator Teacher Awards. Gallo was formerly the national director of the School Violence Prevention Program, managing a network of program sites across the country that provided civic education as a means of preventing school violence. She was responsible for building and standardizing staff development programs for each of the sites and developing ongoing professional development opportunities in civic education for teachers. She also created the Training of Trainers Institute offered each summer. Prior to joining the Center, Gallo was a teacher and administrator in the New York City public school system.


Guohua Liu, Director, Greater China Region Affairs Office, Center for Civic Education

Guohua Liu works with the Center’s partners in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau on cooperative civic education programs. Liu was the Center’s international program manager and senior consultant for China, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Chile from 2001 to 2011. Liu works with the Center’s International Department to develop program strategies, plan and coordinate related events, and manage related program proposals, approvals, and compliance. He also conducts English and Mandarin interpretation for delegation visits and English and Chinese translation of program documents. Liu was a lecturer and associate professor of education at Yantai Teachers University (now Ludong University) in Shandong, China, from 1988 to 1998 and a visiting scholar at California State University from 1998 to 1999. He holds an EdM in comparative education from East China Normal University and a BA in English language and literature from Shanxi University.


Alissa Irion-Groth, Director of Program Administration

Alissa Irion-Groth has been coordinating international partnerships and other Center programs since 2004. Originally joining the Center to support the Arab Civitas Program in the Middle East and North Africa, she has worked to support programs and foster partnerships between the United States and other nations in all regions of the world. She currently collaborates with other Center staff to manage the James Madison Legacy Project in the United States and the worldwide Civitas International Programs network. Irion-Groth holds an EdM in international education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a BS in Elementary Education and East Asian Studies from Vanderbilt University, and a K–12 multiple subject area teaching credential from the state of California.


Jessica Martinez, Program Coordinator, James Madison Legacy Project

Jessica Martinez is the program coordinator for the James Madison Legacy Project. She provides assistance in the coordination and management of JMLP and the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution national civic education program. Previously, she was the Parent Outreach Coordinator/ AmeriCorp VISTA fellow to the El Monte Promise Foundation where she worked with parents to provide their community with the tools necessary to empower their children for college success. Jessica received her B.A in Philosophy, Law & Society and Political Science from the University of California, Riverside.


James B. Heredia, Associate Director, Fiscal Affairs

Jim Heredia works with the executive director and other associate directors to advance the mission of the Center by providing fiscal leadership to meet its strategic goals and objectives. He has made numerous presentations on the importance of fiscal compliance in managing federal awards at conferences in the United States and abroad. He holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in accounting from California State University, Los Angeles, and California State University, Northridge, respectively. 

Greg Synnott, Director, Information Technology

Greg Synnott develops and manages the Center's information systems, including data systems, accounting systems, and websites. Synnott is a hands-on leader who serves many roles, including data management, database administration, web development, and accounting. He has degrees in management information systems and accounting.

Janel Huber, Receptionist and Administrative Assistant

Janel Huber has been with the Center since 2005. She has a bachelor of science degree in education from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. She has taught at various child care centers in Pennsylvania and Vermont. Huber is the Center's receptionist and provides administrative support for the Center's educational programs, events, and conferences.

Mark Gage, Director of Publishing and Digital Content

Mark Gage directs the Center for Civic Education's publishing efforts in traditional and new media. He also manages the editorial content of the Center's websites and social media platforms. Gage co-founded the 60-Second Civics podcast in 2009 with Kaci Patterson and Tyler Shores. The daily podcast and quiz, which has published more than two thousand episodes, is used in classrooms nationwide as a warm-up activity. An experienced editor and project manager, Gage joined the Center in 2003 from SAGE Publications, where he was a senior social sciences and STM production editor. Gage has an MBA in international business from California Lutheran University and a BA from the University of Nebraska. He also holds the Enterprise Content Management Practitioner (ECMp) certification.