I am broadly interested in the history of American education, American political culture, and urban history. My work is primarily on the history of the American public high school, as both an educational and cultural institution. In describing how and why high school-going became the norm over the course of the twentieth century, I focus not only on changes to the curriculum, but also on the ways in which a student's identity (race, ethnicity, class, and gender, among others) affected his or her school experience, as well as how he or she understood the relationship between education and the world of work.

  • Joint PhD in United States History and Educational Policy Studies

MA Title:

  • "Making a System Of Their Own: A Case Study of the School Board and High Schools in Interwar Milwaukee"

Working Dissertation Title:

  • "Making a Mass Institution: Indianapolis and The American Public School, 1900 to 1954"


  • BA in History, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2008

Selected Publications:

  • “The Give and Take of Vocationalism at the Local Level: Administrative and Student Perspectives on Milwaukee’s High Schools,” in Educating a Working Society: Vocationalism, the Smith-Hughes Act, and Modern America, edited by Glenn Lauzon. Information Age Publishing, to be published January 2017


  • UW—Madison History Department Fellow, Fall 2016
  • Avril S. Barr Graduate Fellow, Summer 2016
  • Herbert Kliebard Award for Outstanding Scholarly Achievement in Education, 2015

Professional Affiliations

  • History of Education Society
  • Organization of Educational Historians

Courses Taught as TA:

  • History 397 - United States History from 1914 to 1945, Spring 2011
  • History 412 - History of American Education, History and Educational Policy Studies, Fall 2012 and Spring 2013
  • School and Society, Educational Policy Studies, Spring 2012
  • Historical Perspectives of Education in a Multicultural America (grader), Educational Policy Studies, Fall 2011

Courses Taught as Instructor:

  • History 412 - History of American Education, History and Educational Policy Studies, Spring 2016 and Spring 2017
  • Education in a Multicultural America, Educational Policy Studies, Fall 2014
  • School and Society, Educational Policy Studies, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014


Kyle Steele


William J. Reese