Social Studies

         "Democracy needs to be reborn in each generation, and education is its midwife."   - John Dewey

Social Studies is defined as the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.   The core purpose of social studies education is to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and values that will enable them to become effective citizens.  Throughout the curriculum and at every grade level students have the opportunity to apply their civic knowledge, skills, and values as they consider real problems in their school, community, nation, and world.

Meet the Faculty

Rhonda Anderson (B.S., M.S., Ed.S. Jacksonville State University) joined the OLM faculty in 2004 as a part-time American History teacher. She taught in place of a teacher who was deployed to Iraq. In 2006 she returned to a full-time position in our Social Studies Department. Mrs. Anderson also is an assistant Cheerleading Coach and serves as the faculty advisor for Model UN. She taught previously in Alabama, Maryland, and with the Department of Defense Dependents School (DoDDS) at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. Owen Anderson, her son, is a 2006 OLM graduate. She enjoys spending time with her large extended family whenever possible. She traveled extensively as an Army spouse and is an avid reader.

Shawn McNamara (B.S., Pennsylvania State University) joined the Mercy Faculty in 2018. Shawn teaches US and World History as well as coaching football, wrestling, and golf. Shawn also taught history at Blessed Trinity from 2006 to 2011. Shawn was a member of the Penn State Football team in the early 1980’s. He also coached college football at Penn State and Georgia Tech. For eleven years Shawn sold medical equipment in the Northeast and Midwest. Shawn is a native of Long Island, NY and has three daughters ages 19, 21, and 25. He is currently pursuing his Master's degree in International Relations. 

Marissa Ahern (B.A., Virginia Tech University, M.Ed., George Mason University) joined the faculty in 2014, and is the Social Studies Department Chair, and will be teaching Economics, Government, AP World History, and Law and the Citizen. She also will serve as the Head Tennis Coach. Prior to working at Mercy she worked for Lockheed Martin followed by a non-profit organization, IS&T. She is a member of the Saint Thomas More Church in Decatur and enjoys playing tennis in her spare time, watching football in the fall (go Hokies!) and tennis in the spring.