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September 30, 2011

Longtime Supporters of Education Outreach Pledge $2.5 Million

Longtime supporters of Colonial Williamsburg Patricia and Peter Frechette have committed $2.5 million to support Colonial Williamsburg’s education outreach programs, including a gift to endow the Peter L. and Patricia O. Frechette director of teacher development. Tab Broyles currently holds this position in Colonial Williamsburg’s productions, publications and learning ventures division. Endowed gifts support key positions and programs throughout the foundation.

“Tab Broyles is the heart and soul of the Teacher Institute program,” said Pat Frechette. “Her enthusiasm for teaching American history and her love and respect for teachers is the driving force behind the growth of the teacher development programs. Pete and I want to ensure these remarkable programs continue to inspire teachers for many years to come.”

The Frechettes’s gift also supports the enhancement of Colonial Williamsburg’s 2012–2014 Electronic Field Trip series with innovative elements that take advantage of technology such as iPads, smart phones and Web applications. Electronic field trips are meticulously researched and intentionally non-partisan programs that tell the stories of our country’s founding and span a broad range of historical subjects from colonial times to the present day. Broadcast one Thursday each month from October through April on participating public television stations and cable channels across the country, the distance learning programs are targeted to grades 4–8. Each electronic field trip is supported with multi-disciplinary lesson plans, interactive student resources, program scripts and other materials to make history exciting and relevant for students.

The funds also will introduce Colonial Williamsburg’s “Idea of America” high school history/civics curriculum to private, charter and alternative schools and will underwrite an evaluation team to assess the curriculum’s effectiveness in those classrooms. Through “The Idea of America,” students learn lessons from history and the principles of American citizenship by exploring 65 individual case studies of the nation’s most important historical events, debating issues that changed America. To support the lessons, teachers select from among resources and interactive tools including dramatic readings of key text, documentaries and interviews with contemporary figures. Primary sources of enduring significance such as newspapers, works of art, diaries, journal entries, speeches and wills also are utilized.

In addition, the gift will create a model pre-service collegiate partnership with selected schools of education to nurture the professional development of college students preparing to be history and civics teachers. The Frechette gift also funds the development of a relationship between Colonial Williamsburg staff and some of the nation’s best alternative and private charter schools, including the Lab School of Washington, D.C., in order to understand the teaching methods and best practices of these innovative educational institutions.

The Frechettes are already among an elite group of exceptionally generous benefactors whose names are inscribed on a brick wall at the Courtyard of Philanthropy, a prominent landmark beneath the flags of the 13 original states at the entrance to Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center.

“Through Pat and Pete Frechette’s generosity, Colonial Williamsburg reaches thousands of young people who may never visit the Historic Area but who benefit from our educational initiatives,” said Colin Campbell, president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “This new gift supports the efforts of Tab Broyles and her dedicated colleagues in creating dynamic classroom programs that link history with broader themes and values, especially the civic roles and responsibilities essential to our democracy.”

“The Frechettes have been loyal supporters of Colonial Williamsburg’s education outreach initiatives for many years,” said Bill White, the Royce R. and Kathryn M. Baker vice president of productions, publications and learning ventures. “They have helped extend our educational mission into classrooms across the Midwest and have introduced hundreds of thousands of students to the vital importance of our American history. I know of no work more important to the future of our republic.”

Mr. Frechette received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His professional career included leadership positions in the medical supply industry. Mrs. Frechette received a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and is a former teacher whose love for education inspires her support of Colonial Williamsburg education outreach programs. The Frechettes currently reside in Minneapolis.

A native of Roanoke, Tab Broyles received a bachelor’s degree in government and a master’s degree in museum education from the College of William and Mary. Her involvement with Colonial Williamsburg began with her work as a historical interpreter with school groups and in the taverns, houses and government sites of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. Following promotions to lead interpreter and supervisor, she developed new interpretations, trained new interpreters and developed student outreach programs. In 1990, Broyles and her supervisor, Cynthia Burns, together with 44 fifth grade teachers from two southern California school systems, developed and implemented the California Teacher Institute, which subsequently became the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, open to teachers from across the country.

The Teacher Institute marked its 22nd anniversary in 2011 with 18 separate sessions – 11 for elementary teachers, six for middle school teachers and one for high school teachers. The program helps teachers meet national and state history/social studies standards through on-site, hands-on immersion experiences in American history. Historical content and teaching strategies for the different sessions are geared to the appropriate grade levels and curriculum. Today, there are more than 7,000 teacher graduates of the program from all 50 states.

Colonial Williamsburg also sponsors Teaching American History conferences around the country. These one- and two-day workshops bring the Colonial Williamsburg teaching techniques to thousands of teachers in their school districts each year. The Frechettes’ enthusiasm for these conferences led them to create the Frechette Endowment for educational outreach in the Midwest, thus introducing 666 Midwest teachers to new teaching strategies at 10 Teaching American History Conferences in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Today Broyles develops partnerships, collaborates with school districts, researches grant opportunities, oversees gifts and grants, evaluates the effectiveness of programs, administers Virginia History Day and maintains a close relationship with many of the teachers who have completed the Teacher Institute over the years. She also continues a more than 25-year career as a colonial dancer, presenting costumed interpretation of 18th-century dance and social life through first person characterizations in Colonial Williamsburg evening programs.

For more information about Colonial Williamsburg’s Teacher Institute, visit .

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural institution dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280