How a run for president made this grad a better teacher

Ben Hartnell
Dr. Benjamin Hartnell ’11.

I’m known for two things as a teacher—the period outfits I dress up in for class (imagine a suit of chain mail armor) and my beard. Now I’m known for another: I was a write-in candidate in 26 states during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

This started as a class project to spice up the ho-hum 2012 presidential election. When 2016 rolled around, the seniors who had been in that history class said, “You should run again—but for real this time.”

I told them I was game, but they had to be my campaign managers. They researched requirements to get on the ballot in all the states we ran in, made lawn signs, set up and ran our social media, and even helped develop our platform. We created a section on the campaign website where people could vote for what issues they wanted me to focus on and what my stance should be.

That sparked an amazing dialogue among these teenagers. I’d never seen students come to class this excited. Every day, they’d walk in, drop their books, and say, “Let’s talk.” That excitement and engagement are pretty rare. And it was contagious. I’d been teaching for 16 years and had gotten stuck in my comfort zone. This shook things up and made me a better teacher. I now run classroom discussions differently, include more current events, and give more context about what was going on in the average person’s life during the time periods we study. This project reminded me of what I love about teaching and the impact I can have.

澳门赌场500 Internal Server Error

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error and was unable to complete your request. Either the server is overloaded or there is an error in the application.


— As told to Susan Walker

澳门赌场500 Internal Server Error

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error and was unable to complete your request. Either the server is overloaded or there is an error in the application.

Doctor of Education graduate and a 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award nominee. He teaches history at Westerville North High School in Ohio, the same high school he graduated from. He got 721 votes in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Man sitting at latop
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.
Talk to your personal enrollment specialist for more information today. Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.
Talk to your personal enrollment specialist for more information today. Please use our Domestic Form if you live in the U.S.
*Required Field
Academic Interests
Required
Required
Are you or your spouse an active or retired U.S. military service member?
Contact Information
Required
Required
Invalid email address
Please provide a valid phone number
Required
Please provide a valid zipcode
Required
Additional Information
Required
Get Started

By submitting this form, I agree to receive emails, text messages, telephone calls, and prerecorded messages from or on behalf of Walden University and its affiliates as listed in the Privacy Policy regarding furthering my education. I understand that such calls, emails, and messages may be sent using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our Privacy Policy or Contact Us for more details.

Required

By checking this box, I agree to receive emails, text messages, telephone calls, and prerecorded messages from or on behalf of Walden University and its affiliates as listed in the Privacy Policy regarding furthering my education. I understand that such calls, emails, and messages may be sent using automated technology. You may opt out at any time. Please view our Privacy Policy or Contact Us for more details.