O'Malley to lead Kalmar Nyckel education team
Fran O'Malley
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3:34 p.m., Feb. 4, 2009----Fran O'Malley, a social studies curriculum specialist with the University of Delaware's Institute for Public Administration (IPA) and the Delaware Center for Teacher Education (DCTE), has agreed to lead the program development committee of the nonprofit Kalmar Nyckel Foundation.

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The foundation preserves and teaches Delaware's unique maritime history and multicultural legacy as it relates to the economic, industrial, ecological and cultural development of the area, primarily through the operation of the Kalmar Nyckel, a replica of the sailing vessel that brought the first permanent European settlers to Delaware in 1638.

O'Malley splits his time between IPA and DCTE, both research and service centers in the College of Human Services, Education and Public Policy. His primary role has been to improve the quality of social studies instruction in the state. His work to expose more K-12 teachers to the resources available to them led indirectly to his new role with the foundation.

As project director on a Teaching American History grant, O'Malley and a group of teachers sailed on the Kalmar Nyckel on the Christina River, an outing that made clear to him the potential of the ship and its story.

“Many teachers around the state know of the Kalmar Nyckel, but experiencing the ship and learning while aboard is an opportunity not enough teachers take advantage of for a variety of reasons I hope to address in my new role volunteering for the foundation,” O'Malley said.

Sam Heed, senior historian and director of education for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, said the new program development committee that O'Malley will lead should help the foundation reach more people and deepen its educational offerings.

O'Malley's career as a teacher and a social studies advocate in the state convinced Heed he is the right choice for this new initiative.

“Fran has a wealth of experience developing first-rate social studies curricula and designing it in such a way as to make a real difference in the ways teachers teach and kids learn,” Heed said. “His experience and wisdom gives me great optimism about our ability to meet the goal of our mission: 'preserving and promoting the cultural and maritime heritage of Delaware for the education and enrichment of all.'”