Category Archives: Teaching

Carolivia has taught in elementary and high schools schools, in community workshops, and universities across the United States. She now teaches as an extension of Epic Center Stories a program she founded in 1986. Epic Center Stories uses the form of epic, a long narrative history, to teach develop a peoples sense fo themselves and their understanding of their place in the world. In the development and study of the epic, all subjects in the core curriculum are taught. Both advanced and special needs students perform one grade-level higher after using this method.

Peacesong DC

Peacesong DC front cover
Peacesong DC front cover

Shirah Shulamit Ojero has four loves, her African American culture, her Jewish heritage, academic study — especially the study of literary epics — and her city, Washington, DC. Peacesong DC displays the interconnection of these four loves as Shirah grows up in the Washington DC neighborhoods of Mayfair Mansions, Kenilworth, Anacostia, Takoma DC. and downtown.

Throughout her life, Shirah connects with the buildings and images of the National Mall which she considers the epic center of the United States. After graduating from DC Public Schools (Neval Thomas, Woodson, and Coolidge), Shirah pursues academic degrees at Howard University, Eastern Baptist College, Villanova University, the Folger Library Institute, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Although all of the stories told in Peacesong DC are based on actual events in the author’s life, the book is classified as fiction rather than non-fiction because the stories bend toward the arc of storytelling rather than that of rigid facts. If something in the story appears particularly improbable, it is likely to be the truth.

For the full hilarious story of how Shirah (aka Asenath) becomes an educator at Harvard University (West Cambridge U) and a librarian in ancient Egypt, see the author’s longer work, Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair. 

Peacesong DC is available for purchase in paperback or Kindle on Amazon and in paperback on Barnes & Noble.

Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Arizona State University.

Carolivia Herron in Debate
Carolivia Herron at Arizona State University, Project Humanities Debate, “Is Truth Overrated?” 2012

I’m finishing out my year as a Project Humanities Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Arizona State University. The Distinguished Visiting Scholar Program highlights the contributions a cross-disciplinary, socially relevant humanist thinker, scholar, and/or artist. It brings their unique passion and perspective to ASU students.

At ASU I met with faculty and students, gave public lectures, participated in panels and symposia, and taught students.

And next,

I’ll return soon to tell you about my other academic joys: Homer, Vergil, Dante, Milton, Hip hop, Star Trek, African American Epic Tradition, the Hebraic Strain of African American Literature, Hebrew, Greek . . . and all the really good novels and novelists, Carlos Fuentes, Thomas Mann, Sigrid Undset, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Toni Cade Bambara, Dostoevsky, Balzac, Proust, Ellison, Melville, Baldwin, Hurston, Wright, Pratchett, Tolstoy, Faulkner…

Teaching Children

Children’s Studio School

Carolivia Herron has taught primarily in colleges and universities but has also been teaching children in grades  pre-K through 12. From 2000-2002 she taught a mixed grade class, pre-K through six years old, at Children’s Studio School, a charter school in Washington, DC. Her “Paths” Studio used adapted epic poetry of Dante and Homer to teach basic skills in language arts, math, science, social studies, fine art and performing arts.

In their mock Trojan war, everybody younger than 5 was a Trojan, everybody over 5 was a Greek, and the five-year olds were the gods and goddesses. The resulting dramatization was delightful.


Carolivia Herron and Nappy Hair in Washingtonian Magazine 2000.
Carolivia Herron and Nappy Hair in Washingtonian Magazine 2000.

PAUSE – the Potomac Anacostia Ultimate Story Exchange is a volunteer mentoring organization that greatly improves reading skills for young readers in the Washington, DC area. All students in the PAUSE program, no matter what the skill level, have improved test scores as a result of their participation. The most recent PAUSE program was started at Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, DC – Carolivia’s own high school in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington.

Early Readers

Carolivia Herron organized and helped to found the Early Readers Program at Shepherd Elementary School in Washington, DC. In the Early Readers program volunteers read with children before school starts to help the students improve in language arts. Reading skill has been measured before and after program participation, and the students increase in reading skills several percentage points.

Home School 

Since 2006 Carolivia Herron has taught many home school courses in literature and creative writing. She has introduced her students to classical epic literature as well as contemporary classics. Her signature courses for 8th to 12th graders are: Epic Tradition (Homer, Vergil, Dante, Milton), Star Trek as American Epic, and Creative Writing (Fiction.) Her courses include a large dose of critical thinking and thesis development. Please contact her if you are interested in having her lead a home school class for yourself or your children.

The Learning Community International School

Carolivia also offers tutoring, educational advising, and classes through the Learning Community International School. Please see their website for more information.

Emergency On-Call Storyteller at Savoy Elementary in Washington, DC

Yesterday I had the joy of sharing some of my stories with the pr-K children of Savoy Elementary School in Washington, DC. I was invited by the literacy organization, Everybody Wins. It was a last minute invitation, “We’ve got to have somebody to tell stories to these children tomorrow morning!” I enjoy the image of being an Emergency On-Call Storyteller. I shared pre-K versions of my books, Nappy Hair, Always An Olivia, Little Georgia and the Apples, and Kindergarten Blues.