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lessons within our history help us improve THE future


“There is no greater satisfaction than finding new lessons within our history that help us better understand our world as we strive to improve its future.”

Christ School’s History Department seeks to globalize the overall curriculum to include a core of non-Western cultures and nations, along with traditional studies of US History, American Government, and classical Western studies. This approach was honed to include a specific class of Twentieth Century World History for sophomores, preceded by a freshman class of World History focused on the “non-Western” empires, but through the lens of our Western background. Eighth grade curriculum is titled Humanities and provides a foundation of study in civics, ethics, and current events that students refer to throughout their high school years. Four offerings in AP History are intended to be the apex of our curriculum and are available to students who show the appropriate aptitude and have performed well in regular and honors level classes.

Electives that focus on modern History and current Social Studies compliment the curriculum for the third and fourth forms. The evolution of the elective offerings reflects student interest, faculty initiative, and specializations that often use History as a basis for discussion on very relevant issues. Current examples of these electives are Economics, Ethics in International Relations, Rhetoric, Comparative Government and Economies, and Introduction to Entrepreneurship.

Faculty are encouraged to routinely review our curriculum guide to insure that we are teaching the material and skills that we aim to teach. Beyond relevant content, good, scholarly research and citation techniques are some of the most important skills we can foster in our students. That demands that we assign challenging projects and that we are diligent in using academically cited material ourselves as a model to our students.

The Christ School faculty teach History because they love the subject matter and they seek to communicate their passion to their students every day. There is no greater satisfaction than finding new lessons within our history that help us better understand our world as we strive to improve its future.

News from the History Department

Meet the Faculty

William Ballenger has donned many hats as a teacher, coach, house parent, administrator, and AP exam reader befitting a boarding school veteran spanning more than two decades.

He and his wife, Kristin, came to Christ School following five transformative years overseas at King’s Academy in Jordan, where he chaired a department, was a member of the Hiring Team, and shepherded aspiring, young teachers as Director of Teaching Fellows. Previously, Mr. Ballenger was a faculty member at Saint Andrew’s School (FL) and Blue Ridge School (VA), where he crossed paths with long-time faculty member Jamie Auch.

Mr. Ballenger’s favorite fictional character is Indiana Jones, and he has lived out his own share of adventures: hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Camino de Santiago; completing three coast-to-coast bicycle treks; and paddling 2,000+ miles on America’s National Wild and Scenic Riverways. He firmly believes in the educational value of travel, bringing history alive for students by integrating his personal globetrotting experiences at historic sites in over 50 countries and 47 states across five continents into his curricula. Mr. Ballenger is a seven-time Teacher of the Year, four-time graduation speaker, and three-time Yearbook Dedication honoree by vote of the students.

A boarding school alumnus (The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey), Mr. Ballenger graduated magna cum laude from Alma College before earning a Master’s degree in Social Studies Education through his graduate studies at the University of Virginia and the University of Oxford (England).

Major animal lovers, he and Kristin, a veterinarian, are thrilled to live among the boys as Head of Young Dorm. Since returning stateside from Jordan, they have relicensed as foster care parents to resume a calling that they previously enjoyed for years: “whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me” (Mark 9:36).

Being active in nature is cathartic for Eric Cain, who expects to be smiling just as widely as the groups he leads through the Outdoor Program.

Coaching will complement his new roles as a History instructor and Houseparent in South Carolina House.

Mr. Cain is a self-described lifelong learner who has taught at high schools in Georgia and North Carolina. Additionally, he has worked with educational/enrichment programs for students, such as the N.C. Governor’s School, and helped lead the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection at his college alma mater of Furman University.

When he lived in Atlanta, Mr. Cain served as a youth minister and pastoral resident in a local congregation.

Mr. Cain holds master’s degrees from Wake Forest University (Arts in Education) and Mercer University (Divinity). He completed his undergraduate studies at Furman in 2004, majoring in History and Political Science with a concentration in Latin American Studies.

His hobbies include hiking (and many other outdoor activities), poetry, cooking, and traveling. He is happy to share stories with the boys about some of the truly unique and interesting places he has visited over the years. Mr. Cain loves spending time with family, friends, and his cats.

Mark Crawford came back home to western North Carolina upon completing active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division in the 1990s, starting a long career in education. He has shared his unique perspective as an AP U.S. Government and Politics instructor at Christ School in 2019. 

Mr. Crawford taught various Political Science courses for the 11 years at Western Carolina University, and prior to that was a full-time substitute teacher in the Buncombe County Schools system for 13 academic years. He is a West Point graduate who served for a little over a decade as an officer in the U.S. Army. Mr. Crawford was a Ranger, paratrooper, and Jumpmaster who was deployed for the Gulf War in 1990. Upon returning home, he initially worked in construction, and then real estate while substitute teaching. He has served a brief stint in the N.C. House of Representatives and been Administrator of the Swannanoa Valley Medical Center. 

Mr. Crawford keeps it simple when it comes to his hobbies: reading and chess. 

Olga Mahoney P'20 takes immense pride in teaching Greenies to give back as Christ School's Director of Service Learning.

Mrs. Mahoney coordinates community service opportunities for the boys in the Asheville area and enjoys working alongside them. She was Christ School's Teacher of the Year for the 2017-18 school year and is an instructor in AP World History, Ethics, and Public Speaking.

Mrs. Mahoney earned both her bachelors degree in Russian Language and a master's in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University. Furthermore, she also holds a master's degree in Education from Harvard University. For 11 years, Mrs. Mahoney served in several teaching and administrative roles at Milton Academy in Milton, Mass. Before that, she worked as an intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as a research assistant for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Mrs. Mahoney and her husband, Kevin, have two children, Michael '20 and Alexandra. 

Watch the Faculty Spotlight on Olga Mahoney


John Manganiello is now in his third year with Christ School’s History Department and a seasoned educator with 24 years of teaching experience in independent schools.

Mr. Manganiello was born and raised in New Rochelle, N.Y., and began his career in the Empire State at Windward School in White Plains, N.Y., where he spent 15 years as a teacher, mentor, coach, Department Chair, and team leader. Mr. Manganiello wanted to experience other educational philosophies and take on a variety of administrative roles and did so, becoming the Assistant Head of the Masters Middle School in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Here, he discovered his love for boarding schools and embraced being part of the school community.

He next became Headmaster of the Beacon School in Stamford, Conn., where Mr. Manganiello was proud of the school’s ability to provide a truly individualized learning experience to gifted and twice-exceptional students. After his stint at Beacon, Mr. Manganiello became Director of both the Prospect and Bridge programs at the Wooster School in Danbury, Conn., helping students with language-based learning disabilities by offering an appropriate learning environment and instruction while keeping the students in a mainstream setting.  

Mr. Manganiello completed his undergraduate degree at Lemoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., where he double majored in History and Religious Studies. He completed his graduate work and earned his master's degree in Special Education, with a concentration on learning disabilities from the College of New Rochelle. He later earned a second master's degree in History from Iona College.

Mr. Manganiello and his family always envisioned moving to North Carolina one day. They became more confident it was the correct decision when they visited the Christ School campus and met so many wonderful people, he said.

Mr. Manganiello also coaches in the Athletic Department and lives on campus with his wife, Joanne, and their son, Chase. During his free time, he enjoys cooking for his family and friends, playing sports, biking, writing, and playing with his son.

James Uhler has been a consummate faculty leader, embracing every new challenge in two-plus decades at Christ School. 

He stepped up to become the Associate Dean of Academics starting with the 2022-23 school year. 

Mr. Uhler has twice been named the school Teacher of the Year (2004 and 2017) and given invaluable education and encouragement to the youngest Greenies as our Eighth Grade Coordinator. He has also been a History instructor. 

Mr. Uhler won the P.H. Broyhill Teacher Award in 2013. He was twice selected to the Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers list (1998 and 2005). Mr. Uhler has served as a Consultant and Reader for the College Board for the AP U.S. History Exam in the past, chaired the History Department, coached Greenie baseball and swimming, been a house parent in the dorms, and headed up the summer work crew.

Mr. Uhler earned a B.A. degree in History from Xavier University as a University Scholar in 1996. He went on to receive a master’s in History from Ohio University five years later. Mr. Uhler and his wife, Becky, live on campus and have two children, Stella and Colin.

Watch Mr. Uhler discuss 8th grade education at Christ School.