Stephen Gifford

  • Springfield IL
Stephen Gifford

Social studies teacher/national guard soldier


Park Ranger for the National Park Service for four years, before that I worked for the State of Illinois with the Historic Preservation Agency. After leaving public history I went to work with the Chicago Public School system, and now at Riverton High School. I am into my second year with the 1-178 INF in the Illinois Army National Guard attached to the Headquarters unit in Chicago.  

Work History

Work History
Aug 2014 - Present

Social Studies Teacher

Riverton High School

Teach a variety of Social Studies courses, including Intro to Psychology, Dual Credit Psychology, American Government, American Government Honors, Consumer Education, and Introduction to Social Studies. Designing engaging lessons with differentiated instruction, manage classroom behavior, develop varied assessments, and work to promote student success. Build lines of communication between myself, students, families, and the administration. Use the RTI framework to address student needs before they become major issues. Created and maintained high academic standards and expectations to promote student growth academically, emotionally, morally, and socially.

Jan 2014 - Present

13F10 Fire Support Specialist

Illinois Army National Guard

Lead and instructs forward observer and combat observation lasing team, assists in training subordinates in fire support. Assists in developing fire support plans and tactics prepares target lists and assists in compiling target information sets up and maintains observation system, performs map reconnaissance. Reads maps and makes map entries, assists in fire support panning, prepares staff journals, prepares target records encodes and decodes messages. Request munitions, emplaces and uses laser range finders, determines target location erects antennas and installs field telephones.

Feb 2012 - Oct 2014


Starbucks Corporation

Greet customers as they arrive at the Starbucks outlet and inquire into their orders. Provide customers with information on popular coffee blends. Educate patients about the history of each coffee blend when inquired. Take orders from customers and punch them in the coffee shop database. Provide customers with price information and billing stubs. Give customers samples of popular coffee blends with a view to creating sales opportunities. Ensure that any complaints are entertained in a positive manner with a view to keep customers happy and ensure recurring business. Take payments for coffee sold and tender change. Ensure cleanliness and sanitation of all work areas,make sure that coffee brewing equipment is cleaned, sanitized and maintained properly on a constant basis. Make minor repairs on coffee brewing equipment. 

May 2012 - Nov 2012

Park Ranger

National Park Service

Visitor center operations of the Johnstown Flood National Memorial and Allegheny Portage National Historic Site. Security of park buildings, open and closing procedures, bookstore sales, and park multimedia display maintenance and operation. Historic information, walking and vehicle tour operation, living history demonstrations, special events to commemorate significant park dates and general visitor interactions. Research and develop various programs within the park, including nineteenth century transportation and infrastructure, nineteenth century political, social and labor history, and nineteenth century immigrant roles.  Living history demonstrations using reproduction tools and weapons including axes, knives, hammers and chisels, and flintlock weapons. ensure visitor safety during demonstrations as well as during normal daily operation. Foot and bike patrol of paths within park, and operate park vehicles in a safe and lawful manner.

Mar 2010 - Dec 2011

Park Ranger

national Park Service

Visitor center operations and ticket sales at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Develop and present a variety of tours around the park including of the Lincoln Home itself. Living History demonstrations of topics important to mid nineteenth century history including political, social, economic, immigrant, and slavery topics. Foot patrols of the area of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, visitor interactions, answer questions, direct lost visitors, and serve as a medical responder to emergencies. Social Media coordinator managing the Facebook and Twitter presence of the Lincoln Home. Education Coordinator connecting with educators around Illinois to prepare them for field trips to the site with materials to enhance time spent at the park with their students.

Apr 2009 - Nov 2009

Site Interpretor

Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Develop and present interpretive programs covering mid nineteenth century at the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site. Lead tours of up to 60 people, drawn from public visitors and organized trips of youth and adults. Research and write on the lives of the Lincoln family covering a variety of topics, create informational signs for public use, and paper handouts for public distribution. Open and closing procedures to ensure historic integrity of structure and artifacts. 


Jan 2006 - Dec 2011

Bachelor of Science in Bible

Lincoln Christian University
Jan 2008 - Dec 2011

Bachelor of Art in History

University of Illinois at Springfield

Coursework focused on American History through chronological and thematic organization. Minor in secondary education. State certification to teach 6-12 Social Studies in Illinois. 


Feb 2012 - Present

Illinois Teaching Certification

Illinois State Board of Education

6-12 Social Science 



David Wachtveitl/ Program Analyst - Illinois Army National Guard

David was a Park Ranger with me at the Lincoln Home, and currently serves as a Lt. in the Illinois Army National Guard in addition to his role as a Program Analyst. He can be contacted at 217-761-3972 or 

Karen Estep/Director of Teacher Education - Lincoln Christian University

Karen is the head of my department at Lincoln Christian University. You can contact her at or 217-732-7788 ext. 2327.

Doug Bosley/ Park Ranger - Allegheny Portage National Historic Site & Johnstown Flood National Memorial

Doug was a Ranger with me in Pennsylvania, he is currently a permanent Ranger at both parks.  814-866-6162 or