MAITLAND, Fla. (June 14, 2024) — The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida (the Holocaust Center) welcomed 150 teachers from across the state for a powerful week of programming, discussions and conversations with leading Holocaust experts as part of this year’s Dr. Norman M. Wall Teachers’ Institute, held at the Center’s Maitland campus.


“The mission of the Holocaust Center has always been to build a just and caring community free of antisemitism and all forms of prejudice and bigotry, and this begins with education,” said Ron Schirtzer, President of the Holocaust Center Board of Directors. “It was inspiring to me to see how powerful this week was for the 150 teachers who attended, in person as well as virtually, and we are honored to play this role in the community.”


The Center welcomed 150 teachers for 15 powerful learning sessions held over the course of one week. These sessions covered important aspects of Holocaust pedagogy and effective techniques to ensure these lessons connect with students. Examples of learning sessions included “Holocaust Standards, Resources and Pedagogy,” “Secret Lessons: Education as Resistance” and “Dealing with Antisemitism in the Classroom.”


“This is the best [professional development] I’ve ever attended and I know that I will be feeding off of it for a very long time,” said Elena Zolnowski, a teacher at Morning Star Catholic School.


“An inspiring and emotional event,” said Mary Smith, a teacher at Orange County Schools. “[I] love having the opportunity to meet and learn from so many awesome peers.”


“The Teachers’ Institute is one of the best Holocaust Center offerings and it was my absolute privilege to spend time with these amazing educators for a week of inspiring learning and conversation,” said Talli Dippold, CEO of the Holocaust Center. “I am proud of our work in increasing understanding and helping teachers connect with their students about this critical topic.”

Teaching and learning about the Holocaust provides an essential opportunity to inspire critical thinking, societal awareness, and personal growth. Even decades later, societies continue to wrestle with both the memory and historical record of the Holocaust and how it relates to contemporary challenges. The Holocaust, while unique in its historical context, raises profound questions about individual and collective responsibility, active citizenship, and the societal structures that can become dangerous—which are often amplified today through social media algorithms. 

The workshop also focused on standards-based engagement strategies, aligning Holocaust education with new mandates and best practices. Participants explored teaching with testimony, utilizing the voices of Holocaust victims to humanize the history and create a deeper impact on students. Additionally, the institute introduced new digital resources, addressing how to find and validate sources and utilize the latest tools available.


Speakers included Dippold and Holocaust Center Education Director Stephen Poynor, who facilitates the Teachers’ Institute, along with guest scholars Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming, Senior Project Director at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Dr. Nicole Freeman, Director of Education at the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach.  In addition, last week the Holocaust Center honored the sacrifice and heroism of those who took part in D-Day, with an exhibit called “Storming the Shore: Jewish American Courage on D-Day.”



Founded in 1980 as a series of lectures on the Holocaust, the Center opened its current museum in 1986. It was founded by Holocaust Survivor and local philanthropist, Tess Wise. Located near Orlando, the Holocaust Center attracts visitors from around the world. Their mission is to use the history and lessons of the Holocaust to build a just and caring community free of antisemitism and all forms of prejudice and bigotry. To learn more about the Holocaust Center, visit