About Religion Matters

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Executive Director

Tim Hall, Ph.D. is a 9-12 Social Studies Learning Guide with Vance Virtual Village Academy, a Senior Fellow of the Religious Freedom Institute, founder of the website, Religion Matters, adjunct history instructor at Piedmont Community College, and Vice President of the North Carolina Council for the Social Studies. He also serves as Vance County Coordinator for the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust. He is the author of several textbook supplements, curriculums, standards, and popular history texts, including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World History and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Middle Ages. 

As an educator, Dr. Hall has taught AP World History, AP European History, AP Psychology, AP US History, and numerous other social studies courses. He has received multiple awards, including two schoolteacher studentships to Oxford University for curriculum development and research fellowships to the Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College in Minnesota.

Dr. Hall has collaborated with the College of William and Mary in Virginia to develop curriculum materials for the teaching of the principle of separation of church and state in American history as an extension to a National Endowment for the Humanities seminar. He has recently participated in the Harvard Divinity School Religion and Public Life’s Religious Literacy Summer Institute for Educators.

Within the field of education, Dr. Hall advocates for civic, digital, and religious literacy and global competence. He was honored as the 2021-2022 Vance County Teacher of the Year. Dr. Hall is a member of the National Council for the Social Studies, American Academy of Religion, and the North Carolina Council for the Social Studies.

Assistant Director

Sabrina D. MisirHiralall, Ed.D recently published “Devotional Hindu Dance: A Return to the Sacred” with Palgrave MacMillan. The text discusses the problems of Hindu dance as cultural and calls for a return of Hindu dance to a sacred, religious art form. Also, together with Christopher Fici and Gerald Vigna, she edited the text “Religious Studies Scholars as Public Intellectuals” for the Routledge in Religion Series. In addition, MisirHiralall published a book entitled “Confronting Orientalism A Self-Study of Educating Through Hindu Dance.” In the text, MisirHiralall focuses on how she uses Kuchipudi Indian classical Hindu dance to educate non-Hindus about Hinduism with postcolonial realities in mind. MisirHiralall aims to develop a de-Orientalized postcolonial pedagogy to confront Orientalism and the long legacy of colonization. She defended her dissertation in the Pedagogy and Philosophy program at Montclair State University.

MisirHiralall taught in elementary schools and also worked as a literacy consultant. At NJCU, she taught undergraduate education classes, graduate students, and taught for the Philosophy and Religion department. In addition, she taught philosophy courses and student success courses part-time at Middlesex County College. MisirHiralall received the Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award 2015 from MCC. She currently teaches as an online adjunct professor in the Educational Foundations Department and Religion Department at Montclair State University. She also teaches philosophy and religion courses online for Three Rivers Community College and St. John’s University. She is a member of the American Education Research Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the American Philosophical Association.  She serves as the Associate Editor of the Blog of the American Philosophical Association.

Editor

Rev. Vicki Garlock, Ph.D. is the founder of Faith Seeker Kids, a company dedicated to improving religious literacy in children and their adults. She is also the author of Embracing Peace: Stories from the World’s Faith Traditions and the award-winning We All Have Sacred Spaces. Both books, geared to kids age 5-10, offer insight into numerous religious traditions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism.

Many decades ago, Vicki earned her undergraduate Psychology degree from Brown University and her Ph.D. from the Univ. of AL, Birmingham (UAB) with dual specialties in Neuroscience and Cognitive Development. She then worked for over a decade as a full-time Psychology professor at Warren Wilson College, where she taught a variety of courses related to child development, biopsychology, and cognition.

Next, she served as the Nurture Coordinator and Curriculum Specialist for Jubilee! Community, a progressive-type Christian church in Asheville, NC. While there, she developed a multi-faith curriculum for kids age 3 through 8th grade and was ordained as their Minister of Education. The four-volume (for 4 different age groups) Peace unit of that curriculum has also been published.

Over the years, Vicki has written extensively for both The Interfaith Observer and Multicultural Kid Blogs and regularly works with educators, parents, and faith communities. Her next book, Sharing the World’s Holidays with Kids, features background information, stories, crafts, and activities for kid-friendly holidays in eight different religious traditions. She lives in Asheville with her husband, and they have two almost-grown children. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok (@vickigarlock).