Long considered one of Loudoun’s leading historians and preservationists, Richard T. Gillespie is preparing to retire from his post leading the Mosby Heritage Area Association.
Gillespie will step down as executive director on Jan. 1. The former Loudoun Valley High School history teacher will remain in a consulting role as historian emeritus and will continue to help shape the organization’s schools and public programming.
Gillespie’s passion for history dates back to his high school days in Lexington, MA, and continued at the College of William and Mary and into his 30-year teaching career at Loudoun Valley. Following his retirement from Loudoun County Public Schools in 2004, Gillespie began a new career as the first educator for MHAA, before being tapped to serve as executive director.
His departure will trigger several staff changes at the organization.
Jennifer Worcester Moore, currently director of administration, will take over as executive director. Moore is a former student of Gillespie’s who earned a history degree at Mary Washington College in 2003. After graduation, Moore worked first with the Waterford Foundation before joining the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership for five years. In 2012, Moore joined MHAA.
“As his former student, this transition speaks to the impact that Mr. Gillespie has had on thousands of students, helping them find their niche in the world and empowering them to pursue history as a passion, and, if possible, as a profession,” Moore said.
Gillespie expressed confidence in Moore’s ability to lead the organization, saying her experience, organizational skills and institutional knowledge of the heritage area will allow for a smooth transition.
Also in January, Education Specialist Kevin Pawlak will take on Gillespie’s former role as director of education. Pawlak has strong interpretive programming skills, National Park Service interpretive training and a rapidly expanding knowledge of the area’s history. A published historian and licensed battlefield guide for Antietam National Battlefield, Pawlak is an acknowledged expert on the Battle of Shepherdstown that followed Antietam. He attended Shepherd University and also worked at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
Founded in 1995, the association works to preserve historically significant and scenic land in Loudoun, Fauquier, Clarke, Warren, and western Prince William counties through educational programs that promote awareness, appreciation, and stewardship of the heritage area. During the 2015-2016 school year, the organization’s educational programs reached 4,800 students.
Learn more at mosbyheritagearea.org.