Mary Beth Klee has worn many different hats: historian, educator, and writer. “While remaining decidedly flawed myself, I have pursued a life-long interest in human excellence," she says. "How do we mere mortals realize our highest aspirations, deepest strivings, and greatest potential? How can we achieve excellence in our person and in our lives?"
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Klee holds her Ed.M. from Boston University and a Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization from Brandeis University. In 1991, after completing her doctorate and teaching history on the college level, Mary Beth founded Crossroads Academy, an independent day school in New Hampshire with twin goals of academic and moral excellence. As Head of School from 1991 to 1997, Dr. Klee oversaw the implementation of the newly published Core Knowledge Sequence. Seeking a character education program that moved beyond “values clarification” or “rights and responsibilities, Mary Beth worked with Crossroads faculty to develop a virtues-based approach. With a grant from the Challenge Foundation, she authored and Crossroads faculty piloted the literature-based Core Virtues program.
Core Virtues is in its twenty-fifth year of publication. Mary Beth has published three revisions and updates to the program since its release in 1995. (This site provides ongoing digital updates.) She has conducted workshops and professional development training in the program throughout the United States, as well as Chile and Kenya.
Convinced that our striving for human excellence must be grounded in the nature of the human experience, Dr. Klee has also worked on the development of K-12 history programs. With exceptional colleagues at K12, Inc., she co-edited three middle school world history textbooks:The Human Odyssey, Prehistory Through the Middle Ages (Vol 1),The Human Odyssey, Our Modern World 1400-1914 (Vol 2),The Human Odyssey, From Modern Times to Our Contemporary Era (Vol 3) and one U.S. history text with distinguished historian Morton Keller: The American Odyssey A History of the United States. (2009)
Mary Beth's most recent book, Leonore's Suite (2020) is historical fiction inspired by true events. It is a coming-of-age story of an American teen girl interned by the Japanese in World War II.
Dr. Klee currently serves on three independent school boards, lives and works in Hanover, New Hampshire, but in the summer, enjoys water sports with her husband Javier Valenzuela and family (including 4 grandchildren) in Portsmouth, RI.
Books written or edited