SPLC Honors Five Educators for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching

The Southern Poverty Law Center will recognize five outstanding educators with the first-ever Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Culturally Responsive Teaching on Dec. 9 in Washington, D.C.

The award recognizes educators who have demonstrated excellence in teaching students from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The winners were selected through a rigorous review process by an expert panel of teachers and researchers. Each educator will be presented with an award of $1,000.

The recipients are:

  • Silvestre Arcos, New York City;
  • Amber Makaiau, Oahu, Hawaii;
  • Soñia Galaviz, Nampa, Idaho;
  • Katy LaCroix, Ann Arbor, Mich.; and
  • Tracy Oliver-Gary, Burtonsville, Md.

“We are delighted to recognize these educators who have excelled at teaching and inspiring students from diverse backgrounds,” said Maureen Costello, director of the SPLC’s Teaching Tolerance program. “We hope this event not only recognizes their successes but highlights the importance of culturally responsive teaching in today’s increasingly diverse classrooms.”

The awards ceremony, organized by Education Week Teacher, will be held at The Pew Charitable Trusts D.C. Conference Center.

The event will feature a keynote presentation by Sonia Nieto, professor emerita of language, literacy and culture at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Nieto is the author of Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. The program also will include panel discussions exploring the nature of culturally responsive teaching and its importance in schools.

The award program is supported by a grant from The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University, a leading provider of online education degrees that prepares educators as scholar-practitioners who can inspire and impact their diverse learning communities.

For 20 years, Teaching Tolerance has provided anti-bias education resources to teachers across the country through its award-winning Teaching Tolerance magazine, multimedia teaching kits, online curricula, professional development resources and classroom-friendly social justice documentaries. These materials are provided to educators at no cost.