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Alumni Excellence in Education Award

Our alumni are changing the world. Each year the Alumni Excellence in Education Award honors GSE alumni for their contributions to the field.

The GSE welcomes nominations for the award. Recipients are honored at a ceremony during reunion weekend in the fall.

Nomination deadline: Monday, April 1, 2024

Nominate a PreK-12 educator, counselor, or resource teacher working with young people in a school setting.


Nominate an education scholar, faculty member, policy leader, edtech innovator, school administrator or other education professional.


2023 Recipients

Photo of Marciano Gutierrez, MA ’06

Stanford Teacher Education Program
Middle College Academic Advisor, Instructor at Foothill College

Gutierrez is recognized for exceptional teaching practice in alternative high school learning environments and facilitation of communication between educators and the US Department of Education.

Photo of Su Jin Jez, MA ’06, PhD ’08

Administration and Policy Analysis
Chief Executive Officer, California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy

Jez is known for helping to shape an inclusive future-ready system of education and workforce policies that will position all Californians to achieve their educational and career goals.

Photo of Joi A. Spencer, ’94, MA ’99

Language Learning and Policy
Dean and Professor, University of California, Riverside, School of Education

Spencer will be honored for working to change the way African American and other minoritized youth experience mathematics learning opportunities and improving educational equity in higher and K-12 education scholarship.

Photo of Dan Schwartz

“GSE alumni are leading the way in efforts to elevate the promise of education for children, families and nations. This award marks a critical step in our drive to highlight the transformative work of our alumni.”

Daniel L. Schwartz

I. James Quillen Dean, Stanford Graduate School of Education
Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Educational Technology

2022 Recipients

Photo of Alison Cook-Sather, MA ’87

Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP)
Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education, Bryn Mawr College

Cook-Sather is an influential leader in the field of student voice. She is recognized internationally for creating the Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT) program.

Photo of David Heinke, MA ’08

Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP)
Teacher and Math Department Lead, Fremont High School

Heinke is recognized for innovation in mathematics teaching, and for building pathways for students to see and wrestle with mathematics in the world around them. 

Photo of Marco Antonio Rodríguez Revoredo, MA ’75
Lifetime Achievement Award

Stanford International Development Education Center
General Coordinator of ALAS (Teaching Literacy to the Deaf)

Rodríguez is recognized for his advocacy in defense of the right to education for deaf-mute children in México, and for  facilitating literacy instruction for hundreds of thousands of members of the deaf community in Latin America. 

Photo of Ting Lan Sun, MA ’88

Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP)
Co-Founder, Natomas Charter School Adjunct Faculty and Leadership Coach, Sacramento County Office of Education

Sun is known for pioneering work in the charter school movement and for extraordinary versatility in applying her knowledge of teaching and school operations to state policy design. 

2021 Recipients

Photo of Salina Gray, PhD ’14

Curriculum Studies and Science Education
7th Grade Science Teacher, Mountain View Middle School

Gray is known as an advocate for trauma-informed instruction and a pedagogy of resilience whose practice honors the humanity of her students. 

Photo of Christine Yeh, PhD ’96

Counseling Psychology
Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology, University of San Francisco

Yeh is recognized for profound scientific contributions to the development and evaluation of school- and community-based programs for historically excluded communities. 

Photo of Rebecca Zeigler Mano, MA ’92

Stanford International Development Education Center and STEP
Founder and Director, Education Matters and USAP Community School

Zeigler Mano, while at the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe, created the United Student Achievers Program which helped more than 500 low-income students access full scholarships to attend U.S. colleges. 

2020 Recipients

Photo of Ronald Herring, ’58,  MA ’73, PHD ’73
Lifetime Achievement Award
Ronald Herring, ’58, MA ’73, PHD ’73

Stanford International Development Education Center
Founder and Director, California
International Studies Project, Equity and Access Project

Herring led a California network of university-school partnerships to strengthen global studies teaching and learning in K-12 schools. He is recognized for his lifetime commitment to cross-cultural understanding.

Photo of Maricela Montoy-Wilson, ’08, MA ’09
Maricela Montoy-Wilson, ’08, MA ’09

Stanford Teacher Education Program
Principal, Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School

Montoy-Wilson is known for building and empowering a community of self-directed learners and instructional staff who flourish under her leadership.

Photo of Kelley M. Skeff, MD, PhD ’81
Kelley M. Skeff, MD, PhD ’81

Curriculum Studies & Teacher Education
George DeForest Barnett Professor of Medicine
Stanford University Medical Center

Skeff helps medical faculty at Stanford and all over the world improve their teaching effectiveness. He co-created the Stanford Faculty Development Center, resulting in the training of over 30,000 faculty and residents. 

Photo of Laura Wentworth, MA ’06, PhD ’10
Early Career Award
Laura Wentworth, MA ’06, PhD ’10

Social Sciences Education, Administration & Policy Analysis
Director of Research Practice Partnerships
San Francisco Unified School District

Wentworth's contributions to build and sustain a model of social innovation through a long-term collaboration between an urban district and a university are a model for higher education.

2019 Recipients

Photo of Alexandra Bernadotte, MA '07

Founder & CEO, Beyond 12

Bernadotte and Beyond 12 support first-generation students in the transition to college via virtual human coaches and predictive analytics that connect K-12 and higher-ed student data. 

Photo of Irene Castillon, MA '10
Early Career Award

Teacher and Assistant Principal, Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School

Castillon designs research on best practices for teaching first-generation, low-income students, helping her students and colleagues find their voices as learners and leaders.

Photo of Larry Cuban, PhD '74
Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Emeritus, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Cuban's scholarship has illuminated the relationship among school structure, culture, and change for more than a generation. Named GSE Teacher of the Year seven times, he has shaped discourse across multiple sub-fields of education.

Photo of Gloria Ladson-Billings, PhD '84

Professor emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education

Ladson-Billings, an early proponent of critical race theory and culturally relevant pedagogy, exemplifies what it means to be a scholar and an activist. She is recognized for significant contributions to our understanding of the obstacles confronting all students of color.

2018 Recipients

Photo of Kimberly Gordon Biddle, EdS ’90, PhD ’93

Kimberly Gordon Biddle’s work sheds light on the role poverty and racism play in shaping a child’s future

Photo of Joyce E. King, ’69, PhD ’74

Joyce E. King is recognized for her work on issues around racial equity and justice in American education

Photo of Bernardo H. Naranjo, PhD ’02

Bernardo H. Naranjo designs and implements strategies to improve public school systems in Latin America

2017 Recipients

Photo of David Berliner, PhD ’68

David Berliner, PhD ’68, brings psychological advances to his study of teaching and impassioned rigor to his ongoing defense of public schools

Photo of Jeff Gilbert, ’89, MA ’90

Principal Jeff Gilbert, ’89, MA ’90, leads community and change in San Mateo, Calif.

Photo of Kirstin Milks, PhD ’09, MA ’10

Bloomington High School South’s Kirstin Milks teaches with inquiry, empathy and a constant drive to improve.

Photo of Gary Mukai, MA ’81

Gary Mukai, MA ’81, enriches classrooms in America and beyond as head of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education

2016 Recipients

Photo of Joseph Castro, PhD ’98

Alum Joseph Castro has boosted academic achievement by meeting the everyday challenges of his students.

Photo of Haydee Rodriguez, MA ’02

Haydee Rodriguez is recognized for her commitment to her students, high standards and creating powerful learning experiences.

Photo of Piya Sorcar, MA ’06, PhD ’09

Piya Sorcar reaches across disciplines and around the world to prevent disease and educate youth.

2015 Recipients

Photo of Jonathan Jansen, PhD ’91

Jonathan Jansen has been inspiring students throughout South Africa with a lesson he learned at Stanford: Aim high and think big.

Photo of Helen Kim, ’92, MA ’93

Helen Kim oversees daily miracles at Eastside College Preparatory School where students defy the odds and go on to college.

Photo of Carla Pugh, PhD ’01

Carla Pugh’s frustrations with medical training led her to Stanford Graduate School of Education. She graduated four years later with a plan.

Submit a nomination

2023 Alumni Awards Nominating Committee

This award program is led by a group of dedicated Stanford GSE alumni who are partnering with the school to strengthen and engage the GSE alumni community by recognizing the outstanding contributions of GSE trained teachers, principals, scholars, innovators, and education leaders.

Photo of committee of people.

Alumni committee members

Rebecca Altamirano, MA, ’01, Rie Kijima, MA ’03, PhD ’13, Joseph Makokha, MA ’10, PhD ’22, Marcela Muñiz, ’97, MA ’08, PhD ’12, Moolani Napolitani, MA ’06, Luke Anthony Peña, MA/MBA ’12, Idalia Rodriguez Morales, MA ’16, Rudy Rubio, ’08, MA ’09, Brooke Tassa, MA ’06

Faculty committee members

Janet Carlson, Shelley Goldman, Ann Jaquith, PhD ’09, Ira Lit, ’90, MA ’91, PhD ’04, Christopher Thomas, PhD ’96, John Willinsky

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