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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.

Submit a nomination

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 a gifted science educator whose practice honors the humanity of her students. She developed (W)holistic Science Pedagogy, an equitable science framework, and advocates for trauma-informed instruction and a pedagogy of resilience. As a teacher-scholar, she shares her knowledge widely with pre-service and in-service teachers. Gray’s COVID-19 and social justice teaching pivots, considered a model in the field, are adaptations of practices she developed and honed over two decades of science teaching leadership.

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. Her interdisciplinary approach to educational scholarship has generated a career award from the National Institute of Mental Health, a Spencer grant, and a Fulbright Senior Research Scientist Fellowship. Her drive to teach and learn from others and her tireless commitment to mentorship have influenced a generation of scholars and social justice advocates.

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 working at the U.S. Embassy in Zimbabwe, created the United Student Achievers Program (USAP) which has helped more than 500 low-income students access full scholarships to attend U.S. colleges. She founded Education Matters to expand college access and support for talented but disadvantaged students, and extended that support to refugee youth. In 2020, Zeigler Mano founded the USAP Community School on Quaker principles of integrity, service, and equality, all of which she has spent her life modeling.

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

2020 Recipients

Photo of Ronald Herring, ’58,  MA ’73, PHD ’73
Ronald Herring, ’58, MA ’73, PHD ’73

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

HERRING initiated and managed a California network of university-school partnerships to strengthen global studies teaching and learning in K-12 schools. His work focused on the use of academically engaging instructional processes, with an emphasis on responding to the challenges and skills of learners facing marginalization. He is recognized for his lifetime commitment to cross-cultural understanding and his knowledge of how to launch and sustain initiatives within complex organizational structures.

Lifetime Achievement Award
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. Her entire professional life has focused on lifting the voices of underserved students, families, and her community. She builds structures that support excellence and sustainability, while ensuring that every child and teacher can thrive and cultivate their curiosities and passions.

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 and Georgette Stratos, PhD, created the Stanford Faculty Development Center, resulting in the training of over 30,000 faculty and residents. He regards education and medicine as synergistic helping professions. His work has driven interest in medical education research and has emphasized the importance and nobility of both fields.

Photo of Laura Wentworth, MA ’06, PhD ’10
Laura Wentworth, MA ’06, PhD ’10

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

WENTWORTH is known as a passionate advocate for public education. Her contributions to construct and sustain a model of social innovation through a long-term and generative collaboration between a major urban district and a university have emerged as a model for other districts and universities. In doing so, she is transforming research-practice partnerships.

Early Career Award

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. By demonstrating that all students can graduate from college, Bernadotte is altering the definition of student success in the United States.

Photo of Irene Castillon, MA '10

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

Castillon is known for cultivating teachers through coaching and instruction, and for designing research on best practices for teaching first-generation, low-income students. A dynamic and passionate educator, Castillon helps her students and colleagues find their voices as learners and leaders.

Early Career Award
Photo of Larry Cuban, PhD '74

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 models the best of what a teacher can be for his students and colleagues, and has shaped discourse across multiple sub-fields of education.

Lifetime Achievement Award
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 both a scholar and an activist. She is recognized for her 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

2019 GSE Alumni Awards and Recognition 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

Gabriel Adauto, MA ’10, Rebecca Altamirano, MA ’01, Derrick Bolton, MA/MBA ’98, Paul Chapman, MA ’71, PhD ’80, Fadia Desmond, MA ’95, Norma Francisco, PhD ’99, Moolani Napolitani, MA ’06, Rudy Rubio, ’08, MA ’09, Thea Gentile Smith, MA ’89

Faculty committee members

Shelley Goldman, Rie Kijima, Michael Kirst, Emi Kuboyama, Rachel Lotan, Amado Padilla

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