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GSE honors four alumni for innovation and leadership

GSE honors four alumni for innovation and leadership

This year’s award recipients have helped underserved students, promoted cutting-edge research and introduced new teaching techniques.

Four alumni from Stanford Graduate School of Education have been recognized for their groundbreaking efforts to improve teaching, advance research and shape government policy.

The 2020 Alumni Excellence in Education Awards will be presented to the following individuals at a virtual celebration on October 15 (register here):

  • Maricela Montoy-Wilson, ’08, MA ’09, principal at Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School
  • Kelley Skeff, PhD ’81, the George DeForest Barnett Professor of Medicine at Stanford University
  • Laura Wentworth, MA’ 06, PhD ’10 (Early Career Honoree), founding director of Research Practice Partnerships, a collaboration between GSE faculty and San Francisco Unified School District leaders

The school is also honoring Ronald Herring, ’58, MA ’73, PhD ’73, a longtime senior administrator of numerous international studies initiatives at Stanford, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“All together, Mari, Kelley, Laura and Ron have advanced teaching and learning at every level, from kindergarten to graduate school,” said Daniel Schwartz, the I. James Quillen Dean and Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Educational Technology. “These are exceptional leaders whose commitment to equity, collaboration and innovation embody the ethos of the GSE.”

Since it was established in 2015, the Alumni Excellence in Education Award has recognized 21 GSE graduates whose research, teaching, writing, policymaking, entrepreneurship and/or leadership has advanced education locally, nationally, and internationally. The Early Career Award, introduced last year, celebrates alumni who are within a decade of their graduation.

Empowering self-directed learners

Photo of Maricela Montoy-Wilson

Maricela Montoy-Wilson, ’08, MA ’09

Montoy-Wilson leaves “every community she has connected with better for her presence in it,” as one teacher at Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School put it. The school’s principal since 2015—and before that, a master teacher and mentor in its first, second and third grade classes—Montoy-Wilson has committed her career to the school for more than a decade. She is known for her fierce advocacy on behalf of the community’s students and families.

Montoy-Wilson believes in serving the whole child, actively working toward equity and promoting a lifelong-learner mentality. She works to support all learners in feeling empowered and trusted to find their passions. “[I]n so many instances,” she has written, we “rob students of the opportunity to think for themselves, to create, to imagine.”

In addition to teaching and leading, Montoy-Wilson has been active in panel discussions and in partnerships with the Teaching Channel and programs including the Project for Education Research that Scales (PERTS), the Aspire Teacher Residency Program and the America Achieves Fellowship for Teachers and Principals. She has also served as a mentor to students in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP).

Transforming medical education

Photo of Kelley Skeff

Kelley Skeff, PhD ’81

Skeff, a Stanford faculty member for nearly 40 years, is widely recognized for pioneering improvements in medical school faculty development. In the late 1970s, he expanded his career in internal medicine to pursue a PhD in education to research and address shortfalls he identified in clinical teaching. While at the GSE, he and Georgette Stratos developed a framework for analyzing teaching that ultimately led, with a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services, to the creation of the Stanford Faculty Development Center for Medical Teachers. Since its inception, the center has assisted thousands of instructors from around the world in improving the effectiveness of their teaching and has become the gold standard for medical faculty development.

“There may be no single individual in our generation who has had a bigger impact on medical education, both through a body of unmatched scholarship and through the thousands of teachers’ lives he has touched in his work,” said Clarence Braddock III, the vice dean for education at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

Leading at the intersection between research and practice

Photo of Laura Wentworth, MA’ 06, PhD ’10 (Early Career Honoree)

Laura Wentworth, MA’ 06, PhD ’10
Early Career Honoree

Wentworth, the recipient of this year’s Early Career Award, brings researchers and school leaders together to improve education through research. She is the director of the Research Practice Partnership Program at California Education Partners, a nonprofit that supports collaboration in the education sector. Wentworth is the founding director of the Stanford-SFUSD Partnership, a collaboration launched in 2009 between the GSE and the San Francisco Unified School District, which has led to hundreds of research projects supporting, among other successes, the spread of ethnic studies courses nationwide, state-level bilingual education policies and increased graduation rates in San Francisco, especially for African American and Latinx students.

Wentworth is known for her expertise in brokering relationships between the GSE and San Francisco public schools by identifying areas of research that match district priorities, coaching faculty and engaging district leaders. In 2016, she oversaw the launch of a second GSE-district collaboration: the Stanford-Sequoia K-12 Research Collaborative, which includes nine school systems in the San Francisco Bay Area’s San Mateo County, and is more recently supporting the director of UC-Berkeley and Oakland Unified School District’s emerging partnership.

Advancing global studies in the classroom

Photo of Ron Herring

Ronald Herring, ’58, MA ’73, PhD ’73
Lifetime Achievement Honoree

For more than 60 years, Herring has worked, too, to build closer ties between universities and K-12 schools—but with the overarching goal of introducing a global studies curriculum in public schools and ensuring that teachers are prepared to deliver it.

Herring’s career as an organizer of skill development programs for teachers began in the 1960s as a model teacher and instructional coach with the Peace Corps. In the early 1970s, as associate director of what is now the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, he encouraged programs across the university that were involved in international affairs teaching and research to develop partnerships with Bay Area K-12 schools and districts.

The collaboration that resulted became the prototype for a network of university-school partnerships known today as the California Global Education Project, which was authorized by the California legislature in 1985 to strengthen global studies teaching and learning in K-12 schools statewide. Herring directed the network until 2015.

More recently, to better integrate equity instructional practices with academic content on global studies, Herring established Equity and Access, a nonprofit supporting teachers and school communities throughout California.

Online awards ceremony

Each year, winners of the Alumni Excellence in Education Award are chosen by a panel that includes GSE alumni, faculty and the dean. Recipients also receive an honorarium made possible through the generosity and vision of Angela, ’93, and David Filo, MS ’90, and the Yellow Chair Foundation.

The winners also are typically feted at an awards ceremony during reunion. The coronavirus pandemic has moved the October 15 event online

Find out more about the award nomination criteria and see profiles of past recipients.

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