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GSE recognizes four alumni for their exceptional leadership in education

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GSE recognizes four alumni for their exceptional leadership in education

Alexandra Bernadotte, Irene Castillon, Gloria Ladson-Billings and Larry Cuban are honored for their contributions to education.

Four alumni from Stanford Graduate School of Education have been chosen to receive awards for their commitment and contributions to transforming the field of education.

Alex Bernadotte, MA '07
Alexandra Bernadotte, MA '07 (Photo: Kevin Meynell)

The 2019 Alumni Excellence in Education Awards will be presented to the following individuals at a reception on October 25:

  • Alexandra Bernadotte, MA ’07, founder and CEO of Beyond 12
  • Irene Castillon, MA ’10, teacher and assistant principal at Cristo Rey San José Jesuit High School (inaugural Early Career Honoree)
  • Gloria Ladson-Billings, PhD ’84, professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education

The school is also celebrating Larry Cuban, PhD ’74, professor emeritus at the GSE, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. 

“The respective impacts that Alex, Irene, Gloria and Larry have had on teaching and learning is profound,” said Daniel Schwartz, the I. James Quillen Dean and Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Educational Technology. “They exemplify the dynamic nature of education and the role GSE graduates play in shaping best practices in the classroom and beyond.”

Seventeen alumni have been recognized since the Alumni Excellence in Education Award was established in 2015 to honor graduates whose research, teaching, writing, policymaking, entrepreneurship and/or leadership has advanced education locally, nationally, and internationally.

Irene Castillon, MA '10 (inaugural Early Career Honoree)
Irene Castillon, MA '10, inaugural Early Career Honoree (Photo: Holly Hernandez)

Recipients receive an honorarium made possible through the generosity and vision of Angela, ’93, and David Filo, MS ’90, and the Yellow Chair Foundation.

Leveling the playing field

Bernadotte is a social entrepreneur whose own struggle as a first-generation college student is the inspiration behind Beyond 12, a national nonprofit she founded in 2009 to increase the number of students from low-income and underrepresented families who earn college degrees. Beyond 12 uses an innovative model to provide students with academic and social support, including virtual human coaches, a mobile app and a predictive analytics engine that connects K-12 and higher education student data.

Bernadotte has received a number of accolades, including an Ashoka Fellowship and a Jefferson Award for Public Service, and was named a finalist for Visionary of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Castillon, who will be receiving the school’s inaugural Early Career Award for demonstrating exceptional early impact and promise in the first decade of her career, is also a first-generation college graduate. She works to support other low-income first-gen students, along with their teachers. She currently serves as assistant principal and teaches history at Cristo Rey San José Jesuit High School, a Catholic high school for students from underserved communities in San Jose, Calif.

Gloria Ladson-Billings, PhD '84
Gloria Ladson-Billings, PhD '84 (Photo: Marcus Miles Photography)

Castillon is also researching the experiences of first-generation Latinx college students in order to help identify more effective methods for supporting students in their journey to and through college. She is a vocal proponent of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) law and immigration reform that protects undocumented students and, in 2016, was recognized by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics under President Barack Obama.

Ladson-Billings is a preeminent educational anthropologist who is credited with developing new models for understanding academic disparities between mainstream and minority students. After earning her doctorate in curriculum and teacher education, Ladson-Billings taught at Santa Clara University and the GSE before joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. She retired from teaching in 2018 and is now serving a four-year term as the president of the National Academy of Education.

She has also written two critically acclaimed books, The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African-American Children (1994) and Crossing Over to Canaan: The Journey of New Teachers in Diverse Classrooms (2001).

Honoring a lifetime of contributions

Cuban is only the second educator to be recognized by the GSE for lifetime achievements (following David Berliner, professor emeritus at Arizona State University, in 2017).

Larry Cuban, PhD '74
Larry Cuban, PhD '74 (Photo: Holly Hernandez)

A beloved professor named “teacher of the year” seven times at the GSE, Cuban worked in education for 45 years—first as a high school social studies teacher, then as a district superintendent and finally as a GSE professor for 20 years—before his formal retirement in 2001. He is known as a leading scholar on the history of school reform and the challenges of bringing new research insights and techniques, including technology, into the classroom.

He is the author of numerous books including Tinkering Towards Utopia (with David Tyack), The Flight of a Butterfly or the Path of a Bullet? and Teaching History Then and Now.

Fall awards ceremony

Each year, recipients of the Alumni Excellence in Education award are chosen by a panel that includes GSE alumni, faculty and the dean. Dean Schwartz will present the award at a campus reception on Oct. 25 during Reunion Homecoming Weekend.

Find out more about the award and see profiles of past recipients. Register for the 2019 Alumni Award Reception here.

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