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Stanford GSE honors four alumni for excellence in education

Photo of four 2022 alumni award recipients

Stanford GSE honors four alumni for excellence in education

Alison Cook-Sather, David Heinke, Ting Lan Sun, and Marco Antonio Rodríguez Revoredo are recognized for their impact on teaching and learning.

Four alumni from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education are being recognized for their leadership and innovation in the field of education.

The 2022 Alumni Excellence in Education Awards will be presented to the following three individuals on Oct. 20:

  • Alison Cook-Sather, MA ’87, the Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College
  • David Heinke, MA ’08, teacher and math department lead at Fremont High School  
  • Ting Lan Sun, MA ’88, co-founder of Natomas Charter School and adjunct faculty and leadership coach at the Sacramento County Office of Education

The GSE is also honoring Marco Antonio Rodríguez Revoredo, MA ’75, a longtime advocate of the right to education for underserved children in Mexico, with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“All four of this year’s award recipients are transforming education in extraordinary ways,” said Daniel Schwartz, the I. James Quillen Dean and Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Educational Technology. “We’re proud to honor their leadership and commitment, and to celebrate the impact of their work.”

Since it was established in 2015, the Alumni Excellence in Education Award has recognized 28 GSE graduates whose research, teaching, leadership, and entrepreneurship has advanced education locally, nationally, and internationally. 

A leading scholar on student voice and pedagogical partnership

Alison Cook-Sather, who earned her master’s degree from the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), is an influential leader in the fields of student voice and pedagogical partnership, particularly as those support equity and inclusion in higher education. The Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College, Cook-Sather also directs the Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. 

She is recognized internationally for creating the Students as Learners and Teachers (SaLT) program, which places undergraduates in the paid position of pedagogical consultant to faculty. She has presented and published extensively on student voice and student-teacher partnerships, including the books Co-creating Equitable Teaching and Learning: Structuring Student Voice Into Higher Education and Promoting Equity and Justice Through Pedagogical Partnership. 

“Learning with Dr. Cook-Sather is always a partnership: an exchange premised on respect and the belief that each person has something to teach to and learn from the other,” said Katherine A. Rowe, president of the College of William & Mary and a former faculty colleague of Cook-Sather’s at Bryn Mawr. 

A mentor for a generation of math teachers

David Heinke, who also received his master’s degree from STEP, is being recognized for his innovation in mathematics teaching and for his commitment to mentorship in the field. As a teacher at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, Calif., he fosters a strong and supportive community in the classroom, building pathways for students to see and wrestle with mathematics in the world around them. As math department lead, he has worked to overhaul and develop new curricula, and he successfully advocated for lower student-teacher ratios as a contract stipulation, allowing algebra teachers to spend more time working directly with the school’s neediest math students. 

Heinke is widely admired by his students and colleagues for his care and humor, and for his ability to meet students where they are and inspire them to achieve beyond their expectations. He has led efforts to ensure that all students have access to challenging content, including a successful initiative to de-track geometry classes. As a STEP Cooperating Teacher, he has helped mentor a generation of STEP candidates.

“David gave me such confidence in myself as a teacher that when something didn’t go perfectly in my classroom, I looked at it as a puzzle to be figured out, not as something that reflected badly on me as a teacher or as a person,” said Tara Palomares, MA ’12, who worked with Heinke as her cooperating teacher while she was a student in the STEP program. “Teaching is wonderfully challenging and with it comes many emotions, but because of David, I was able to see every challenge as something to tackle.” 

“In everything he does, his passion for education shines through,” said Romi Elyashar, a former high school student of Heinke’s. “It is obvious to all of his students how much he cares about them, and how much he wants them to succeed.”

A versatile leader in education

Ting Lan Sun, who earned her master’s degree from STEP as well, is being recognized for her pioneering work in the charter school movement. The co-founder and former executive director of Natomas Charter School in Sacramento, Calif., Sun now serves as adjunct faculty and leadership coach at the Sacramento County Office of Education. 

Sun is known for extraordinary versatility in applying her knowledge of teaching and school operations to state policy design to better serve the state’s diverse public school students. She has influenced California schools through decades of public service, including in her roles as past chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and as a former member of the California State Board of Education. 

“Her breadth of knowledge and experience in education is unsurpassed,” said former California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., who has called upon Sun for her expertise in his role as founder and chair of a public charter school in Oakland, Calif. “She is as comfortable wrestling with education theory and policy as she is managing practical and technical day-to-day school operations. This is remarkable.”

An advocate for an ‘invisible’ population

Marco Antonio Rodríguez Revoredo, who received his master’s degree from the Stanford International Development Education Center (SIDEC), is being recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work to create educational opportunities for underserved populations in Mexico.

In 1969, Rodríguez Revoredo organized a high school and new curriculum for young people with limited schooling, whose graduates have gone on to notable achievements in college. In Veracruz, he initiated and helped develop the Telebaccalaureate Program, making it possible for young people in rural communities to get a high school education; the program was later extended to other states in Mexico. As founding director of the Television Channel of Hidalgo, he promoted the production of programs in indigenous languages that were developed ​​with community members’ participation. 

Rodríguez Revoredo currently coordinates Alfabetizar a Sordos (ALAS), or Teaching Literacy to the Deaf, a digital platform he created with support from the Universidad Veracruzana to facilitate literacy instruction for members of the deaf community in Latin America. In Mexico, “the deaf children are invisible,” said Carlos Ornelas, a professor of education and communications at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City. “There are special education schools that teach sign language … but children do not learn to read and write in these programs.” With the ALAS platform, he said, the deaf “may finally become a fully participating member of their community.”

Awards ceremony

The award recipients are selected by a panel that includes GSE alumni, faculty, and the dean. Awardees receive an honorarium made possible through the generosity and vision of Angela, ’93, and David Filo, MS ’90, and the Yellow Chair Foundation. 

The recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony on campus Oct. 20 during Reunion Homecoming Weekend. 

Learn more about and register for this year’s award reception and other reunion events.

Stanford GSE 2022 Alumni Excellence in Education Award winners (L-R):Alison Cook-Sather, David Heinke, Marco Antonio Rodríguez Revoredo, and Ting Lan Sun

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