Each year, Pacific Educational Group recognizes educators, family, and community members who enthusiastically and unapologetically promote equity and racial justice in schools. Not only do these leaders engage, sustain, and deepen Courageous Conversation among a variety of constituencies, but they also inspire and mobilize others to create the climate and conditions for equitable schools that enable all children to achieve at their highest levels. The award categories for the National Summit for Courageous Conversation are:
The Asa G. Hilliard Award for Outstanding Achievement in Racial Equity
This most prestigious National Summit for Courageous Conversation recognition is presented to a leader whose racial equity achievements have had an immense impact on the cultural, social, and academic development of underserved student of color populations. Known for his cutting-edge work in culture-centered education for people of African ancestry, Dr. Asa G. Hilliard’s (1933-2007) relentless pursuit of truth, justice, and freedom was as pronounced as the depth of his spirituality, love for his people, and joy for his scholarship.
The Asa G. Hilliard Award recipient is distinguished in the following ways: Passionate, Revolutionary, Understands Self, Nurtures Greatness in Others, Confronts and Challenges Racism.
The Honorable John W. Buckner Leadership Award
(Formerly the National Summit for Courageous Conversation Leadership Award)
The Honorable John W. Buckner (1947-2015) was a fearless champion of racial equity who blazed a multifaceted career in education and public service. For 33 years, John provided leadership as an administrator in Cherry Creek Public Schools including Principal of his beloved Overland High School for 17 years, and as the Executive Director for Equity and Excellence until his retirement in 2008. He was a tireless, unabashed advocate for equality in public education who had a passion for learning and who considered knowledge as a reward in itself. In 2012, after a stellar and iconic career in the Cherry Creek and Aurora communities, led by his dedication to equity in public education, John became the first African American and Democrat to be elected as State Representative for House District 40 in the Colorado General Assembly, where he served as Chairman of the House Education Committee.
It is in recognition of his leadership through passion, practice and persistence, that the National Summit for Courageous Conversation Leadership Award is re-named in his honor.
This award is presented to administrators who skillfully and courageously establish an equity/anti-racist culture and climate in schools that enables all staff and students, especially those of color, to feel their power and achieve at higher levels.
The Honorable John W. Buckner Leadership Award recipient is distinguished in the following ways: Passionate transformational leadership at the personal, professional, and organizational level; Implements practices that are strategic, equity-focused, mission-driven, and results-oriented; and is Persistent in the pursuit of racial justice in schools.
The National Summit for Courageous Conversation Learning & Teaching Award
The Learning & Teaching Award is presented to a classroom teacher who demonstrates radically innovative, culturally relevant instruction that engages all students, and especially, promotes the highest achievement of underserved student of color populations. Learning & Teaching Award recipients are distinguished in the following ways:
- Practice radically innovative, culturally relevant instruction; models action research and on-going learning; and are able to indicate expertise and the humility to continue learning and growing;
- Passionate about engaging students in courageous conversations and courageous learning, and strive to be leaders for achieving racial equity in the classroom;
- Persistent in the relentless pursuit of the highest priority of transforming instruction so that it meets the needs of underserved student of color populations.
The National Summit for Courageous Conversation Community Empowerment Award
This Award is presented to family members or local leaders who effectively broker collaboration focused on racial equity between and among community members and their schools.
The National Summit for Courageous Conversation Community Empowerment Award recipient is distinguished in his or her passion about the welfare of children.
Charles L. Hopson Racial Equity Principal Leadership Award
Dr. Charles L. Hopson (1957-2012) was a most courageous and competent racial equity leader who served as Superintendent of Pulaski County Schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. His quiet and gentle determination and persistence was the way in which he moved his revolutionary equity theory into purposeful equity practice. While finding success in all arenas of leadership, Hopson most appreciated and celebrated his time as principal at Franklin High School in Portland, Oregon, where he effectively engaged teachers, students and parents in Courageous Conversation and courageous leadership. It is because of this innovative work that our leadership award is in his name.
The Ruby Bridges Student Leadership and Courage Award
In 1960, Ruby Bridges and five other little girls led the way as they became the first African American students to attend the segregated public schools of New Orleans. Enduring qualification testing and protests, these young champions of racial equity integrated previously all-white elementary schools in isolation for two years as white parents withdrew all their students and school officials covertly continued segregation in defiance of federal court requirements under Brown v. Board of Education to end separate and inherently unequal educational opportunities.
The Ruby Bridges Student Leadership and Courage Award is established in recognition of the leadership and courage demonstrated by six-year old Ruby in the face of adversity and blazing the trail for the millions of African American and students of color who would follow in the on-going effort to ensure equitable educational opportunities in the public education systems of the United States for all of our children.
This award is presented to students who demonstrate the power of courage and leadership required to successfully navigate community and school culture and climate to achieve at the highest levels as an expression of their passion, practice and persistence.
The Ruby Bridges Student Leadership and Courage Award recipient is distinguished in the following ways: demonstrates academic, social, and extracurricular excellence and leadership, and exemplifies racial and cultural consciousness in their school and community racial equity leadership pursuits.