Two state educators win national civil rights awards

WASHINGTON -- Two Massachusetts educators will be honored this summer with Human and Civil Rights Awards from the National Education Association.

MTA member John L. Reed, a social studies teacher in Barnstable and president of the Cape Cod branch of the NAACP, will receive the National Education Association's H. Councill Trenholm Memorial Award at the NEAs 42nd annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner on July 2, 2008, in Washington, D.C.

This award is given to a person whose work goes beyond the call of duty to free the education profession from inequities based on race or ethnicity.

In the early 1990s, citizens of Hyannis complained about young people disturbing the town's peace and of driving the tourists away. There were reports of fights and gunfire, and when a riot nearly erupted, the local police knew they needed help. John L. Reed, an engaged citizen, a local NAACP member and a local social studies teacher, brought that help by bringing understanding between the teenagers and the community.

"John Reed won this award because of his tireless efforts to create a mutual understanding between the young people and the citizens of the community," says NEA President Reg Weaver. "He understood that by educating them, he could bring them together."

By talking with the kids, mentoring them and exemplifying a positive adult role model they wanted to follow, Reed is credited with bringing calm to the town. He volunteered his weekend evenings for a year and became a highly respected community leader and educator. He has since become the president of the Cape Cod NAACP, and he still teaches social studies in the Barnstable Public School District.

Throughout the years, Reed has continued to work with the Barnstable Police Department, helping it develop its proactive program for civil rights, and has assisted as an instructor and trainer in its Citizens Police Academy sessions. He has worked with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office to promote safe schools. He also advises communities throughout the country on their outreach programs for local youths.

A member of NEA's Board of Directors, Reed served as chair of the NEA Black Caucus for two years. He also held offices in the MTA as well as the Barnstable Teachers Association.

Reed has a M.Ed. degree from UMass Amherst, and has done postgraduate work at Salem State College, Lesley University and Bridgewater State College.

Harper Councill Trenholm served for 21 years as executive secretary of the American Teachers Association (ATA). One of the country's most outstanding Black educators, he helped build ATA's numbers and strength and worked for the merger of ATA and NEA.

Dr. Susan McGilvray-Rivet of the Framingham Public Schools will receive the George I. Sanchez Memorial Award award for distinguished leadership in education and honors an individual whose activities have made significant improvements in educational opportunities and advanced the achievement of equal opportunity for Hispanics.

"Dr. Susan McGilvray-Rivet has been an advocate for children for many years," says NEA President Reg Weaver. "She understands that what works for some students doesn't always work for others, and she continually strives to deliver a quality public school education to every child."

McGilvray-Rivet is the director of bilingual education for Framingham. She has devoted her career to creating, through bilingual education, a culture of possibility for non-native speakers. Not only has she been articulate in defense of bilingual programs for their effectiveness in bringing learners to proficiency in English, but she has stood by her words as well, maintaining and expanding the program she established over 10 years ago in the public schools of Framingham.

Beginning in 1977 as an elementary bilingual Spanish teacher in Lawrence, McGilvray-Rivet has been employed in Massachusetts schools for over three decades. She assumed her position in Framingham in 1994. A graduate in elementary education and Spanish from Wittenberg University, she holds both M.Ed. and Ed.D. degrees from Boston University.

Minerva Gonzalez, principal of the Barbieri Elementary School, writes of her, "Her lifelong commitment to education has significantly impacted the lives of the children in our community and the community itself."

George I. Sanchez (1906-1972) was an educator, historian and author in the United States, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.  He devoted 50 years of his life to the education of Mexican, Navajo and Black children and is known as the "father of the movement for quality education for Mexican Americans."

--NEA media release