The Jack Miller Center Announces Winners of Annual Excellence in Civic Education Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA, PA, October 13, 2023 – The Jack Miller Center is proud to announce that the winners of its annual Excellence in Civic Education Award are Alan Levine, Paul Wilford, and Jesse Perez. Stephanie Kaufman received an honorable mention.
Each year, the Jack Miller Center celebrates the great educators who are committed to passing down America’s history and founding principles, by recognizing the extraordinary work of one senior scholar and one junior scholar in higher education, and one teacher in K-12 education.
We believe that the continued existence of our constitutional republic depends upon an informed and engaged citizenry, and that the formation of this citizenry begins in the classroom. Great citizens are the result of great teachers. As our founder Jack Miller likes to say, “The battle for the soul of our country will be won or lost in our classrooms.”
That’s why JMC relies on student recommendations and actual examples of real-world impact, combined with in-depth reports from the educators themselves, to identify the best of the best in the world of civic education. This year’s winners should give us all hope about the future that is being built in their classrooms.
“These educators represent the best of America,” said the Jack Miller Center’s president, Hans Zeiger. “They inspire wonder in their students—which is absolutely vital for passing our country’s founding principles on to a new generation. They humanize the past and bring debates to life in the classroom. Alan, Paul, Jesse, and Stephanie are model teachers and masters of their profession. I am so grateful to have them in the Jack Miller Center’s network of scholars, and I am proud to be awarding them this prestigious honor.”
Alan Levine, the senior scholar winner, is Associate Professor of Government and the founder and director of the Political Theory Institute at American University. For nearly 30 years, Professor Levine has been helping skeptical students see the promise and goodness of America and its founding principles. As one former student put it, “by showing me how to engage in thoughtful inquiry about my assumptions, Professor Levine changed my perspective on America, and my intellectual trajectory.”
Paul Wilford, the junior scholar winner, is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boston College. Professor Wilford has been adept at turning his students into generous interlocutors who are able to engage productively across differences. Through teaching texts such as Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, he too has shown students how to engage with America’s ills without losing sight of its great promise.
Jesse Perez, the K-12 winner, teaches social studies at Shorewood High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In his nine years of teaching, Jesse has noticed a sharp decline in interest in America’s history and founding principles and has worked tirelessly to overcome this apathy. Jesse has been so successful in waking students up to the importance of America’s civic history that he has had students tell him that he inspired them to become teachers themselves.
Stephanie Kaufman, who received an honorable mention, teaches high school government in Sturgis, South Dakota. Stephanie’s students report how she makes civic education compelling by helping students engage directly with the primary source documents of our founding. Stephanie finds special meaning in bringing civic education back to American high school education, where it has increasingly been pushed out in favor of an exclusive emphasis on language arts and mathematics.
JMC salutes these great American educators. We thank Alan Levine, Paul Wilford, Jesse Perez, and Stephanie Kaufman for doing their part to ensure that we win the battle for the soul of the nation.
Through its network of more than 1,000 scholars in the fields of American history and political thought, the Jack Miller Center provides professional development for social studies teachers and builds innovative partnerships between higher education institutions and the K-12 teaching force. More information on the Jack Miller Center is available at www.jackmillercenter.org.
Contact: Marlee Promisel
About the Jack Miller Center
The Jack Miller Center is a nationwide network of scholars and civics teachers committed to educating the next generation about the foundational texts and ideas of the American political tradition.
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