Alumna Laura Taylor honored as Educator of the Year by GLSEN

by The College of Education and Champaign Unit 4 Schools  /   May 1, 2014

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Dr. Laura Taylor, Ed.D. ’06 EPOL, will receive the Educator of the Year Award May 19 at the annual Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network Respect Awards ceremony at Gotham Hall in New York City. Taylor is currently an assistant superintendent for achievement and student services at the Unit 4 School District in Champaign.

She is being recognized for founding the Champaign Unit 4 Schools Social Justice Committee, which gives educators the tools to tackle racism, homophobia, and other forms of institutionalized discrimination experienced by marginalized youth in and out of the classroom.

In its press release, GLSEN called the Educator of the Year recipient a “brave agent of change on the front lines, determined to make schools and communities all that they must be for every child.”

Taylor has used her background in social justice to organize students, educators, and faculty members around issues of acceptance and inclusion in schools. In 2013 she was named Safe Schools Alliance’s Ally of the Year and received the Community Individual Social Justice Award.

Taylor said she was privileged to be honored by GLSEN, an organization that strives to support a healthy environment for all students.

“This recognition will help spread the message that we must do better in terms of providing safe, welcoming, and loving spaces for LGBT students, families, and educators in our school,” she said.

Taylor said she and her colleagues have created professional-development Social Justice Seminars to support student learning through the viewpoint of social justice.

“We have studied relevant literature, collectively wrote a definition of social justice, and developed a social justice framework now used in the decision making process districtwide,” she said.

View the full article and see the list of 2014 GLSEN honorees.

Also, be sure to discover the red-carpet treatment that Taylor received May 19, 2014, at Gotham Hall in New York City.