21 U.S. Educators Earn Top National Honors for Excellence in Equity

The American Consortium for Equity in Education has selected educators from 15 states plus the District of Columbia as 2022 award winners

The inaugural Excellence in Equity Awards program, presented by the American Consortium for Equity in Education, has announced the winners in 10 award categories designed for educators and schools. From the 42 finalists introduced last week, 21 individuals were chosen as winning Champions of Equity in their respective categories. 

This competitive awards program honoring schools, educators, and industry received more than 160 total nominations from across the U.S., plus a number of submissions from abroad. The awards were created to acknowledge, spotlight, and celebrate high-impact work across K-12 education, as well as expand and enhance the discussion around educational equity.  After the judges’ review, the winning nominees were selected based on outstanding achievement in supporting equitable opportunity and outcomes for all learners. 

“We believe ensuring equitable opportunity for all learners is a non-negotiable priority. The overwhelming interest in our inaugural awards program makes clear that educators and other industry professionals agree with this mission — and are doing the work to make it a success,” said Ross Romano, Program Chair of the Excellence in Equity Awards and Strategic Advisor to the American Consortium for Equity in Education. “I’m pleased and excited to announce the 2022 Excellence in Equity Award winners and we look forward to showcasing these educators’ stories and celebrating their successes over the year to come.”

The 2022 Excellence in Equity Award educator winners are:

Champion of Equity – District Leadership

  • Dr. Latanya Daniels, Assistant Superintendent, Richfield Public Schools (Minn.)
  • Martín Quezada, Governing Board Vice President, Pendergast ESD (Ariz.)
  • Lanisha Simmons, Curriculum Manager, 7-12 English Language Arts, Cincinnati Public Schools (Ohio)
  • Nella Garcia Urban, Chief External Officer, YES Prep Public Schools (Houston, Texas)

Champion of Equity – School Leadership

  • Ashleigh Fritz, Secondary Head of Schools, YES Prep Public Schools (Houston, Texas)
  • Dave Heighington, School Director, Exploration HS (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Sabina Mosso-Taylor, Principal, Jackson Creek Elementary (Richland, S.C.)

Champion of Equity – Technology Leadership

  • Tony Campbell, Digital Learning Coordinator, Director of Learning & Media Technologies, Washington County SD (Utah)
  • Micah Miner, District Instructional Technology & Social Studies Coordinator, Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview School District 89 (Ill.)

Champion of Equity – Resilient Schools and Districts presented by Future of School

  • Susan Schnaufer, District Technology Coach, Salamanca City CSD (N.Y.)

Champion of Equity – General Education Teacher presented by Belouga

  • Valente’ Gibson, Fifth Grade Teacher, Jackson Creek Elementary (Richland, S.C.)
  • Symone James, Teacher, Roger Sherman Elementary (Meriden, Conn.) 

Champion of Equity – Special Education

  • Lauren Jewett, Special Education Teacher/Case Manager, KIPP Morial Primary (New Orleans, La.)
  • Kristin Vogel-Campbell, Director of Student Services and Special Education, San Bruno Park SD (Calif.)

Champion of Equity – Social-Emotional Learning Excellence

  • Stephanie Stern-Protz, STEM.STEAM Experiential Learning Specialist, North Bergen STEM Academy (N.J.)

Champion of Equity – Mental Health Professional

  • Ovett Chapman, Jr., K-8 Lead School Psychologist, Pendergast ESD (Ariz.)
  • Stephanie McGary of Tots-N-Teachers (Dallas, Texas)

Champion of Equity – Librarian or Media Specialist

  • K.C. Boyd, School Librarian, Jefferson Academy Middle School (Washington, D.C.)

Champion of Equity – Support Staff

  • Oscar De Jesus, Special Assistant to the Superintendent, Compass Charter Schools (Calif.)
  • Jon Doss, Transportation Coordinator, Mount Airy City Schools (N.C.)
  • Jill Hendricks, Student and Family Engagement Liaison, West Valley SD 208 (Wash.)

Winners were also announced in 16 industry award categories. To learn about all the winners, visit

Each of these winners will receive a variety of benefits, including: a choice of professional development e-book from Times 10 Publications; access to Virtue Analytics’ Top 5 Colleges Multiple Scholarship Estimator to help students make informed decisions about higher education; an invitation to be a guest on EduTalk Radio, the Consortium’s flagship podcast; a spotlight feature in the January special issue of the Access & Equity PreK-12 Journal dedicated to award winners; and an invitation to write for the journal. 

The Excellence in Equity Awards are made possible through the support of industry sponsors. The Consortium thanks Future of School (Silver Sponsor), Virtue Analytics (Silver Sponsor), and Times 10 Publications (Publishing Partner) for their extraordinary support. The Consortium also thanks program sponsors Belouga, Class Tech Tips, KEH Communications, MindShare Learning, Project FoundED, Pando Public Relations, September Strategies, and Transformative Principal for supporting a successful program. The Consortium’s media platforms, especially EduTalk Radio, Access & Equity PreK-12 Journal, and SEL Today were also critical program supporters. 

Each nominee, finalist, and winner of the Excellence in Equity Awards has made invaluable contributions to improving opportunity and outcomes for students. Visit to learn more about all the winners and contact to learn about getting involved with future programs. 

About the Excellence in Equity Awards

The Excellence in Equity Awards program recognizes the companies, nonprofits, leaders, and educators whose work contributes to the critical goal of ensuring access and equity for every learner. Learn more at

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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