Council of the Great City Schools Awards Oakland High School Graduate America Gomez Torres with $10,000 Dr. Michael Casserly Scholarship for Educational Courage & Justice

The college scholarship, which is sponsored by Curriculum Associates, will support America Gomez Torres as she pursues a career as a teacher

The Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) recently presented America Gomez Torres, a 2023 graduate of California’s Oakland Public Schools, with the Dr. Michael Casserly Legacy Scholarship for Educational Courage and Justice. Sponsored by Curriculum Associates, the $10,000 college scholarship will be used by Gomez Torres to attend the College of Almeda, a community college, and eventually pursue a career as a teacher.

The scholarship is part of the Dr. Michael Casserly Legacy Award for Educational Courage and Justice, named after the Council’s former executive director. The annual award, now in its third year, is presented to a person who has made outstanding contributions in the field of Grades K–12 urban education by taking a courageous and passionate stance on the issue of educational justice and equity. This year’s awardee was Dr. Lily Wong Fillmore, a distinguished linguist and educator who has partnered with the Council to work with urban school districts to ensure English Learners had access to the high-quality, rigorous instruction needed to meet college and career readiness standards.

Gomez Torres is a 2023 graduate of the Life Academy, where she served in the school’s after-school program, mediating restorative justice conversations for her peers and serving as a trusted mentor to younger students. After she graduates from community college, she plans to attend a four-year university and then return to her high school alma mater to teach.

“A hearty congratulations to America Gomez Torres on winning this prestigious scholarship,” said Casserly. “Her academic achievements and aspirations to give back to the school that educated her stand out among the many Oakland students who were considered.”

The CGCS is the only national organization exclusively representing the needs of urban public schools. Composed of 78 large-city school districts, its mission is to promote the cause of urban schools and to advocate on behalf of inner-city students through legislation, research, and media relations. The organization also provides a network for school districts that share common problems to exchange information and collectively address new challenges as they emerge in order to deliver the best possible education for urban youth.

“America Gomez Torres is a standout student whose dedication to education and her community is commendable,” said Marie Izquierdo, senior vice president of education at Curriculum Associates. “We can’t wait to see all that she will accomplish. We are proud to once again sponsor the Dr. Michael Casserly Legacy Award for Educational Courage and Justice and join our partners at the CGCS in congratulating America on her many accomplishments.”

To learn more about the CGCS, visit To learn more about Curriculum Associates, visit

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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