The Robert H. Jackson Center, in partnership with the National Council for the Social Studies, has named Sarah Segal, a sixth grade social studies, language arts, constitutional law, and Oregon history teacher at Hood River Middle School in Hood River, Ore., as the first Robert H. Jackson Center National Award for Teaching Justice recipient.
The award was created to recognize individuals who have made a contribution toward teaching the concept of justice in creative, inspiring ways, which may include teaching about civil liberties, human rights, international humanitarian law, the Holocaust, genocide studies, or local issues of justice. Segal will be presented with the Jackson Award on Nov. 22 during the President's Welcome Breakfast at the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference in St. Louis.
"Sarah Segal is a dynamic educator who leads by example and uses her role as a teacher and leader to encourage and motivate students to examine more closely the world around them," said James C. Johnson, Robert H. Jackson Center president and chief executive officer. "She emulates the spirit of Justice Jackson, and the selection committee found her to be most worthy of receiving the 2013 Robert H. Jackson Center National Award for Teaching Justice."
A middle school teacher for the past 10 years, Segal is a passionate teacher who infuses her sixth grade humanities class teaching with literacy, literature and human rights curriculum. Through her carefully selected literature and unit topics, she develops her student's inquiry into local, national and global issues. Her constitutional law elective students sharpen their critical thinking and problem solving skills by researching current issues and exploring multiple perspectives supported by statistical data. Through their research projects, her students develop articulate questions, interview and communicate with public officials, and collaborate with local agencies. This past year her students interviewed U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Greg Walden.
A leader in the Oregon Council for the Social Studies, Segal has served as a board member, secretary, conference coordinator, and House of Delegates representative at the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference. She has made numerous presentations at both state and national levels.
Segal received a Bachelor of Arts in sociology/anthropology from Western State College of Colorado in 1998 and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Montana in 2004. She has received numerous awards and grants and has participated in national and international travels to various countries, including China, Germany, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Turkey for first-hand exploration of social, economic, environmental, and historical interconnectivity of peoples throughout the world.
"Teaching Social Justice incorporates my passion for exposing students to historical and modern circumstances of human existence, advancing critical-thinking skills, promoting meaningful dialog, and ultimately, cultivating student 'voice,'" Segal said.