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Brian Jeffrey - Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award

English Teacher Committed to Unity to Receive NEA Human and Civil Rights Award


WASHINGTON - July 02, 2008 -

Brian Jeffrey, teacher at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., will receive the National Education Association's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award for his commitment to bringing his students and the community together at the Association's 42nd annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., on July 2, 2008.

"Brian is a groundbreaking teacher and administrator on a mission to educate his students both in and out of the classroom," said NEA President Reg Weaver. "His thought-provoking style earns the respect of children and adults alike.  It is for all of these reasons that we honor him with this Human and Civil Rights Award."

As an English teacher, Brian Jeffrey cofounded a multiracial club called "Socially Together and Naturally Diverse" or STAND. The club was a driving force in keeping the community calm and together during the 1992 L.A. Riots. In addition, he started a group called STAND UP, which performs a play, written by Jeffrey, based on the true life experiences of past members of STAND. It uses a combination of satire and intense drama to deal with prejudice and stereotyping. It empowers both the audience and the performers to transform their lives and get involved in their communities.

He has also been instrumental in bringing speakers to his school to get his students thinking about civil rights and emotional events of the past. The notable guests include Terry Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine; David Faber, a Holocaust and Auschwitz survivor; and Joe Torrillo, a firefighter who charged into the World Trade Center on 9/11, and then, after it collapsed, was pulled from the rubble alive.

Brian Jeffrey is a Nationally Board Certified teacher in English and is credentialed to provide English language instruction to English learners. He has been active in his local Association - the Associated Chaffey Teachers, serving as chair of its Human Rights Committee and as a member of the Bargaining Committee. He has also attended the NEA Representative Assembly.

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the greatest champions of equality and justice. He was a man who wasn't afraid to lend a helping hand to his fellow brethren. This award recognizes an individual who expresses the same type of fearlessness that helps advance a people. 

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

Contact: Samantha Kappalman  (202) 822-7823