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John L. Reed - H. Councill Trenholm Memorial Award

Local Leader To Receive NEA Human and Civil Rights Award

WASHINGTON - October 03, 2008 -

John L. Reed, a social studies teacher in Barnstable, Mass., and president of the Cape Cod branch of the NAACP, will receive the National Education Association's H. Councill Trenholm Memorial Award at the Association's 42nd annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner on July 2, 2008, in Washington, D.C.

This award is given to a person whose work goes beyond the call of duty to free the education profession from inequities based on race or ethnicity.

In the early 1990s, citizens of Hyannis, Mass., complained about young people disturbing the town's peace and of driving the tourists away. There were reports of fights and gunfire, and when a riot nearly erupted, the local police knew they needed help. John L. Reed, an engaged citizen, a local NAACP member and a local social studies teacher, brought that help by bringing understanding between the teenagers and the community.

"John Reed won this award because of his tireless efforts to create a mutual understanding between the young people and the citizens of the community," says NEA President Reg Weaver. "He understood that by educating them, he could bring them together."

By talking with the kids, mentoring them and exemplifying a positive adult role model they wanted to follow, Reed is credited with bringing calm to the town.  He volunteered his weekend evenings for a year and became a highly respected community leader and educator. He has since become the president of the Cape Cod NAACP, and he still teaches social studies in the Barnstable Public School District.

Throughout the years, Reed has continued to work with the Barnstable Police Department, helping it develop its proactive program for civil rights, and has assisted as an instructor and trainer in its Citizens Police Academy sessions. He has worked with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office to promote safe schools. He also advises communities throughout the country on their outreach programs for local youths.

A member of NEA's Board of Directors, Reed served as chair of the NEA Black Caucus for two years. He also held offices in the Massachusetts Teachers Association as well as the Barnstable Teachers Association.

Reed has a M.Ed. degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and has done postgraduate work at Salem State College, Lesley University and Bridgewater State College.

Harper Councill Trenholm (1990-1963) served for 21 years as executive secretary of the American Teachers Association (ATA). One of the country's most outstanding Black educators, he helped build ATA's numbers and strength and worked for the merger of ATA and NEA.


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: Celeste Fernandez  (202) 822-7823