Teachers from California, Florida, and Ohio Receive American Civic Education Teacher Awards

American Civic Education Teacher Award Winners 2023
Teachers from California, Florida and Ohio are the recipients of the 2023 American Civic Education Teacher Awards, recognizing their exemplary work preparing youngpeople to become informed and engaged citizens. The ACETA winners are Sergio de Alba of R.M. Miano Elementary (Calif.), Allison Sheridan of Heritage Middle School (Fla.) and Kimberly Huffman of Wayne County Joint Vocational School (Ohio).

The awards are given to teachers of civics, government and related subjects who have demonstrated exceptional expertise, dynamism and creativity in motivating students to learn about the Constitution, U.S. government at the federal, state and local levels, and public policy.

ACETA is sponsored by the Center for Civic Education, the Center on Representative Government at Indiana University, and the National Education Association.

Donna Phillips, Vice President & Chief Program Officer of the Center for Civic Education, praised Alba, Sheridan and Huffman for their dedication to helping young people learn the information and skills necessary to participate as effective and responsible citizens. “We are grateful for all these teachers do to ensure that each succeeding generation understands the principles and values of our representative democracy,” Phillips said. 

The three awardees share a passion for explaining democracy and citizenship in an engaging way and helping young people see that local, state and federal government is relevant to their lives.

“To empower students, it is vital to create openings that allow them to engage in real-world civics-centered projects to help reinforce the idea of what this concept truly entails,” wrote elementary school teacher Sergio de Alba in his self-portrait essay. “I believe that the most significant learning occurs when students can think and explore their role in civics in their everyday lives.” Alba earned a master’s degree with distinction in education from California State University Stanislaus. He has been teaching for 22 years. 

In her self-portrait, middle school teacher Allison Sheridan wrote, “Every weekday, future generations of citizens walk through my classroom door. Each one containing and developing their own unique perspectives about society and the world around them. As a teacher, it is my responsibility to ensure I am adequately preparing them for their role as an informed and productive member of our society.” Sheridan earned her doctoral degree in social science education from the University of Central Florida. She has been teaching for 13 years. 

Huffman teaches at a high school that offers career and technical programs. “Many of our students arrive credit deficient, require numerous accommodations, and some know that we are their last hope for a diploma,” she wrote in her self-portrait. “My students do not envision themselves in ‘We the People.’ I strive to embed them with knowledge and confidence in their own political efficacy. When students see difficulties arising in our system, I want them to feel empowered and emboldened to properly use it to effectively improve their conditions in life.” Huffman earned her master’s degree in American history and government from Ashland University. She has been teaching for 27 years.

The ACETA program selects and showcases three teachers whose students represent the diversity of the American public- and private-school systems. Applicants must be full-time classroom teachers of grades K–12. There is no fee to apply. Applicants must submit a two-page self-portrait essay, their resume, and two letters of recommendation—one from a teaching peer and one from their school principal.

About the Sponsoring Organizations

The Center for Civic Education (www.civiced.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization dedicated to fostering the development of informed, responsible participation in civic life by citizens committed to values and principles fundamental to American constitutional democracy.

The Center on Representative Government (corg.iu.edu) is a nonpartisan educational institution that believes our nation’s great experiment of representative democracy has served us well for more than 200 years, but it fundamentally rests on an informed electorate that understands our system of government and participates in our civic life.

The National Education Association (www.nea.org) 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.

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