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The Woodridge Award for Great Teachers

The Woodridge Award is presented annually by an accomplished person to the K-12 teacher who most helped them on their way.

Photo by Rogerline Johnson, Johnson Studio, Helena, Arkansas

2022 Woodridge Award

The Woodridge Award is presented by an accomplished person to a teacher who helped them on their way. The Award is named in honor of Mattie Woodridge, who taught high school English in Helena, Arkansas during segregation. After winning her school’s outstanding teacher award four times, Woodridge organized a day to celebrate local teachers. Its success led her to campaign for a national day of recognition for teachers and with the help of Eleanor Roosevelt, National Teacher Day was established.

Presenter: Jeremy O. Harris

Jeremy O. Harris is the playwright and creator of the most Tony-nominated Broadway play ever, Slave Play. Jeremy cowrote A24’s critically-acclaimed Zola with director Janicza Bravo. In television, Jeremy credits include their hit series Euphoria and upcoming TV adaptation of Irma Vep. He is currently co-creating and co-showrunning an adaptation of Brit Bennett’s best-selling novel, The Vanishing Half, with Aziza Barnes at HBO. He is a graduate of the Yale MFA Playwriting Program. Photo by Micaiah Carter.

Honoree: Candace Owen-Williams

Candace Owen-Williams, a native of Buffalo, New York, learned to teach from her many influential K–12 educators in the Clarence Central School system. A graduate of Kenyon College, she pursued her MA in modern fiction from Exeter University in England. She has taught grades 6–12 English, Theater, and Dance for thirty-seven years in such diverse places as Long Island; Lugano, Switzerland; Southside Virginia; and Westchester.

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