The National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) has selected Gwendolyn Parker, director of exceptional student services for the Pendergast Elementary School District for the Ida B. Wells Risk Taker of the Year Award.
Gwen was honored at the NABSE National Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana to celebrate American Education Week on November 13-17, 2017.
According to Wikipedia, Ida Bell Wells-Barnett (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931), more commonly known as Ida B. Wells, was an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, feminist, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. She was active in women’s rights and the women’s suffrage movement, establishing several notable women’s organizations. Wells was a skilled and persuasive rhetorician and traveled internationally on lecture tours.
Gwen Parker, like Ida B. Wells, is not afraid to speak out for what she believes in. She instills in everyone who works with her the belief in treating the families as if they are related to us. She asks that everyone who works in special education put themselves in the role of the parent or grandparent or whomever is significant to them and model on how everyone should work together to problem solve all issues. With this philosophy, Gwen has changed the entire focus of the special education department of the district to one of service, advocacy and admiration for the families served.
Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux, Superintendent of the Pendergast District and Gwen’s award nominator shares, “Gwen has had the courage as a risk taker all of her life to do what is right and what is best for students. She has shown her commitment to serving as a role model and inspiration to her colleagues, friends and the entire education profession. I am nominating her for this award because I wanted the NABSE and the nation to see what inspiration and courage looks like.”