NCTE Announces 2021 Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award Honorees - National Council of Teachers of English

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NCTE Announces 2021 Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award Honorees

2021 cohort includes twelve literacy educators from across the United States.


Contact: Abby Heverin,

Champaign, Illinois—The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has announced its 2021 Early Career Educator of Color (EC-EOC) Leadership Award honorees.

The EC-EOC Award supports early career teachers of color as they build accomplished teaching careers in literacy education. Award recipients benefit from robust professional learning opportunities, mentorship, and access to a supportive network of peers from across the country.

The award recognizes practicing preK to university-level literacy educators of color in their first five years of a paid teaching career. People of color refers to members of historically underrepresented groups: African American, American Indian, Asian American, Latinx, and Pacific Islander.

“This is an exciting year for this program, which NCTE has funded for a decade. The incredible talent and leadership present in the cohort exemplifies excellence in literacy education and points toward exciting teaching careers ahead. We are thrilled the program doubled in size because of our partnership with Penguin Random House,” NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick said.

The 2021–2022 EC-EOC cohort includes:

  • Gabrielle Bachoo, a fifth-grade teacher at Gov. William Pitkin Elementary School (East Hartford, Connecticut)
  • Rubén González, a doctoral student in Stanford University’s Race, Inequality, and Language in Education program (Greenfield, California)
  • Lydia Haff, a ninth-grade teacher at Wai’anae High School (Hawai’i)
  • Dorian Harrison, an assistant professor of teaching and learning at The Ohio State University Newark
  • Diana Liu, a ninth- and twelfth-grade teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School (New York)
  • Alethea Maldonado, a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at Lockhart Junior High School (Texas)
  • Briana Morales, an eleventh- and twelfth-grade teacher at Wyvetter Younge Alternative Center (East St. Louis, Illinois)
  • Dillin Randolph, a ninth- and tenth-grade teacher at Niles West High School (Skokie, Illinois)
  • Darius B. Wimby, a ninth-grade teacher at Ronald E. McNair High School (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Shuling Yang, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City
  • Zöe Zander, a ninth- and tenth-grade teacher at Union Academy Charter School (Monroe, North Carolina)
  • Shay Kaleoʻoluhoʻiloliokawaipāhe Zykova, a ninth-grade teacher at Wai’anae High School (Hawai’i)

“We had an incredibly strong, diverse, and impressive pool of applications for this year’s award. It was our committee’s honor and pleasure to learn about the inspiring work being done by NCTE teachers of color nationwide to support their students and advance consequential literacies in their classrooms. We were incredibly impressed with the twelve educators selected to be in this year’s cohort. Together, they represent one of the most diverse EC-EOC cohorts yet, and we are confident they are set to accomplish great things, both as part of their experience now, and with NCTE and in the classroom in the future,” 2021 selection committee chair Michael Domínguez said.

Award recipients receive two years of support from a mentor, the opportunity to present or co-present at the NCTE Annual Convention, an opportunity to collaborate with NCTE leaders, and a plaque to recognize their participation. They will also participate in this summer’s EC-EOC Institute, taking place online July 22–25, 2021.

NCTE has funded this program for more than a decade. A generous grant from Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, allowed the 2021–2022 cohort to double in size from six to twelve.

About NCTE

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. For more than 100 years, NCTE has worked with its members to offer journals, publications, and resources; to further the voice and expertise of educators as advocates for their students at the local and federal levels; and to share lesson ideas, research, and teaching strategies through its Annual Convention and other professional learning events.