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Winter Marshall-Allen voted NEA’s 2019 Social Justice Activist of the Year

Alaska special education teacher awarded for racial and social justice activism by peers

WASHINGTON - July 02, 2019 -

For her consistent unwavering compassion to all students, regardless of identity or ability, Winter Marshall-Allen has earned respect and appreciation as an educator. For her activism, Marshall-Allen also has won the National Education Association’s 2019 Social Justice Activist of the Year award, which is presented during NEA’s Conference on Racial and Social Justice to a NEA member who has demonstrated exceptional ability to lead, organize and advocate on social justice issues.

“Winter Marshall-Allen is a perfect example of how educators can seamlessly integrate social justice activism into their work,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “We proudly honor the efforts she has made and the student lives she has touched. Her commitment to public education and her understanding that social justice is an integral part of the formula that helps schools become more inclusive to all identities has gained Marshall-Allen our admiration, deserving of this important award.”

Marshall-Allen began her career as an educator in Oklahoma in 2009. She spent six years there, as a teacher of students with specific learning disabilities and/or behavior disorders. Marshall-Allen then relocated to Homer, Alaska, in 2015, and became the program director for intensive needs inclusion community-based instruction.

In her four years with NEA-Alaska, Marshall-Allen has prioritized finding opportunities to use her voice and platform as an educator to reach parents, educators and community members. As a local area representative, she is co-responsible for organizing #RedForEd rallies and disseminating information in Alaska’s southern peninsula.

Marshall-Allen is passionate about Native and ethnic student needs, cultural preservation, and the inclusion of students with special education needs in public school settings. Over the past decade, she has worked actively with her local unions in Oklahoma and Alaska to amplify these issues and address student needs. Within the past two years, she has traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss Native American education, immigration, and special education rights and funding with Alaska’s senators.

“As educator activists, we need to recognize students who are most in need, ensure they are heard, and work to ensure their full inclusion as members of our community,” says awardee Marshall-Allen. Her work inside the classroom is as robust as her activism outside of it—she practices what she preaches in her classes and constantly emphasizes civil rights and empathy.

The NEA is proud to award Winter Marshall-Allen with the well-deserved 2019 Social Justice Activist of the Year award. To learn more about the social activist Marshall-Allen, read her interview here.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

Miguel A. Gonzalez, NEA Communications