The Southern Poverty Law Center has awarded Rochester City School District teacher Christopher Widmaier with its 2016 Teaching Tolerance Award for Excellence in Teaching.
SPLC said it gives the biennial award to five K-12 educators nationwide who excel at promoting respect, and a passion for justice among students.
“These five teachers instill the respect and understanding that’s not only necessary for a student’s success in school, but for navigating life in our increasingly diverse country,” Maureen Costello, SPLC Teaching Tolerance director, stated. “They have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to helping students appreciate our differences, which helps ensure a better future for all of us.”
Widmaier, a former RCSD student, currently teaches senior-level science at World of Inquiry School No. 58 in the city, and holds leadership roles in a number of school-based and professional organizations, including the Rochester Regional Teacher Empowerment Network.
According to SPLC, “with a firm belief that ‘the purpose of education is to create communities based on peace, prosperity and inclusion,’ he uses responsive teaching, and Expeditionary Learning to guide his students in accomplishing these goals, and to ‘give them opportunities to push others to do the same.'”
Widmaier received the award, along with the four additional honorees, during a recent ceremony in Montgomery, Alabama.