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NCTE Richard W. Halle Award for Outstanding Middle Level Educator

2017 Award Winner: Jamal Cooks

Jamal CooksDr. Jamal Cooks, originally from Oakland, California, is a full professor at San Francisco State University in the Department of Secondary Education, focusing on language, literacy, and culture. Dr. Cooks has taught in middle and high school, community college, and university settings for more than 20 years. His research focuses on building basic literacy skills, using popular culture as a teaching tool, incorporating language and literacy in STEAM education, and working with schools in urban communities. He earned his BA from University of California at Berkeley and an MA in Social Studies Curriculum Development from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Cooks completed his PhD at the University of Michigan, with a dissertation entitled "Explicit Instruction, Assumed Skills, or Something in the Middle: Expository Writing Development in Different Learning Environments with High school Freshmen." Dr. Cooks has published a number of articles about language, literacy, and culture including examining how to use hip-hop in the classroom, building expository writing skills, and exploring experiences of African Americans in institutions serving urban students. Dr. Cooks served as a coprincipal investigator on a National Science Foundation Grant on Advanced Technical Education, an executive board member of the Conference on English Education, and in 2010, he was voted one of the 20 Most Influential Education Professors in the United States by Mr. Teacher USA.

NCTE Annual ConventionThe award presentation will be held at the Middle Level Luncheon on Friday, November 17 during the NCTE Annual Convention in St. Louis, Missouri.




Nominations are not accepted for this award.

Purpose:  To honor a junior high/middle level educator  who has worked to promote understanding of the developmental needs and characteristics of young adolescents, especially in the English language arts. 

Eligibility:   A “middle level educator” is defined as anyone who has worked to improve schools and schooling for the middle level—teacher, principal, curriculum specialist, or supervisor as well as anyone at the university or college level—not necessarily a classroom teacher.

Award Criteria: 

  • Encouraging a spirit of inquiry and development of critical and creative thinking within the profession;
  • Showing evidence of exemplary professional involvement, including participation in activities such as workshops, curriculum development, and association programs and projects;
  • Connecting the classroom and the community;
  • Fostering the development of literacy education at the middle level;
  • Promoting research on the middle level student.

Award Specifics:  The award recipient is presented a plaque at the Middle Level Luncheon during the NCTE Annual Convention.

Established in 1996 by the Junior High/Middle School Assembly, this award honors Richard "Dick" Halle for his dedication to the Assembly and middle level education. The award became a Middle Level Section Award in February 2002 when the Assembly was dissolved.

Learn about the Junior High/Middle School Assembly, Halle Award, and the creation of the Middle Level Section in "Honoring the Past; Looking to the Future." 

Judging:  The Middle Level Section Steering Committee determines the winner based upon candidates meeting the criteria by June 1. Middle Level Section Steering Committee members are not eligible for this award during their tenure.

Past Winners: 

2017:  Jamal Cooks, San Francisco State University, Oakland
2016:  Laura Robb, Powhatan School, Boyce, VA
2015:  Beverly Ann Chin, University of Montana, Missoula
2014:  Jeffrey N. Golub, Seattle Washington
2013:  Tonya Perry, University of Alabama, Birmingham
2012:  No Award Given
2011:  Teri Lesesne, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX
2010:  James Johnston, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain
2009:  Roxanne Henkin, University of Texas, San Antonio
2008:  Howard Miller, Mercy College, Bronx, NY
2007:  Akiko Morimoto, Washington Middle School, Vista, CA
2006:  Karen Morgan Delbridge, Johnson Jr. High School, Cheyenne, WY
2005:  No Award Given
2004:  Kim Ford, Cypress Middle School, Memphis, TN
2003:  Sandra Hayes, Becker Middle School, Becker, MN
2002:  Karen Smith, Arizona State University, Tempe
2001:  Kylene Beers, University of Houston, TX
2000:  Martha Magner, MacArthur Barr Middle School, Nanuet, NY
1999:  Linda Rief, Oyster River Middle School, Durham, NH
1998:  Katherine Ramsey, Arnold Jr. High, Houston, TX
1997:  Lanny van Allen, Texas Education Agency, Austin, TX
1996:  Richard W. Halle, Marshfield, Jr. High, Marshfield, WI


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