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CEL Kent Williamson Exemplary Leader Award

2016 Award Recipient:  Carol Jago

Carol JagoCarol Jago has taught English in middle and high school for 32 years and is associate director of the California Reading and Literature Project at UCLA. She served as president of the National Council of Teachers of English and as chair of the College Board’s English Academic Advisory committee.

She has published many books with Heinemann including With Rigor for All: Meeting Standards for Reading Literature and Cohesive Writing: Why Concept Is Not Enough. She has also published books on contemporary multicultural authors for NCTE. Jago wrote an education column for the Los Angeles Times, and her essays continue to appear in educational journals and online forums.

Jago edits California English, the journal of the California Association of Teachers of English, and worked on the planning committee for the 2009 National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Framework and the 2011 NAEP Writing Framework. She is the consulting author on the HMH Collections program. In 2015, she was awarded the International Literacy Association’s Adolescent Literacy Thought Leader Award. She has been named by the US Department of Education to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board overseeing the NAEP assessments.


CEL logoNomination Deadline:  March 1

Purpose:  The award is given annually to an NCTE member who is an outstanding English language arts educator and leader.

Award Criteria:  NCTE and CEL members are encouraged to nominate an exceptional leader who has had an ongoing impact on the profession through the following: 

  • Work that has focused on exceptional teaching and/or leadership practices;
  • Contributions to the profession through involvement at the local, regional, and national levels;
  • Presentations, workshops, and publications that have had an impact upon school leaders.

Candidates not selected for the year in which they are nominated will receive consideration for the next two years.

Award Specifics:  The recipient receives a plaque, CEL Luncheon ticket, a one-year complimentary CEL membership, and the gift of a one-year complimentary CEL membership to present to a colleague. The recipient may also be invited to speak at the CEL Convention. The award is presented at the Sunday CEL Luncheon during the NCTE Annual Convention.

The CEL Kent Williamson Exemplary Leader Award is named in honor of Kent D. Williamson (1957-2015), who served as NCTE's Executive Director from 2000-2015.

Deadline:   All nominations must contain the Nomination Form, two letters of recommendation, and the candidate’s curriculum vitae. Nomination materials must be submitted by March 1 to the CEL Award Committee at

Judging:  The CEL Award Committee determines the recipient from the nominations submitted within the calendar year. For full consideration, award applications must be received no later than March 1. Candidates not selected for the year in which they are nominated will receive consideration for the next two years.

Past Winners:

2016:  Carol Jago, University of California, Los Angeles
2015:  Penny Kittle, Kennett High School, North Conway, NH
2014:  Douglas B. Fisher, University of San Diego, CA
2013:  Rick Chambers, Ontario College of Teachers, Toronto, ON, Canada
2012:  Harvey “Smokey” Daniels, National Louis University, Chicago, IL
2011:  Kylene Beers, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
2010:  Joan Kaywell, University of South Florida, Tampa
2009:  Carolyn Phipps, St. Mary’s Episcopal School, Memphis, TN
2008:  Louann Reid, Colorado State University, Fort Collins
2007:  Jim Mahoney, The College of New Jersey, Ewing
2006:  Jim Strickland, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA
2005:  June Langford Berkley, Worthington, OH
2004:  Robert E. Probst, Georgia State University, Athens
2003:  George B. Shea, Jr., Belleville West High School, Belleville, IL
2002:  V. Paula Hodges, Forgan High School, Forgan, OK
2001:  Wendell Schwartz, Adlai Stevenson High School, Lincolnshire, IL
2000:  Jim Burke, Burlingame High School, Burlingame, CA

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