2015 awardees embody Robert F. Kennedy’s grit and courage to overcome adversity by exemplifying the following quote spoken by RFK’s Day of Affirmation speech to University of Cape Town, South Africa, June 6th, 1966:

“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.” – RFK, June 6th, 1966

Winners were announced May 18th at the 10th Annual Schools That Can National Forum at Loyola Marymount University School of Education in Los Angeles. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. presented the awards on behalf of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.


ralphRalph C. Bland
Co-Founder and CEO, New Paradigm for Education; Superintendent, Detroit Edison Public School Academy, Detroit, MI

“Mr. Bland understands he has not taken on this charge alone. The school is designed with a culture of success, academic achievement and continuous progress in mind and in action. Guiding his team of 100 teachers in this flagship school, they all foster a transformative education plan that never accepts the status quo. Together, they create a bridge to learning for the students that expands upon current knowledge and encourages personal and academic discovery.”


carolynCarolyn R. Wilder
Co-Founder, Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter School, Inglewood, CA

“Wilder’s Preparatory Academy became Inglewood Preparatory Charter School, the first charter school to be approved by the City of Inglewood and the first to be authorized by the Inglewood Unified School District. In addition to her many accomplishments, Dr. Wilder is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. the California Association for Early Childhood Education, the Black Women’s Forum, the YMCA, the Black Child Development Institute, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Ebony Guild, and the New Philadelphia AME Church.”
jenny Jennifer Kager
Teacher and Learning Specialist, Robert Louis Stevenson School, New York, NY

“Over the course of the last thirteen years Jenny has dedicated herself to reaching Stevenson students in new and innovative ways. From creating Shakespeare productions with students who hadn’t experienced academic success in years, to developing a yearly publication called “A Foot in the Door” which showcases the creative writing and artistic talents of the entire community, to integrating technology into the classroom in new and dynamic ways and then sharing her excitement with the faculty, Jenny never stops pushing herself to meet the needs of Stevenson students.”
osirisOsiris Bell
Fifth Grade Student, Laurel Street Elementary School, 
Compton, California

“Osiris is a student whose moral courage fosters transformation in others because he is a role model for his peers. He is a high achieving student who embraces learning and shows the courage to be his own unique self each day. He puts his very best towards all of his work, which is not always a popular choice with students in his age group. Osiris also shows his ability to be a responsible leader as one of the lead technical support team members in his classroom.”

Meet all of the 2015 Finalists.