Originally April 17th, 2018

Finalists Announced for the 2018 Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Awards

CHICAGO:  Individuals from across the country devoted to fighting injustice have been named finalists for the 2018 Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Awards, announced by Schools That Can (STC) in partnership with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

The 2018 Awards will honor a school leader, teacher, and student who demonstrate courage and commitment to freedom, decency, and justice. “We want to shift the education dialogue to one which celebrates our fellow Americans defying the status quo,” said Michael Druckman, Executive Chair of Schools That Can. “We must learn from them as models of success.” Karen Robinson, of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, notes that “with all the crazy negative noise out there about schools and teachers and youth — I am once again inspired by the folks you work with, a brilliant counter to any and all negative noise.”

Finalists were nominated by peers and chosen as exemplars of the following quote by Robert F. Kennedy from his Day of Affirmation speech:

“Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”

The 2018 awards marked the most nominations STC has ever received, with individuals nominated across all sectors – public district, public charter, faith-based, and independent – and from six different cities in the STC network – Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, New York City, Newark, and Pittsburgh.

The 2018 Awards also mark the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential candidacy, and Schools That Can is proud to celebrate the work of innovative students, school leaders, and teachers to honor his legacy and this historic occasion.

2018 Awardees will be announced May 2nd during Schools That Can’s National Forum: Reimagining Education Through Real-World Learning. Awards will be presented by Chris Kennedy. Tickets are available at: 


School Leaders

Richard Clark, St Martin de Porres High School (Cleveland, OH)

Dr. Lisa Abel Palmieri, Nazareth College & Career Prep (Pittsburgh, PA)

Atiba Buckman, Speedway Academies (Newark, NJ)


Colin Christy, MC2 STEM High School (Cleveland, OH)

Sylesha Brewer, LEARN – Campbell Campus (Chicago, IL)

Yudelca Martinez, MESA Charter High School (New York, NY)


Michael Williams, 8th grade, Newark Boys Chorus School (Newark, NJ)

Jacquelyn Hernandez, 12th grade, MESA Charter High School (New York, NY)

Daira Rodriquez, 12th grade, Cristo Rey St. Martin (Chicago, IL)

For more information about the Robert F. Kennedy Urban Education Awards, 2018 finalists, and Schools That Can’s Annual Forum, please visit or

About Schools That Can

In 2005, Schools That Can (STC) started with 12 schools from different sectors (charter, district, independent) and has since, grown into the country’s largest cross-sector network of urban schools serving low-income communities. The network currently reaches more than 180 schools across 15 cities, serving more than 70,000 students. STC prepares school leaders, teachers and students to reimagine education through real-world learning that closes the opportunity and skills gap. Innovative approaches fill a much-needed void to better prepare students for a rapidly changing future. By connecting leaders to powerful practices and models, developing teachers and engaging students, STC is poised to make an important difference in the lives of American urban youth.

Learn more about Schools That Can at, and on Twitter @SchoolsThatCan.