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Debra L. DavisTeacher, Oklahoma City Public Schools
GC National Educator Changemaker Award for her fearless working over the last 28 years educating Oklahoma City [..]Full Bio > - Minimize Bio >
GC National Educator Changemaker Award for her fearless working over the last 28 years educating Oklahoma City students to become politically active and engaged. Ms. Davis inspires her students to new heights every day at Northwest Classen High School and has inspired GC to improve our own programming and curriculum. Ms. Davis is an exemplar of what effective civics education can look like, and how it can make classrooms come alive.
Debra Davis is a 28-year veteran teacher with Oklahoma City Public Schools. She earned her A.A. from Coahoma Community College, Clarksdale, MS and holds a B.A. from Alcorn State University, Lorman, MS. Ms. Davis is a 12th grade Government teacher at Northwest Classen H.S. She is the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year. Several of her accomplishments include Loves’ and Perry’s Publishing and Broadcasting Teacher of the Month, NWC Teacher of the Year 2016-2017, and the GC Teacher Change Maker Award Recipient 2019-2020. Debra is dedicated to ensuring that her students are equipped with the core values and skills they need for empowerment in advocating for themselves as well as their community. Her Faith, Family, and Friends are the staples that keep her grounded.
Julian ViviescasStudent Change Fellow
GC National Student Changemaker Award for his inspirational student activism in Lowell, Massachusetts, and across [..]Full Bio > - Minimize Bio >GC National Student Changemaker Award for his inspirational student activism in Lowell, Massachusetts, and across the country. After advocating and organizing a gun buy-back program in Lowell, Julian became one of the first-ever Student Leadership Board members at GC. He has inspired countless community members, GC staff, and most importantly, young people, with his activism and belief in the power of youth in politics. Julian is an important reminder of what our democracy can be.Julian is the former Student Leadership Board Chair and Community Change Fellow based in Massachusetts. He is currently a Student Change Fellow for GC working on story-telling projects, designing the integration of students in teacher institutes, and serving on the GC Massachusetts Board to develop a model for students to sit on local boards. He is currently taking a gap year and is hoping to attend the University of Massachusetts Lowell next year, seeking a journalism degree.
Kei Kawashima-GinsbergDirector of CIRCLE, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life
GC Community Changemaker Award for her work leading the entire field of civics education to rigorously measure our [..]Full Bio > - Minimize Bio >
GC Community Changemaker Award for her work leading the entire field of civics education to rigorously measure our outcomes, put equity front and center in the work, and ensure that our young people are at the heart of everything we do. Through her work directing the pre-eminent civics education research firm in the country, Kei has told the story of how young people are re-engaging in politics, while inspiring the country, and GC, to think about the right metrics in our work. Kei has been a true trail-blazer for youth civics education.
Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Ph.D., is the Director of CIRCLE. She oversees CIRCLE’s wide-ranging portfolio of research and impact projects with its diverse partners and for audience groups. Kei has a background in Community Psychology and Social-Emotional Learning, which she applies to various projects at CIRCLE. Kei has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (Child and Family subspecialty) from Loyola University Chicago but identifies as a community psychologist. Before coming to CIRCLE, Kei worked with young people and families at a public high school, and at an emergency room and community health center as a therapist in training. Working with people who faced numerous structural challenges made her want to work with systems that created those challenges in the first place, which attracted her to CIRCLE.
Kei serves as a national board member of Generation Citizen and Democracy Works, and lends her expertise as an advisory group member for Nonprofit VOTE, Project Information Literacy, Citizen Z project at Education Week, and the American Bar Association’s Division of Public Education. She has been the lead author on landmark papers and reports, such as The Republic is (Still) at Risk – and Civics is Part of the Solution (with Peter Levine); The Future of Civic Education (in NASBE Magazine); Taking the Lead: How Educators Can Help Close the Gender Leadership Gap (with the National Education Association and the American Association of University Women); and All Together Now: Collaboration and Innovation for Youth Engagement. She has also published extensively in various peer-reviewed journals and written several book chapters.
Mary VascellaroCommunity Leader, Education, and the Arts
GC Civic Changemaker Award for her tireless work advocating for young people, and for Generation Citizen. Mary [..]Full Bio > - Minimize Bio >
GC Civic Changemaker Award for her tireless work advocating for young people, and for Generation Citizen. Mary joined GC’s Board in its first year of operations, and became the organization’s first (and third!) Board Chair. She helped see the organization through its humble beginnings to become one of the pre-eminent civics education organizations in the country. Mary never hesitates to ask the tough questions, and believes deeply in the power of civics education to form the better democracy we so desire in the current moment. Her energy, enthusiasm, and selflessness for GC serves as a model for all of us.
Mary Vascellaro was the founding board chair of Generation Citizen and remains an active board member. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Brown University. In addition to her work with Generation Citizen, Mary is a member of the Teach for America Bay Area Advisory board and is a chair emeritus of that board. She also serves on the Executive Committee of Teach for America’s national advisory board. She recently joined the advisory board of Brown University’s Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice. She has also served on the Associates Council of the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown and is a Past Chair. Mary also has served on Brown’s Women’s Leadership Council, a presidential advisory group. She serves on the Felice Lesser Dance Theater board in New York. Mary has extensive experience advising and working in the fields of arts and education in London, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sanjiv RaoDirector, Civic Engagement and Government, Ford FoundationFull Bio > - Minimize Bio >GC Impact Changemaker Award for his work elevating youth power and civic engagement throughout the entire country. Whenever you talk to a grantee of Sanjiv’s from the Ford Foundation, they all say the same thing: Sanjiv is exceptional. .His experience teaching and leading youth-serving non-profits have led Sanjiv to ask the tough questions and to put young people and equity efforts front and center in his grantmaking. Sanjiv has played a critical role in pushing philanthropy to think critically about its role in elevating youth voices to disrupt the power dynamics that have historically defined American society. He has made a difference for GC and made a difference for our democracy.
Sanjiv Rao is director of the foundation’s Civic Engagement and Government program, which seeks to strengthen representation, participation, and leadership in US democracy so that communities have the capacities to shape their futures, animated by principles of dignity, inclusion, and fairness.
Sanjiv joined the foundation in 2012 as a program officer, working on what was then the foundation’s education portfolio. Over time, his grant-making evolved to focus on youth organizing, civic engagement, and leadership development. In his current role, Sanjiv builds on his past work within and outside the foundation by emphasizing ideas that are particularly relevant to Civic Engagement and Government: stitching together civil society organizations more effectively with public systems, supporting community-led solutions to systems change, and advancing agendas that center people and their lived experience in shaping inclusive civic spaces and responsive public institutions.
Before joining the foundation, Sanjiv served as executive director of the New York State Network for Youth Success, where he led policy efforts to integrate youth development more effectively with the public systems that touch the lives of young people, particularly those from communities of concentrated poverty. Sanjiv began his career as an elementary school teacher in California, Texas, and Mexico. He has also held positions at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and as a member of the research team studying the Ford-funded Leadership for a Changing World program at New York University.
Sanjiv has a Ph.D. in public administration from New York University, a master’s degree in education from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Los Angeles.