2019 NCTE and Penguin Random House Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry Winner: Rick Coppola, South Loop Elementary (IL)

By Spenser Stevens | May 4 2020 | GeneralEnglish Language Arts


“Speak Yo’ Peace”

Rick’s passion and commitment to educational equity have taken root over the course of his 14-year career as a middle school ELA teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. He has developed his activist stance through doctoral work at the University of Illinois of Chicago, where he studies culturally sustaining pedagogy, disciplinary literacy, and participatory design-based research. Rick teaches college-level courses in disciplinary literacy and sociocultural theory and has worked on numerous research-practice partnership initiatives committed to shifting students’ roles from participants to contributors and co-authors. His research on integrating spoken-word poetry has appeared in numerous NCTE journals including Language Arts, English Journal, and Voices from the Middle. Rick is a 2019 finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year and a two-time Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction. Rick’s most important work resides in his role as husband and father of two Mexican-American children, working to sustain their hybridized and bilingual identity.


Applications for the NCTE and Penguin Random House Teacher Award for Lifelong Readers or the Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry are OPEN! The deadline is May 31, 2020. Apply here.


Learn more here.