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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is awarding two teachers in Richland School District Two the Literacies and Languages for All (LLA) 2021 Reclaiming the Joy of Teaching Award. Valente’ Gibson, a fifth-grade teacher at Jackson Creek Elementary School, and Dr. Chris Hass, a third-grade teacher at the Center for Inquiry, are two of four teachers in the country to receive the honor this year.

The award honors preK-12 teachers who inspire authentic progressive literacy learning. Recipients receive a certificate, Summer Institute registration, and one-year complimentary NCTE/LLA membership presented by the LLA President at the Opening Session during the Literacies for All Summer Institute.
Valente’ Gibson

 “I am honored to have been nominated and selected to receive the Literacies and Languages for All Reclaiming the Joy of Teaching Award. I am grateful to have taught and worked with students who allow me to demonstrate critical care and love for them unapologetically. I hope that all students and educators can understand the importance of finding joy and celebrating who they are,” said Gibson. 
Gibson holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in counseling education from the University of South Carolina (UofSC) and is currently pursuing a Master of Education in teaching with a concentration in multicultural context in education at the UofSC. Gibson also teaches at the Center for the Education and Equity of African American Students at the UofSC where he helps develop learning modules that embed culturally relevant curriculum for effective teaching of students of color. Last year, he received the 2020 Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award from the NCTE. 
Dr. Chris Hass

“This award is such an incredible honor. I’m so thankful - not least of which to my classroom kids and their families who put so much trust in me as we boldly explore the relationship between literacy learning and community activism,” said Dr. Hass.
Dr. Hass is entering his 21st year of classroom teaching. He also serves as an adjunct professor and consultant and recently published his first book, Social Just Talk: Strategies for Teaching Critical Awareness. Dr. Hass was nominated for this award by faculty at the UofSC for his expertise in creating and implementing culturally relevant practices that not only build on his student’s background experiences, cultures, and interests but also support his students to use their literacy skills to advocate for a more just and equitable community.