In 2014, CLASP established the CLASP Teaching Award for K-12 Educators to recognize excellence and innovation in the teaching of Latin America and/or the Caribbean among elementary, middle, and high school teachers. “Each year the award process highlights exceptional educators from the across the country and brings to light inspiring teaching practices,” said Keira Philipp-Schnurer, chair of the CLASP Outreach Committee.
From among the outstanding teachers nominated in 2017, CLASP recognizes Anne Moctezuma-Baker as the winner of the CLASP Teaching Award for K-12 Educators. The award was publicly announced April 29, 2017, at the 51st International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association in Lima, Peru.
Moctezuma-Baker has taught Spanish for six years at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet School in Nashville, Tennessee, a public school nationally recognized for academic achievement. In nominating Moctezuma-Baker for this award, Lisa Finelli, Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University, observed that “Anne is set apart as an impressive educator with an undeniable dedication to infusing Latin American culture in her classroom and community. She certainly goes beyond the textbook by seeking a variety of opportunities to weave Latin America into her classroom through music, dance, cultural activities, and opportunities. Anne’s student, Jalisa, states that she credits Ms. Moctezuma for not only helping her learn but experience Latin American culture right in the classroom.”
This depth and richness of teaching can be traced, according to Moctezuma-Baker, to her roots in Mexico, where she was born and where she lived for sixteen years. And while she self-admittedly draws on her personal experiences to enrich the classroom experience for her students, she also acknowledges the diversity of Latin American perspectives and voices by inviting other Latin American speakers into her classroom.
The CLASP Outreach Committee, upon learning of Moctezuma-Baker’s extensive work within and beyond her classroom, were as impressed as Finelli by Moctezuma-Baker’s exceptional dedication to bringing Latin American culture and history to her students. As committee member Lindsey Engelman (Public Engagement Coordinator, University of Texas at Austin) noted, “Some of the many ways she does this is incorporating her own experiences living in Mexico into daily conversations in the classroom, exploring Latin American culture through art and literature, and bringing in speakers from all different parts of Latin America to share knowledge with her students. Additionally, the committee was impressed by Anne’s great efforts to share Latin American culture with the entire school, such as putting on Day of the Dead and Hispanic Heritage Month activities for the school and starting a Latin American dance club — activities that promote cultural awareness and understanding about Latin America beyond the classroom walls.”
CLASP member institutions nominate teachers for consideration of the award. Moctezuma-Baker was nominated by Vanderbilt University’s Center for Latin American Studies.
The awards are administered by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) and decided by the CLASP Outreach Committee, which was comprised of the following individuals in 2017: Keira Philipp-Schnurer, University of New Mexico (chair); Molly Aufdermauer, Stanford University; Emily Chávez, UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American Studies; Lindsey Engelman, University of Texas at Austin; Lisa Finelli, Vanderbilt University; Karen Goldman, University of Pittsburgh; Luciano Marzulli, University of Utah; Alfio Saitto of Indiana University-Bloomington; and Denise Woltering-Vargas, Tulane University.
CLASP’s mission is to promote all facets of Latin American Studies throughout the world. Its broad range of activities includes the encouragement of research activities, funding for professional workshops, advancement of citizen outreach activities, and development of teaching aids for the classroom.
More information about CLASP and the K-12 Teaching award can be found at http://www.claspprograms.org/pages/detail/82/Teaching-Award