story by Claire Miller
College of Education & Human Development Associate Professor Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad is the 2021 recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English’s (NCTE) Outstanding Elementary Educator in the English Language Arts Award.
This award is given annually to recognize “a distinguished national or international educator who has made major contributions to the field of language arts in elementary education,” according to NCTE’s website. She will formally receive the award at the NCTE Annual Convention in Louisville, Ky., this November.
“Dr. Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad’s work deeply influences the teaching, learning and research practices of literacy educators across the K-20 spectrum both in the U.S and internationally,” the award committee members wrote. “Her body of work is ongoing, and yet it has already radically reshaped the national conversation about curriculum and disciplinary literacy practices for educating underserved youths. Dr. Muhammad’s service, teaching, community engaged scholarship and advocacy exemplifies the vision of NCTE.”
Muhammad serves as the director of the CEHD’s Urban Literacy Collaborative and Clinic. She studies Black historical excellence within educational communities with goals of reframing curriculum and instruction today, and her scholarship has appeared in leading educational journals and books. Some of her recognitions include NCTE’s 2014 Promising New Researcher Award and 2016 Janet Emig Award, the CEHD’s 2017 Outstanding Urban Education Research Award, the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education’s 2018 Researcher of the Year and the American Educational Research Association’s 2020 Division K Early Career Award. She works with teachers, leaders, parents and young people across the U.S. and South Africa in best practices in culturally and historically responsive instruction. She is the author of the best-selling book, “Cultivating Genius: An Equity Model for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy.”
“I am grateful and humbled by this award. I have such a great respect and love for the NCTE organization, so being honored with this award feels so joyful,” Muhammad said. “I am thrilled to see how my historically responsive model in ‘Cultivating Genius’ has impacted so many teachers.”
For more information about the award, visit https://ncte.org/awards/outstanding-educator-elementary.