Rich Espey of Park Middle School recognized for making schools safer
for LGBT students
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is proud to announce
the selection of Maryland teacher Rich Espey as the 2011 GLSEN Educator of the
Year, presented by Sodexo.
Each year, the award recognizes a remarkable educator who has demonstrated
a commitment to GLSEN's mission of ensuring safe schools for all students, regardless
of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. This year, nearly 100
educators were nominated from around the country.
Espey has taught middle school science for 23 years and is currently teaching
8th graders at the Park School of Baltimore. In 2005, he assumed sponsorship
of Park’s Middle School GSA; projects under his guidance include a student-created
video addressing homophobic language at school, various assembly programs for
GLSEN’s Day of Silence; and a two-week professional development program
that brought together twelve teachers from throughout the school to gather and
explore resources for best practices in gender and sexuality diversity education.
As a result of his work, dozens of the school’s teachers have addressed
sexual orientation in their curricula in thoughtful, age-appropriate ways.
“GLSEN and Sodexo are honored to recognize Rich Espey, a school leader
who has dedicated his teaching career to creating environments where all students
are valued and respected, as the 2011 GLSEN Educator of the Year," said
GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard. “As someone who engages both youth
and adults in making a safer community, Rich Espey embodies all the characteristics
we look for in a visionary leader.”
GLSEN is also proud to announce that Jefferson Fietek from Anoka Middle School
in Coon Rapids, Minnesota is runner-up for the 2011 GLSEN Educator of the Year.
Fietek has dedicated himself to supporting students targeted by anti-LGBT bullying
and advocating for changes in his district’s censorship policy, which
prohibits addressing LGBT issues in the classroom.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national
education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established
in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and
accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive
contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For
information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy,
student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org