»Paulo Freire Democratic Project Awards

Dr. Donado Marcedo receiving the 2014 Paulo Freire Democratic Project Award for Social JusticeThe Paulo Freire Democratic Project awards are given to individuals and organizations that embody the life and legacy of Paulo Freire, to those who, in his eyes, "dare to teach". They honor both individuals and organizations characterized by intellectual excellence, ethical concern and deep commitment to the creation, nurturing, and sustainability of fair and just communities regardless of location. Teachers herein is not restricted to those associated with formal educational institutions but rather refers to individuals described by Freire as “cultural workers”, as “those who dare to teach” in whatever context they find themselves. In this understanding, organizations themselves are viewed as doing cultural work as well. In both cases, such daring requires a commitment to love. To paraphrase Paulo, we must dare, in the full sense of the word, to speak of love without the fear of being called ridiculous, mawkish, or unscientific, if not antiscientific. We must dare to learn how to dare in order to say no to the bureaucratization of the mind to which we are exposed every day.

+-2014 Paulo Freire Democratic Project Award of Social Justice Recipients

The 2014 recipients of the Paulo Freire Democratic Project Award of Social Justice are Donaldo Macedo and the Paulo Freire Charter School (Newark NJ) Without question, the selections were based on each having met the following fundamental beliefs criteria:

  • All educational processes should be directed toward optimal human development.
  • Through literacy, in its broadest sense of reading the word to read the world, human agents come to know and act upon the world.
  • Education is a political endeavor thus cannot be neutral.
  • The aesthetic is critical for it allows us to see things new, to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange.
  • It is absolutely necessary to reach out for pedagogical engagement with other democratic and justice oriented communities.
  • Participatory action research is essential for educational transformation.
  • Reflection without action is verbalism, alienating “blah” while action without reflection is action for actions sake, thus activism.
  • All individuals are capable of deep intellectual and moral thought regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, cultural, and class backgrounds.
  • There is hope, always hope buttressed by tenacity, love, and attention to the long haul. 

Click here to learn more about the Paulo Freire Democratic Project Award of Social Justice selection criteria

+-Paulo Freire Democratic Projects Award of Social Justice by an Individual

+-Paulo Freire Democratic Projects Award of Social Justice by an Organization

2014 The Newark Paulo Freire Charter School; Newark, NJ
2013 1. The Right to Know Initiative
2. Klamath River Early College Redwoods Charter School; Crescent City, CA
2012 Little Sister's Book Store; Vancouver, British Columbia; Canada
2011 Padres Unidos; Santa Ana, CA
2010 The Wooden Floor; Santa Ana, CA
2009 Rethinking Schools; Milwaukee, WI
2004 Pio Pico Elementary School; Santa Ana, CA
2003 Los Amigos of Anaheim; Orange County, CA


The Newark Paulo Freire Charter School; Newark, NJ







+- Those Who Dare To Teach 2014 Awards Recipients

The Paulo Freire Democratic Project Those Who Dare To Teach award honors a teacher or teachers who exemplify this ethos through wisdom, practice, compassion, and deep commitment to the creation, nurture, and sustainability of fair and just communities regardless of location. Teachers herein is not restricted to those associated with formal educational institutions but rather refers to individuals described by Paulo Freire as “cultural workers”, as “those who dare to teach” in whatever context they find themselves. Such daring requires a commitment to love. To paraphrase Paulo, we must dare, in the full sense of the word, to speak of love without the fear of being called ridiculous, mawkish, or unscientific, if not antiscientific. We must dare to learn how to dare in order to say no to the bureaucratization of the mind to which we are exposed every day*.

Patricia Huerta Patricia Huerta is the Founder and Executive Director of Padres Unidos, a collaborative organization that believes successful families breed successful communities. For the past 20 years, Patricia has daringly, if not tenaciously, worked with countless parents and their children in Orange County. Currently, more than 2,000 children and parents in Orange County are served lovingly through Padres Unidos’ parent training and kindergarten readiness programs.
Norma Valenzuela, Ph.D. in Education Student - College of Educational Studies Norma Valenzuela teaches at Martin Luther King School (MLK), SAUSD and studies in Chapman’s College of Educational Studies Ph.D program. In both roles, as a reflective and culturally responsive scholar activist, she daringly pursues academic justice for disenfranchised English learners. To illustrate, MLK faculty and parents have resisted the negative consequences of English only policies. The result has been a safe haven characterized by proficient bilingualism, high academic achievement and love.

While contexts differ, Patricia and Norma with love, continually change the world through education.


*Freire, P. (1998). Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to Those Who Dare Teach. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. p. 3.

+-Outstanding Graduate Student: Master of Arts in Education

Each year the College of Educational Studies and the Paulo Freire Democratic Project award the Paulo Freire Award for Outstanding Graduate Student within the Master of Arts in Education program for both current and future contributions to the field of education.

Drawing of Paulo Freire

Year Recipient
2014 Norma Valenzuela
2012 Elizabeth M. Zarkos
2011 Marisol Rexach
2010 Erin M. Rivero
2009 Cathleen L. Sanchez
2008 Nicole M. DiRanna
2007 Renzzo F. Reyes
2006 Chris Strople
2005 Dan Kelly
2004 Elyse Froehlich
2003 Susie Weston
2002 Cheryl Lee King
2001 Judy Burgess
1999 John Gunderson
1998 Christine Montemer
1997 Emily Wolk
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    AERA 2014

    The Newark Paulo Freire Charter School winning the PFDP Social Justice Award
    The Paulo Freire Democratic Projects Awards of Social Justice were awarded that the 2014 Chapman University American Educational Research Association (AERA) Reception. Congratulations to Dr. Donaldo Macedo of the University of Massachusetts Boston, and the Neward Paulo Freire Charter School. 

    Click here to view the photos from AERA

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