Inclusive teaching award winners smile

From left to right: John Demory, Tony Balcaen, Travis Henderson

Not pictured: Lisa Petrie

July 1, 2019

Four University of Iowa alumni were honored with Inclusive Teaching Awards on Friday, June 28, at the Iowa City Public Library, in commemoration of the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.

The awards recognize high school teachers for continuing the legacy of Brown in their classrooms.

Travis Henderson (MA ’14 Social Studies Education) from West High School, Tony Balcaen (MAT ’11 Foreign Language Education) from City High School, Lisa Petrie (MA ’94 Library and Information Science) from Elizabeth Tate High School, and John Demory (Iowa Education Licensure Program ’00) were nominated by their students for embodying inclusive teaching.

“These teachers are an important model for fellow educators, students, and all of us as well,” says University of Iowa College of Education Dean Daniel L. Clay. “All of these teachers are University of Iowa alumni, and you make us all very proud.”

Cheryl Brown Henderson, founding president of The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research and owner of Brown &

Cheryl Brown Henderson gives keynote address
Associates, an educational consulting firm, gave a keynote address on the lasting impact of Brown v. Board of Education during the awards ceremony.

“Inclusive teaching allows students to bring to the classroom who they really are,” says Brown Henderson. “We are not trying to change our students. We are trying to listen to them.”

Brown Henderson is one of three daughters of the late Oliver L. Brown, one of 13 parents led by attorneys for the NAACP, who filed suit on behalf of their children against the local Board of Education in 1950 in Topeka, Kansas. Their case joined with cases from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and on May 17, 1954, became known as the landmark decision – Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Oliver Brown died in 1961 before knowing the impact this case would have on the nation.

Brown Henderson has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Baker University, a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from Emporia State University, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Washburn University and an Honorary Doctorate of Education from the University of South Florida.

Since its establishment in 1988, the Brown Foundation has provided scholarships to more than 100 minority students, established libraries for children in low income communities, and sponsored programs on diversity and education issues for thousands of people.

“Education is about opportunity and education creates hope. Hope is something that everybody has a right to have,” says Brown Henderson.

This event was sponsored by the City of Iowa City Office of Equity and Human Rights with additional support from the following: UI College of Education, the UI College of Law, Student Legal Services, the UI Center for Human Rights, U of I Community Credit Union, and Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature.