The Woodridge Award for Great Teachers
About the Woodridge Award: The Woodridge Award is presented annually by a prominent person to their most beloved and important former teacher. The award is named in honor of Mattie Woodridge, who taught high school English in Helena, Arkansas during Segregation, a time when white teachers made a disgraceful $625 a year and black teachers earned only half that. After winning her school’s outstanding teacher award four times, Woodridge organized a local Teacher Day to celebrate local teachers. Its success led her to campaign for a national day of recognition for teachers. She successfully enlisted the help of Eleanor Roosevelt and together they lobbied Congress until, in 1953, National Teacher Day was established.
Patricia Redd Johnson, a former middle school teacher, received the 2017 Woodridge Award from Francisco Núñez, a conductor, composer, and the founder of The Young People’s Chorus of New York City.