Professor Emerita Sonia Nieto has been awarded the Medal for Distinguished Service, the highest honor bestowed by Teachers College, Columbia University, for her writings on multicultural education, teacher preparation, the education of Latinos, and other culturally and linguistically diverse student populations. She will accept the Medal for Distinguished Service at Teachers College’s Commencement on Monday, May 19, 2014 in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Manhattan.
Past recipients of the Medal include the linguist and anthropologist Shirley Brice Heath, the education leaders Freeman Hrabowski and William Bowen, the producer and filmmaker Spike Lee, musician Dave Brubeck, and the former New York Times columnist Bob Herbert.
Nieto is the recipient of many awards and honors including : the 1997 Multicultural Educator of the Year Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education; an Annenberg Institute Senior Fellowship (1998-2000); Chancellor’s Medal, University of Massachusetts (2000); Outstanding Teacher Award, School of Education, University of Massachusetts (2001-2002); Enrique T. Trueba Lifetime Achievement Award from the Journal of Latinos and Education (2006); 2008 Award of Distinction, School of Education, University of Massachusetts ; 2008 Distinguished Alumna Award, University of Massachusetts; and the 2008 Social Justice in Education Award from the American Educational Research Association. She was named the 2005 Outstanding Language Arts Educator of the Year by the National Council of Teachers of English, and in 2011 was named a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and a Laureate of Kappa Delta Pi, an education honor society. She has received honorary doctorates from Lesley University (1999), Bridgewater State College (2004), DePaul University (2007), and Manhattanville College (2009).
Teachers College was founded in 1887 to help immigrant children and their families better their places in society. It prepared African-American teachers from the South at a time when institutions in Southern states would not accept them. It was the birthplace of urban education studies, and today, through its efforts in Harlem, serves as a leader in modeling the effectiveness of university-public school partnerships.