The Robert H. Jackson Center, in partnership with the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), is pleased to announce that David Sherrin, a ninth grade history teacher at Harvest Collegiate High School in New York, NY, has been named recipient of the 2014 Robert H. Jackson Center National Award for Teaching Justice. This prestigious award was created to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution toward teaching the concept of justice in creative and inspiring ways. Sherrin was presented with the Award for Teaching Justice on November 21, 2014, during the President’s Welcome Breakfast at the NCSS Annual Conference in Boston, MA.
“David Sherrin is an exceptional educator who motivates and inspires his students to closely examine the complexities of justice and how they relate to contemporary issues and their own lives,”said James C. Johnson, President and CEO of the Robert H. Jackson Center. “The selection committee found him most worthy of receiving this year’s award for his ability to develop innovative lessons that connect with his students.”
With over 10 years teaching experience, Sherrin is a dynamic and dedicated educator who brings history and philosophical concepts of justice to life in his classroom. Sherrin embeds his history lessons into conversations about current issues, interjects his students into lessons through role playing activities, and develops their critical thinking skills through examining primary sources and exploring multiple perspectives.
Tying together lessons on history with current events and issues, Sherrin’s students examine the complexities of justice through lessons on the Holocaust and the Nuremberg Trials, as well as the Rwandan Genocide and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. A culminating class activity is a visit to the local court house where the students take part in a mock trial of a defendant from the trials.
Sherrin serves as the History Department Chair for Harvest Collegiate High School where he additionally serves as Humanities Department Coordinator, Mock Trial Liaison, and Open Honors Coordinator. His classroom lessons have been featured in the New York Times and NPR.
Sherrin received a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, and a Master’s Degree in Teaching from SUNY Empire State College and History from CUNY Brooklyn College. Sherrin has led numerous workshops both domestically and internationally on curriculum, lesson plans and teacher development. He has spent time working and studying in Ecuador, Chile, Brazil and Rwanda.
“There is a moment when we start such work as teaching genocide that we fear it will be overly depressing. I find by the end that the stories of survival, sacrifice and standards, with the world’s attempt to achieve justice, as well as the curiosity and compassion of my students, teaching genocide and justice have been the most moving and uplifting experience of my career.” related David Sherrin in his acceptance speech.