Excellence in Holocaust Education

FAU Human Rights Center Recognizes District Teachers For Excellence in Holocaust Education
Posted on 02/25/2021
Ladd and Prieto

Two School District of Palm Beach County teachers are the recipients of the 2020 Gutterman Family Outstanding Holocaust Educator Award.

Amanda Ladd from Eagles Landing Middle School and Susan Prieto from Equestrian Trails Elementary School were honored for actively strengthening their students’ world citizenship and capacity to uphold the dignity of all persons, through teaching about the Holocaust.

“This award is a huge honor for me. Without a doubt, learning about and educating others about history has changed my pedagogy for the better,” Ladd said, as she nears almost a decade of teaching in the District. “My goal for teaching Holocaust and Human Behavior is to create change within myself and students.”

“Having been chosen for this award, I feel humbled, honored, and grateful,” Prieto said about the honor she is receiving after working in the District for 18 years. “I am profoundly grateful to those who have supported my projects and to Mr. Gutterman and his family for their commitment and generosity to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are never forgotten.”

The Outstanding Holocaust Educator Award is given by the Arthur and Emalie Gutterman Family Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education at Florida Atlantic University. It recognizes educators from elementary through high school who have demonstrated a positive impact on their schools and the wider community within the field of Holocaust, genocide, and human rights education.

Amanda Ladd

Amanda Ladd – Teacher of Holocaust Studies
Eagles Landing Middle School

To have my students leave my classroom at the end of the day – or year – and stand up for change, speak up in the face of hate, discrimination, and bigotry, and bear the weight of history and apply it to our current state of affairs, has been my greatest professional, personal challenge and honor.

History has a very heavy emotional impact on people. To care and give life to stories of the past gives me a great purpose. My ever-present goal is to enlighten students about horrific atrocities that continue today, in the hopes that they will feel encouraged, inspired, and compelled to take action. My job and my goals are to teach students all that it means to be a well-informed citizen and to take a stand in the face of injustice and adversity.

I firmly believe that through learning about the Holocaust, we create a better tomorrow for all marginalized individuals. We are raising the bar to create informed and analytical students who know how to use their voices in the face of hatred and oppression. I want students to remember the lessons we have learned together, in order to be better humans.

Susan Prieto

Susan Prieto – Fifth Grade Teacher of the Gifted
Equestrian Trails Elementary School

It is imperative that we continue to teach each generation about the Holocaust so that systemic and state-sponsored genocides never happen again. Studies have shown that when students learn about the Holocaust, they become more pluralistic. They demonstrate greater empathy and respect, and they develop the tools needed to confront bias.

Therefore, in teaching the lessons of the Holocaust, students understand that there are consequences to actions and inaction. They understand that one person can indeed make a difference. They understand that together we can restrain hate and violence to ensure that humanity prevails and dignity is preserved throughout the world.

I want my students to remember my stories and my passion. I want them to know that I care and I care deeply. I care about their futures, their choices, and their well-being. I care that they are kind and do what is right. I care that they have the courage to stand up for themselves and others and that they have the fortitude to choose love over hate.

The Arthur and Emalie Gutterman Family Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education will fund an educational trip to Israel and Poland for the award recipients in 2022. The teachers will study at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. They will then travel to Oświęcim, Poland to tour Auschwitz-Birkenau, the former concentration camp that is now a memorial and museum.

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