Dec 21, 2018 by


Michael F. Shaughnessy –

For the past ten years or so , we endeavor to acknowledge some individuals who have made great contributions to education. This year we are proud to recognize and acknowledge a number of scholars, writers, theoreticians and other researchers who have contributed to the field of education.

The winners for 2018 are:

Delia Stafford

Monty McNeil

Wilfrey McClay

Delia Stafford

Bruce Urhmacher

Jane Robbins

Stan Lee (posthumously)

James Webb (posthumously)

Maurice Fisher (posthumously)

Delia Stafford has worn many hats over the years- but she needs to be recognized for her work with the Haberman Foundation and her assistance over the years with the Upton Sinclair awards and her extensive work in Texas with alternative certification and her publications in this realm. Like many past award winners- she has contributed much to education and to students everywhere. For a brief resume of her life go to : https://habermanfoundation.org/about/delia-stafford/  

Monty McNeil has devoted many years of his life in an attempt to get a fair just valid reliable type of test administered in the schools. Like many educators, he is dissatisfied with the standardized test format and believes that we can do better. All parents want their children to learn, grow and develop and many parents are concerned about their child’s growth. Hence, there is a need for some type of evaluation, assessment, or test or quiz. The issue becomes – how much time should teachers devote to the assessment of their students, and what types of tests are appropriate at what ages, and how much weight should be placed on the results of these tests. Often due to student illnesses or absences, students do not perform well on tests. These outside factors should be taken into account. In other instances, we have a student whose first language is not English who is being bombarded with tests written in English.

Wilfred McClay has distinguished himself as a true scholar- teaching courses involving the Great books, rigorous scholarship and academic integrity.  He explains his ideas thusly:

“Students begin to see how the great texts not only are monuments of unchanging intellect and living things in conversation with one another, but that such texts can be the food and drink sustaining the life of a master artist. They can take the books as their own food and drink too and can see from him—and hopefully from their teachers too—how the life of the mind can be lived, how a life of intense creativity and searching moral imagination rooted in this rich inheritance can be theirs for the asking.”

Wilfred M. McClay currently holds the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma. His book, The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America, won the 1995 Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians. McClay received his BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis and his doctoral degree in history from Johns Hopkins University. The above is from :  https://theimaginativeconservative.org/author/wilfred-mcclay

His classes are typically full as word of mouth has reached far and wide as to the intellectual challenge and stimulation his classes and lectures afford.  He has endeavored to keep the idea of an in depth study and comprehensive evaluation of thought and literature as well as history alive.

P. Bruce Urhmacher has served as President of the American Association for Teaching and Curriculum (AATC), and as Chair of the Elliot Eisner Special Interest Group of the American Association for Educational Research. He was honored with the University of Denver Distinguished Teaching Award.  He has served as the department chair of Educational Research, Policy, and Practice and as Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction. He has been a co-editor of the Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue and book review editor for the International Journal of Leadership in Education.

He currently serves as the faculty advisor for the Creativity Institute for Teachers.  His research interests include the development of arts-based research, an understanding of race and qualitative research, and the development of environmental curriculum with an infusion of the arts. He is also one of the main writers about CRISPA.  For readers who do not know what that is? Check out: http://www.crispateaching.org/   (most of the above is taken from his web site )

He has published (with Lingqi Meng) in the Journal of Aesthetic Education, has published on “Aesthetic Themes of Education (with Christy M. Moroye) in Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, and with J. Matthews has written “Intricate Palette: Working the Ideas of Elliot Eisner” and has co-authored (with Christy M. Mooroye ) Instituting the Arts .

He is perhaps best known for his work on the arts, art education and aesthetics and has endeavored to keep the arts alive in the schools and conduct research on this topic and encourage the development of thinking in this regard.

Jane Robbins is a Senior Fellow of the American Principles Project. She is a Clemson graduate with a law degree from Harvard Law School.  She is a long-time warrior against intrusive data collection (without parental permission) on students, on which she has testified before Congress, against Common Core, and “Personalized” Learning, and other issues in education.

Most recently, she was a co-author on a revision of the new Massachusetts Social Studies Standards (which was not accepted), and she is the co-author, with Emmett McGroarty and Erin Tuttle, of Deconstructing the Administrative State.  She has been tireless against “political correctness” and EdReformers ravages in the public schools.

Stan Lee –   People can say what they want about “comic books” but I can think of no other author who has contributed so much to the endeavor of getting students to read. As I reflect back to younger days, I grew up reading about the Fantastic Four. I enjoyed looking forward to what was happening to Peter Parker and Aunt May. I feverishly sought the latest about Bruce Banner- also known as the Hulk. I could go on naming other characters such as Tony Stark/Iron Man and the X-Men- but suffice it to say that these comics were the staple of many children’s educational years. Stan Lee probably died happy knowing that he lifted the spirits of many children across the U.S. with the stories of heroism of the Fantastic Four and the escapades of Spidey, and the gadgetry of Tony Stark and his Iron Man suit. I do not know Jack Kirby and the various other co-authors with which he worked- but I hope that they recognize the contributions of this great man- and the adventures that stemmed from his imagination.

And what an imagination he had!  All one has to do is peruse any book devoted to any one of his superheroes and they will be mesmerized by the depth, breath and scope of the various characters he created. And one thinks that during his final years- he had a ball doing those cameos in various movies featuring his characters!  Stan and his imagination will sorely be missed. His characters will live on and his cameos in movies treasured.  For a picture of Stan Lee – click here!

James Webb – The field of gifted education has lost a leader- a man of stature and character and a man that gave so much to gifted children, adolescents and even adults. James Webb was a man who saw the future and he saw that the future belonged to the gifted and talented and creative children of the world and he also thought far enough ahead to devote his time to publishing books of considerable worth and speaking at conferences and conventions, and on occasion taking time to respond to e-mails from all over the world. To say that the field is stunned with the loss of this fine scholar, gentleman and kind giving person would be an understatement. I know that his work will be cited and his work will live on and those impacted by his generosity will stop and say a brief prayer of thanks for all of his work. We have lost a great man.   For more information and a picture of this great man, see below:

Dear friends of Gifted Education Press,

We are sad to inform you that our father, Maurice D. Fisher, founder and publisher of Gifted Education Press, passed away on Oct 15th, 2018. Many of you were customers, colleagues, and subscribers to his newsletter for many years, and we know he appreciated your support in serving the gifted education community.

Maurice D. Fisher, Ph.D.


Maurice David Fisher was born in Roanoke, VA, to parents Jean Shapiro and Sidney Fisher. He had one older sister, Ina Fisher.

Known as “Mack David” or “Mack” in his younger years, he had a great love of music and learned to play the drums at a young age. He attended Michigan State University on a music scholarship, where he played in the marching band, and continued on to earn a Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Virginia (UVA). While at UVA he met his wife, Eugenia — they were married for 46 years, and raised two children, Steven and Sarah, in the Northern Virginia area.

Dr. Fisher worked for three decades at Fairfax County Public Schools as a Statistical Research and Testing Analyst for gifted and special education. He also ran an independent publishing company, Gifted Education Press, for over 30 years, publishing books for gifted and talented students and educators. Through his work at GEP he reached thousands of educators who brought his articles and books into their schools to benefit gifted students. He was an avid book collector and enjoyed many subjects in the arts, humanities, and science. He had a passion for classical music, jazz, and poetry, and loved lighthouses, amateur photography, stamp collecting, and animals.

Dr. Fisher passed away on Monday, October 15, 2018 and was 78 years old. He is survived by his two children.

We would like to share some words about our father from two of his closest GEP authors, collaborators, and friends:

From Dr. Michael Walters, a longtime colleague and friend of Dr. Fisher:

“The best legacy for Dr. Maurice Fisher is the understanding of the wonderful personality traits that he possessed. The first one is reflection. For Dr. Fisher there was no such thing as the devil in the details. He reflected on everything that he encountered and examined it closely. He was one of the most unique researchers who used his reflective scholarship. This approach enabled him to possess humanistic responses to his research studies. The second trait is respect. Dr. Fisher respected talent and giftedness in all its domain. He also respected the talents and gifted qualities of the people that wrote for him. The individuals that worked with him were his correspondents in the search for truth – not just a bureaucratic team.

The third quality is enjoyment. Dr. Fisher thoroughly enjoyed his work in the field of gifted eduction. He didn’t view his job as editor of Gifted Education Press as a task – it was pure enjoyment of research that could help humanity. The fourth and most important trait is his courage. He had the courage to proceed with what he thought was right at the expense of being a prominent bureaucrat. He possessed skills that would enable him to work with many educational bureaucracies and educational agencies but he preferred the freedom to express his passion for gifted education.

Dr. Fisher had a commitment and passion that was religious in scope. Let us continue the legacy of Dr. Fisher and these traits so that his sensibility for gifted education continues for generations.”

From Joan Franklin Smutny, Director of The Center for Gifted / Midwest Torrance Center for Creativity:

“Maurice Fisher was one of the finest men I have ever met. He stood for all that is real, good, and harmonious in education, and often led the way to new views of education in the humanities and the arts, in creativity and originality. His years of articles took a leadership position in gifted education and will stand for their integrity, clarity, vision, and mission.

Maurice Fisher was a man of great sight and insight who understood all that was fine and good in his field. He will long be remembered for what he stood for and what he wished to see accomplished. The people who worked for him always felt honored, as did I.

Maurice’s command of the English language and the style and the capacity to articulate was astonishing. He knew exactly what he wanted to say and he did it well. His colleagues commended him and will forever remember his ability to write, edit, compose, and communicate. He was a writer’s writer. None finer.

I feel privileged to be speaking of him, and will forever remember his work. In every way, Maurice Fisher was outstanding.”

It is our intention to continue serving the Gifted Education Press community in the future. We look forward to communicating with you again soon about our upcoming plans.


Steven and Sarah Fisher

Previous Upton Sinclair Award Winners:

2005: Gerald Bracey, Nicholas Colangelo, Elaine Garan, Martin Haberman, Jonathan Kozol, Peter and Pam Wright, Reid Lyon;

2006: John Stossel, Jan and Bob Davidson, Peyton Wolcott, Fred Baughman, M.D., Will Fitzhugh, Joel Turtel, Bernard Gassaway, Ned Davis, Her Highness Sheikah Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, “All the Children of the World”;

2007: Sean Hannity, Don Meyer, Ron Clark, Frank Wang, Harry and Rosemary Wong, Tracey McGrady, Dr. Eldo W. Bergman, Queen Rania of Jordan, Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, Ph.D., G. Gbaanador, MD, FACS, FICS, Bill Cecil,  Here’s to the Upton School Principals of America;

2008: Harold V. House, Kathleen Chamberlain, Dee Alpert, Kevin Donnelly, Dona Matthews, Ph.D., Aisha Ussery, Collin Hannaford, Andrew Rotherham, Jim Zellmer., JoAnn Collins;

2009: E.D. Hirsch, Jay Mathews, John Goodlad, Billy Reagan, Geoffrey Canada, Fredrick Hess, Jay Hartling;

2010: Tom Watkins, Marlena Vaughn, Susan Ohanian, Dr. Marion Blank, Neal McCluskey, Ernest Boyer (Posthumously), Mr. Pierre Fignole, Chris Woodhead, Diane Ravitch, Ph.D.

2011: C. M. Rubin, Tavis Smiley, Joe Nathan, Ann Thompson, James Webb, Kiernan Egan, Professor Hani Q. Khoury

2012: Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, CT , individuals, who gave their lives for their pupils and in the service of education individuals, who gave their lives for their pupils and in the service of education. First responders for their courage and on-going assistance in the little town where Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, CT , took a worldwide human race to its knees. Bless Be the Tie That Binds Our Hearts.

2013: Donna Garner, William Korach, Alan Singer, Bror Saxberg, Rick Hess, Paul Horton, Antoinette Tuff, Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D., Dr. Valerie Hill-Jackson

2014: Terry Grier, Paul E. Peterson, First Lady Barbara Bush, Yong Zhao, Christopher Arnold and Tracey Baker, Karen Nave, James Webb, Alice Linahan, Robert Nasson

2015: Dr. Kevin Donnelly, Robert Pondiscio, George Leef, Monty Neill, Bob Schaeffer, Lisa Guisbond, David Mirabella, Michael Petrilli, Peter Greene, Jennifer Waddell, PhD, Gus Jacob, Michael Harris, Lynn Wade, Nicholas D. Hartlep, Alan Hooker

2016: Ben Carson, Elie Wiesel, Jennifer Buckingham, Deborah Confredo, Dr Hani Q. Khoury, Professor Theodore Zeldin, Anna Ulrich, Stephen Colbert, The Unknown Teacher.

2017: Carol J. Carter, Mike Hess, Marion Brady, Joan Freeman, Scholastic Books, The International Literacy Association, The Ayn Rand Institute, The American Enterprise Institute, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Lastly, we need to recognize those teachers and students who have lost their lives due to violence over the past few years.

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