The National Scholastic Press Association recently named upper school journalism teacher Ellen Austin one of this year’s Pioneer Award winners. Considered the NSPA’s highest honor awarded to journalism educators, the Pioneer Award recognizes “individuals who make substantial contributions to high school publications and journalism programs outside of their primary employment,” according to the NSPA website.
Austin, a journalism teacher for more than 15 years, has served on the national board of directors for the Journalism Education Association as well as on the regional board for Northern California. In 2006, she was among the first winners of the JEA’s Rising Star Award, and was named Educator of the Year in 2011 by the California Journalism Education Coalition.
Key among Austin’s accomplishments are diversity initiatives meant to bring more voices to student journalism that have traditionally not been represented. These initiatives have been featured in collegiate research and textbooks covering the topic of diversity in student journalism.