Zoe Weil was presented with the National Council of Social Studies “Spirit of America” award, which honors people who follow their conscience and act against current thinking in order to stand up for equity, freedom, and the American spirit of justice. The award recognizes Weil’s work in expanding humane education. One of the ways she has done this is through her work as the president and co-founder of the Institute for Humane Education, which partners with Antioch University in offering the only Graduate Certificate, MA, MEd, and EdD, in Humane Education.
Since 1989, NCSS has co-sponsored the Spirit of America Award with Social Studies School Service, located in Culver City, Calif. Former recipients include President Jimmy Carter, Joseph Medicine Crow, Marian Wright Edelman, Senator Barry Goldwater, Dolores Huerta, Khizr Khan, Jim Lehrer, Senator George McGovern, Ralph Nader, Rosa Parks, Rosie Rios, Fred Rogers, Loung Ung, Clifton Truman Daniel (grandson of President Harry S. Truman), and Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor Masahiro Sasaki.
Weil was presented with the award at the 103rd Annual Conference of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), in Nashville. Weil received a $1,000 honorarium and a commemorative gift in recognition of her exemplary contributions to the “spirit of American Democracy.” She was also a featured speaker at the conference.
In a press release, Wesley Hedgepeth, NCSS president said: “Heartfelt congratulations to Zoe Weil for being honored with the esteemed Spirit of America Award. Her pioneering efforts in humane education, championing the principle of maximizing positive impact while minimizing harm, are laying the groundwork for a transformative shift in the educational landscape. Her unwavering commitment to nurturing students into ‘solutionaries’ holds immense promise for spearheading change and fostering a more compassionate and sustainable future.”
Weil is a frequent keynote speaker at education and other conferences and has given six TEDx talks including her acclaimed TEDx, The World Becomes What You Teach. She is the author of seven books including #1 Amazon best seller in the Philosophy and Social Aspects of Education, The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries; Nautilus silver medal winner Most Good, Least Harm, Moonbeam gold medal winner Claude and Medea, and Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times. Weil was named one of Maine Magazine’s 50 independent leaders transforming their communities and the state and is the recipient of the Unity College Women in Environmental Leadership award. She was also a subject of the Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait series and received the Distinguished Alumnae Achievement Award from the Nightingale-Bamford School. She holds master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Valparaiso University.
Founded in 1921, National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) is the largest professional association in the country devoted solely to social studies education. Its mission is to provide leadership, service, and support for all educators. The NCSS membership represents K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, social studies supervisors, and leaders in the various disciplines that constitute the social studies.