Award of Merit

The CATE Award of Merit recognizes outstanding contributions of persons and organizations toward the improvement of teaching English/language arts in California. Any CATE council committee can make nominations.

Nominating councils are listed last in each entry (council abbreviations listed below).

2023 Winners

LibroMobile/Barrio Writers, Sarah Rafael Garcia, Santa Ana
Nominated by Capitol Council

The Dickens Project, John Jordan, Santa Cruz
Nominated by Central Council


2020 Winners

Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival, Eureka
Nominated by Redwood Council

Dr. Emerson Case, California State University, Bakersfield
Nominated by Kern Council


2019 Winners

Long Beach Public Library Foundation, Kate Azar
Nominated by Jennifer Silver, President of Southland Council

Art Venturre
Nominated by Janina Schulz and David Wisar, Co-Presidents of FACET

The National Steinbeck Center
Nominated by Kathy Nichols, President of Central Council

Litquake Foundation
Nominated by Kathy Nichols, President of Central Council


2018 Winners

Vickie Spanos, Kern High School District, Bakersfield
Nominated by Kim Flachmann, President of Kern Council

Veronica Murphy, Write Out Loud, San Diego
Nominated by Jeannine Ugalde and Gina Vattuone, Co-Presidents of Greater San Diego Council

2017 Winners

Danay Ferguson, Reading Heart – A Book Donation Program, Fresno

Bita Nazarian, Executive Director, 826 Valencia, San Francisco

Nancy Brynelson, Center for the Advancement of Reading, California

2012 Winners

Rachel Bernstein, Jennifer Reid
Los Angeles County Museum of Art “Evenings for Educators”
Nominated by SCTE, Nancy Himel, President

2011 Winners

Macedonio Arteaga, Jr. from Teatro Itzcali, GSDCTE
Sam Pierstorff from Slam on the Rye Poetry Slam, CCCTE
Leslie Johnson from Center Theater Young Audiences Program, SCTE

2010 Winners

East West Players of Los Angeles, SCTE
San Diego Student Shakespeare Festival, GSDCTE

2009 Winners

Sstoz Tes, Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, San Jose State University, CCCTE
Shifra Teitelbaum, youTHink Director, Culver City, SCTE
Lynn Whitehouse, “One Book, One San Diego,” San Diego Public Library, GSDCTE
Lois Miller, Oroville, UCTE

2008 Winners

Wyland, Laguna Beach, SCTE
Kerry Blum, Barnes Tennis Center, San Diego, GSDCTE

2007 Winners

Chris Hubbard, McDougall-Littell, Clovis, FACET
Gregorio Luke, Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, SCTE
La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego, GSDCTE

2006 Winners

Violetta Jacobs, Art Outreach Program, Rancho Mirage, SCTE
Education Center of the Salvation Army Kroc Center, San Diego, GSDCTE
Lea Mitchem, Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, FACET

2005 Winners

Oral Lee Brown, Oral Lee Brown Foundation, CCCTE
Lorett Staggs, African American Resource Center, A.C. Bilbrew Library, SCTE
John Gibbons, San Diego Union Tribune Photographer, Advisory Board Member and Mentor at Montgomery High School Media Institute, GSDCTE

2004 Winners

Tony Fadale, The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance, SCTE
Irwin Herman, “The Bookman,” San Diego, GSDCTE
Cathy Adkins, Willow Glen Books, San Jose, CCCTE

2003 Winners

Frank Castner, Librarian, Palm Springs High School, SCTE
Price Foundation, San Diego, GSDCTE

2002 Winners

Patt Morrison, KCET Bookshow Host and L.A. Times Columnist, SCTE
Rafael Hernandez, Director Summerbridge, UCSD and Gordon “Zeke” Knight, Board Member, The Bishop’s School, La Jolla, GSDCTE

2001 Winners

Hugh Davies, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Quincy Troupe & Jennifer Yancy, Assistant to Quincy Troupe, La Jolla, GSDCTE
Jack Winer, President, Friends of the San Diego Public Library, GSDCTE
Martha Escutia, State Senator, Montebello, SCTE
Betty Karnette, State Senator, Long Beach, SCTE
Shirley Russell, Catch Our Rainbow Books, SCTE

2000 Winners

Jan Berk, LA Times, Child Literacy Initiative, SCTE
Lorri Wickenhauser, Modesto Bee, Teens in the Newsroom Program, CCCTE
Jack Webb, San Diego Union Tribune, Border Voices Poetry, GSDCTE
Margarita Luna Robles, Fresno Poet, FACET

1999 Winners

Molly Biehl & Betty Mohllenbrock, Family Literacy Foundation, Solana Beach, GSDCTE
Anita Cano, Cultura Latina Bookstore, Long Beach, SCTE
Fran Weinschenk & David Smith, Valley Writers Read, KVPR, Fresno Public Radio, TUCATE

1998 Winners

Sophy Chaffee, Newspapers in Education, San Diego Union Tribune, GSDCTE
Milligan News Company, CCCTE
Katherine Thomerson, The Frugal Frigate, Redlands, SCTE

1997 Winners

Dana Plewka, Fresno Bee, FACET
Susan Zlotnick & Dale Spector, The Yellow Book Road, GSDCTE

1996 Winners

Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, CCCTE
Robert Condon, Rolling Readers, San Diego, GSDCTE

1995 Winners

Carol Booth Olson, Director, UCI Writing Project, SCTE
Carol Urzua, Stone Soup Family Project, FACET
William Lynch, President, William Lynch Foundation for Children, San Diego, GSDCTE

1994 Winners

Harriet Williams, Founder, Literary Women, SCTE
Val Lewis, Hicklebee’s Bookstore, CCCTE
Valley Day Program, San Joaquin County Historical Museum, CCCTE
Dayton Hudson Foundation, GSDCTE
W.M. Keck Foundation, GSDCTE
Taylor Hackford, Hollywood Pictures, FACET

1993 Winners

Neel Parikh, California Library Association, CCCTE
Joyce Brandon, Win/Win, FACET
Charles Garrigus, Poet Laureate, FACET
Gary Soto, FACET
Mary Ann Martini, Institute for Arts Education Program, GSDCTE

1992 Winners

East Fresno Rotary Club, FACET
John Wedemeyer, Director, June Burnett Institute of the San Diego University Foundation, GSDCTE

1991 Winners

C. W. Moulton, Director, & Jacquelin Pilar, Coordinator, Fresno Poets Association, FACET
Gwen Cherry & Ed Hansen, Fresno Service Center, Internal Revenue Service, FACET
Monroe “Bookie” Clark, San Diego, GSDCTE
Linda Wright, Joshua Tree Council, Girl Scouts of America, KCTE

1990 Winners

Rhona Weinstein, UC Berkeley, CCCTE
Gail Marshall, Kathy Barberich & Diane Webster, Fresno Bee, FACET
John Vienberg & Ernesto Trajo, Poets, Fresno, FACET
Jim Burke, Jim Burke Ford Motor Company, KCTE
Dick Hartley, Senior Vice-President of Marketing, Mission Federal Credit Union, San Diego, GSDCTE

1989 Winners

David Levison, Assistant Editor, Long Beach Press Telegram, SCTE
Janet Greenberg, Regional Director, California Poets in the Schools
Tom Uribes, California Chicano News Media Association
Dan Pessano, Managing Director, Good Company Players
Rear Admiral W. I. Lewis, Jr., US Navy
Hank Crockett, Publisher, Camarillo Daily News
Ed Foglia, CTA President

1988 Winners

Kathy Robertson, Reporter, Davis Enterprise, CCTE
Bill Allison, Manager, Fresno County Farm Bureau, FACET
Ben Amirkhanian, Chairman, William Saroyan Festival Committee, Fresno, FACET
Ambrose Brodus, Retired Director, San Diego Urban League, GSDCTE
Steve Wozniak, Inventor of the Apple Computer, CCCTE

1987 Winners

Gary Hart, State Senator, Fresno, FACET
Raul O’Rourke, Senior Vice-President, Equitable Financial Services, Fresno, FACET
Bill Honig, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, SCTE
Neil Morgan, Editor, San Diego Tribune, GSDCTE

1986 Winners

Thomas Hannigan, Assemblyman, CCTE
Fresno Bee, FACET
Robert Maynard, Publisher, Oakland Tribune, CCCTE
Christine Saed & Lee White, Directors, Project Second Start, Oakland Public Library, CCCTE
Carole Talan & Ernest Siegel, Directors, Project Second Start, Contra Costa County Library, CCCTE
Deborah Salzer, Director, California Young Playwrights Project, San Diego, GSDCTE

1985 Winners

Juan Lara, Office of Academic Interinstitutional Programs, UCLA, SCTE
Tom and Donna Whitney, Whitney Education Foundation, CCCTE
Craig Noel, Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, GSDCTE

1984 Winners

Helen Nash, Yolo County Academic Decathlon, CCTE
Cornell Maier, Chairman, California Roundtable Task Force on Jobs and Education, CCCTE
Sam Hinton, Musician, School Speaker, San Diego, GSDCTE
Dame Judith Anderson, Actress, SCTE


(CCTE= Capitol Council of Teachers of English, CCCTE= Central California Council of Teachers of English, FACET= Fresno Area Council of English Teachers, GSDCTE= Greater San Diego Council of Teachers of English, KCTE= Kern Council of Teachers of English, RCTE= Redwood Council of Teachers of English, SCTE= Southland Council of Teachers of English, TUCATE= Tulare Council of the California Association of Teachers of English, UCTE= Upper Council of Teachers of English)