Spanish educator alumnus awarded the Reckford Teaching Prize

Justin Seifts '09 is a Spanish teacher at East Chapel Hill High School and was awarded the Reckford Teaching Prize by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation announced that the 2022 Reckford Teaching Prize has been awarded to East Chapel Hill High School Spanish Teacher Justin Seifts ’09.

The Reckford Teaching Prize, established in 2018 with the Public School Foundation by Joe and Xiomei Reckford, is awarded annually to an outstanding teacher who exhibits the joy of teaching. The prize was created to honor excellent teachers who have outstanding records of inspiring students and passion for their work at their core. This $2,000 prize rewards teachers with exceptional opportunities for travel and study, while encouraging their professional development through enrichment opportunities.

When asked how he creates enthusiasm for learning, Seifts said, “My classroom is based around making connections with students and understanding how they learn. I get to know my students and learn what their interests are. I ensure my classroom is student-centered rather than teacher-centered. I teach my students a growth mindset, how to believe in themselves so they can rise to any challenge.“

Seifts is involved with the student body outside of his classroom as well. He offers support to students who are not in his classes. He translates and interprets for colleagues and Latinx families. He is an advisor for a variety of clubs and leadership committees including the College Board committee to improve AP World Language access and achievement, N.C. American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, and the Advisory Board for the Spanish Education Committee at Elon University.

“Justin Seifts truly embodies the spirit of this special award,” said PSF Executive Director Madeline Blobe. “We are proud that he will be representing our district in the next few weeks by presenting at a national conference in California entitled: Teach Locally, Act Globally: A Framework for Social Justice and Global Competence.”