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Pitman civics professor wins prestigious honor
Isacc Farhardian civics award
Pitman High social studies teacher Isaac Farhadian (left) poses with the 2023 Roy Erickson Civic Education Leadership Award alongside Bert Bower, CEO and President of social studies curriculum website TeachTCI, at the CCSS Conference in Santa Clara on Feb. 25 (Photo contributed).

Pitman High social studies teacher Isaac Farhadian was the recipient of the Roy Erickson Civic Education Leadership Award at the annual California Council for the Social Studies Conference held in Santa Clara on Feb. 25 and 26. Every year, the award recognizes a California educational leader, legislator, or community or organization leader who has made notable contributions toward promoting or implementing civic learning in schools to prepare students to be engaged and responsible citizens.

"Winning this award is a great honor and I dedicate this award to all of my students who constantly push me to do my best for them,” Farhadian said. “I'd like to thank the great work the CCSS does in promoting social studies education in California.”

Farhadian teaches AP U.S. Government and Politics and U.S. Government and Economics at Pitman High. He is also the advisor to the school’s Junior State of America chapter. In each of the courses and clubs, Farhadian has had students participate in a number of unique and hands-on exercises.

For multiple years, Farhadian has served as the student mock election coordinator for the Pitman social studies department, including this past fall where he supervised a mock election for the 2022 midterm elections where students critically analyzed the propositions and the candidates running for office. Over 1030 students participated in the democratic process by participating in the event. Additionally, he had each his students write letters to local news outlets about topics of importance to them, many in which were published.

"Isaac has demonstrated outstanding leadership by promoting and strengthening high quality civic education practices through instruction, programming and advocacy," said Rebecca Valbuena, immediate past president of the CCSS. "We applaud his impactful work and congratulate him on receiving the 2023 Roy Erickson Civic Education Leadership Award."

And while Farhadian has already accomplished much in his time at Pitman High, he remains in the process of further expanding his knowledge to bring back to his classroom. For instance, he recently completed a Fulbright TGC Fellowship in Finland as part of an intercultural exchange and is now pursuing a second M.A. in Political Science as a James Madison Fellow.

Being a James Madison Fellow seems fitting for Farhadian, as he describes the Founding Father and the nation’s fourth president as someone he greatly admires.

“One quote that deeply resonates with me is from James Madison. He once wrote, ‘The greatest service that one can offer to their country, second only to the gift of liberty, is to spread knowledge and learning that is essential for the preservation and enjoyment of this blessing.’ This quote captures the essence of my work and it encourages me to instill the importance of civics to my students in order to be positive changemakers,” Farhadian said. “I’m incredibly proud to receive this recognition.”