For António Simões, being honored with the Leadership in Education award from PALCUS (the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the U.S.) was a surprise.
For those who have worked with him over the years, it was a fitting tribute to the man who has done so much for the field of bilingual education.
The PALCUS Leadership Awards are presented annually to outstanding Portuguese-Americans who have distinguished themselves in their professions or in service to the community. The award will be presented at a ceremony in New Jersey in October. “I’m so honored by this,” Dr. Simões says. “It’s a very meaningful award, and prestigious in Portugal as well as here.”
Bilingual education began as a result of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act that provided equal access to education; in 1974, the field exploded when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling mandated students not fluent in English must receive language support in their schools. “Prior to that, these students were put in English-speaking classrooms, where it was sink or swim,” Dr. Simões explains. Through his research, numerous publications, and presentations, he has done much to influence the field.
“I have traveled with António to numerous national and international conferences related to bilingual and multilingual communication, and can attest to the respect he has among colleagues throughout the world,” says Dr. David Zera, associate professor of psychology and special education. Dr. Simões and Dr. Zera have worked together for years supporting the educational opportunities of Portuguese Americans. “Dr.Simões has an extensive background both in teaching and in administration, has been interested in the intersection of bilingual and special education and has been influential in procuring federal funding to support these programs here at Fairfield.”
Appointed dean of Fairfield’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions in 1991, Dr. Simões had already made a name for himself at New York University, where he was past acting chair in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and director and professor of bilingual education. As a Fulbright Scholar and just before coming to Fairfield, he taught and conducted research at the University of Lisbon, Portugal.
“Fairfield has one of the oldest bilingual ed programs in the state,” Dr. Simões says proudly of the program which includes TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).In addition to the PALCUS award, Dr. Simóes was presented with a Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award from the State Senate of Massachusetts.
“Antonio is considered one of the top bilingual educators in the country,” Dr. Anne Campbell, associate professor of TESOL and bilingual education, says. “He is a foundational leader in the field of bilingual ed and has written seminal articles, some of which I studied when I was a student.”
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