The Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) proudly announces Dr. April Baker-Bell, Associate Professor of Language, Culture, and Justice in Education at the Marsal Family School of Education, University of Michigan, as the distinguished recipient of the Charles Carpenter Fries Award.
Dr. April Baker-Bell is a renowned transdisciplinary teacher-researcher-activist, serving as an Associate Professor of Language, Culture, and Justice in Education at the University of Michigan’s Marsal Family School of Education. She is also a faculty member in Educational Studies and the Joint Program in English and Education (JPEE).
As an internationally recognized leader in the discourse on Black Language education, Dr. Baker-Bell’s research delves into the intersections of Black Language and literacies, anti-Black racism, and antiracist pedagogies. Her groundbreaking work, including the award-winning book Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy, amalgamates theory, research, and practice to dismantle Anti-Black Linguistic Racism—a term she coined—and challenge white linguistic supremacy. Her book offers ethnographic insights into how Black students navigate and negotiate their linguistic and racial identities across various contexts, exemplifying Antiracist Black Language Pedagogy in collaboration with Black youth.
Dr. Baker-Bell’s dedication to MCTE is evident through her service as the vice president and president-elect from 2019-2021. She played a pivotal role in MCTE’s discussions on antiracist pedagogy and the organization’s commitment to utilizing literacy as a tool to dismantle systemic racism and address racial disparities in our communities and classrooms. Her leadership has left an enduring mark on MCTE’s mission and vision.
Upon learning of her selection for the Fries Award, Baker-Bell reaffirmed her unwavering commitment, service, and leadership within the English Education community, both nationally and in Michigan.
The Charles Carpenter Fries Award, the longest-standing award conferred by MCTE since 1967, honors outstanding English educators who exemplify dedication to the profession and exhibit a distinguished career in advancing the teaching of English. Recipients of this award showcase a history of service to English education and hold roles of distinguished leadership at local, state, national, and even international levels. They are often recognized for their originality and academic excellence, serving as a source of inspiration to students and colleagues alike.
Dr. April Baker-Bell will serve as the Fries honoree for the current school year and will be celebrated at the spring conference of the Michigan Council of Teachers of English in March 2024.
Established in 1922, the Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) serves as the state affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English, uniting K-16 English language arts educators. MCTE is dedicated to offering professional development opportunities to English language arts teachers and English education professors throughout Michigan. The organization’s objectives include the dissemination of current English education scholarship and providing valuable support to English language arts teachers as they navigate pedagogical practices, student needs, and teaching philosophies. To learn more about MCTE, visit their website at https://mymcte.org.