Announces Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Maine Educator, Joseph Gauld, to receive
2016 Sanford N. McDonnell Award for Lifetime Achievement in
Character Education

August 17, 2016, Washington, DC – has chosen Joseph Gauld to receive the 2016 Sanford N. McDonnell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Character Education.

Decades before there was a national character development movement, Gauld was formulating a vision that put character first in the life of a school. One of his nominators, Matt Davidson, said, “In 1966, Joe saw a need – too many students were falling through the cracks, some were excelling academically but lacking integrity, others were star athletes but inconsiderate and off-track, and others were on the sidelines of life, feeling afraid and under-qualified to fully engage. Joe left his job as a prep school educator to start Hyde School in Bath, Maine.”

This year, Hyde celebrates its 50th year, and there are Hyde high schools in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, and New York City serving students of every race and class.

Dr. Tom Lickona, Professor of Education at State University of New York at Cortland, nominated Gauld. He said, “No one who has ever received ‘The Sandy Award’ is more deserving of recognition for lifetime achievement in character education than Joe Gauld. In a year, Joe will be 90. For 65 of those years, he has been an educator.”

Another nominator Joanne Goubourn, Executive Director, Hyde Foundation and former principal of Hyde Leadership Public Charter School in Washington, DC, had firsthand experience with Gauld’s approach.

She wrote: “I was fortunate to benefit personally from Joe’s work; I received a full scholarship to attend Hyde School in 1971. I was a 13-year-old African American girl with great potential but little confidence or self-esteem. When I entered high school, I was an “A” student, but I struggled to read and was not academically prepared. However, after my four years at Hyde, I went to Wellesley College with a strong sense of self and a drive to ‘live my life by standards of personal excellence’.”

Ed Bradley’s 1989 “60 Minutes” segment on how the Hyde approach has changed lives and restored hope to teens and their families where drugs, depression, and conflicted home lives had kept kids and parents from realizing their potential.

In addition to having established an entire approach based on a “character first” philosophy in his school, Gauld also pioneered the inclusion of parents in the character development process through regular family weekends/sessions that focused on core values and character development.

Linda McKay, Board Chair said, “Joe’s passion and perseverance for character development being integral to creating successful schools for students and staff gave a foundation for all to follow.”

Nominators Julea Douglass, associate director of School-Connect, and Matt Davidson, President of the Institute for Excellence & Ethics, wrote: “We have both seen Joe in action. He always seemed the last to leave the cafeteria because he was in deep conversation with a student. Words fail to express fully how deeply we have been moved by observing Joe’s commitment to mentoring students, parents, and staff, which demonstrated to us Joe’s character and his passion for the power of character to help those in need.”

Gauld has written four books—Character First: The Hyde School Difference (1993); Hyde: Preparation for Life (2003); Nature’s Parenting Process: 5 Simple Truths to Empower Our Children (2010); What Kids Want—and Need—from Parents: How to Bond With and Mentor Children (2012)—and is now working on a fifth. He regularly writes blogs on education and parenting for the Huffington Post. His columns have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and Independent School magazine. His work has been featured on “The Donahue Show,” NBC’s “The Today Show,” ABC’s “20/20,” and CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Becky Sipos, President & CEO of said, “We congratulate Joseph Gauld for his lifetime of work enriching thousands of student’s lives through character development and simply by being a great role model for our youth. Our entire organization applauds him and it is our honor to present this award to him this fall.”

Gauld will receive his award at the 2016 National Forum on Character Education before an audience that will include educators and community leaders from 45 states and 20 countries. The 2016 National Forum will take place in Washington, DC, this October. The award ceremony is sponsored by Learning for Life.

About the Sandy Award: This annual lifetime achievement award is named in honor of Sanford N. McDonnell, Chairman Emeritus of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, and Founding Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of, formerly called the Character Education Partnership. It is the nonprofit’s highest honor and the award goes to one individual each year who, over a significant period of time, has been an outstanding role model of good character and has also met one or more of the following criteria:
1. Strong and widely influential advocacy of quality character education.
2. Outstanding contributions that have broad impact on any or all of the domains in which character development takes place (school, family, community and sports)
3. Being a friend and supporter of character education by mentoring character education leaders or supporting the field philanthropically.

About is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition of organizations and individuals based in Washington, DC. It is led by business and educational leaders who are dedicated to the advancement of quality character development in all schools as a key component of positive school transformation, improved academic achievement, responsible citizenship and the pursuit of one’s best work in school and life.

About Learning for Life: Learning for Life programs help youth develop social and life skills, assist in character development, and help youth formulate positive personal values. It prepares youth to make ethical decisions that will help them achieve their full potential. There are two program methods. They have six school based programs and one worksite based program.