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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 21, 2023) — Character.org has selected Phil Brown, Ph.D., to receive the 2023 Sanford N. McDonnell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Character Education. The “Sandy Award” is named in honor of Sandy McDonnell, one of the driving forces behind the current character education movement in the United States.

Dr. Brown has been a leader in character development since 1989. In managing student support services for the New Jersey Department of Education, he designed and implemented a support structure that provided character education funding and standards for every school district in the state. Winning federal research funds enabled him to launch the New Jersey Center for Character Education, in collaboration with the graduate school of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. To formalize the growing network of educators devoted to this work, in 2008, Dr. Brown co-founded the New Jersey Alliance for Social, Emotional, and Character Development (NJASECD), which has long served as the state-wide network for the New Jersey Schools of Character program.

Phil Brown, Ph.D.

Phil Brown, Ph.D.

2023 "Sandy Award" recipient

“We are honored to recognize Phil as our 2023 Sandy Award recipient,” says Dr. Arthur Schwartz, president of Character.org. “Millions of students in New Jersey and beyond have been positively impacted by his visionary and bold leadership of the NJASECD, a volunteer-driven organization that works tirelessly to inspire NJ educators to model and teach the social-emotional skills and core ethical values that lead to good character.” 

Dr. Brown was nominated for the “Sandy Award” by Dr. David Wangaard, executive director of The School for Ethical Education. In his nomination, Dr. Wangaard wrote that “Phil’s accomplishments are a testament to his own character, especially his perseverance over 45 years of professional work. His ability to collaborate with so many people and organizations testifies to his respect for others and his cooperative spirit.”

Earlier in his career, Dr. Brown served in the Peace Corps in India and provided cross-cultural training for new volunteers. In the 1970s and 80s, Dr. Brown designed and managed school-based substance abuse prevention services at the program, county, and state levels in Pennsylvania and served as president of his local school board.  Since 2011 he has served as the Senior Consultant to the National School Climate Center.  He is the author of many publications, including co-editor of the groundbreaking  Handbook of Prosocial Education (2012), which pulled together the many threads supporting social and character development into one coherent tapestry. Dr. Brown previously received Lifetime Achievement Awards from Community of Caring, Overcoming Obstacles, and the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network. 

Dr. Brown will receive his “Sandy Award” statue at Character.org’s International Annual Forum, which will take place in Washington D.C., on November 6 and 7. Please visit www.character.org/forum-2023 to learn more.

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 Character.org. It is the nonprofit’s highest honor, and the award goes to one individual each year who, over a significant period of time has:

*Influenced policy, research, and/or practice
*Been a change agent or creator of innovations
*Widely disseminated a character development program as a catalytic leader

ABOUT CHARACTER.ORG: Character.org is a worldwide network that empowers people of all ages to practice and model the ethical core values that shape our hearts, minds and choices.  Formerly known as the Character Education Partnership, the organization has relentlessly advocated for character since 1993. Today, Character.org creates and shares resources that support people around the globe, including the 11 Principles Framework for Schools: A Guide to Cultivating a Culture of Character. The organization’s vision is to be the global leader and voice for developing character in families, schools, and organizations.

For more information, contact John Kabashinski, john@character.org or visit Character.org and follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn


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