2017 GLSEN Respect Awards Honorees

2017 GLSEN Respect Awards Honorees

Ann Clark, Ryan Pedlow, Roland Park Elementary/Middle School & First Data To Be Honored at 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards 

Dr. Jill Biden to Make Opening Remarks -  Gala to Take Place on Monday, May 15th in New York City 

Media Contact: 

Shawn Purdy / Lindsey Brown (212) 235-6813 / (212) 235-6814 shawn@slate-pr.com / lindsey@slate-pr.com 

NEW YORK (May 09, 2017) – GLSEN, the leading education organization focused on ensuring safe and inclusive schools for all students, today announced that it will honor Ann Clark, Ryan Pedlow, Roland Park Elementary/Middle School and First Data at the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards – New York. The gala will take place on Monday, May 15, at Cipriani 42nd Street.  Dr. Jill Biden will deliver the evening’s opening remarks. Ryan Pedlow, Founder of Two Creeks Capital, will receive the Visionary Award; Ann Clark, Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, will receive GLSEN’s Educator of the Year Award; Roland Park Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore, Maryland will receive GSA of the Year; and First Data will receive the Corporate Ally Award.

The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, individuals and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of LGBTQ youth.

“Now more than ever it is crucial to support those pushing to create safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ youth. I am proud to advocate for LGBTQ students’ lives by recognizing this year’s honorees, each of whom is playing an important role in fighting for justice by ensuring that LGBTQ youth have equal opportunities and the support to reach their full academic potential,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director.

GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since 1990. Through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, student leadership and educator training, community organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work with the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like GLSEN’s Day of Silence and GLSEN’s Ally Week.

Ann Clark, Educator of the Year

Ann Clark is being honored for her commitment to ensuring all students can attend classrooms where they are safe, affirmed, and see themselves included in the curriculum. 

A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Ann Clark’s career in education began as a teacher in Virginia. She first received her B.A. in English from Davidson College. She then went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Virginia, and also holds a certification in educational leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

A champion for public education, Ann has spent more than thirty years working across elementary, middle and high schools. After spending five years working in the classroom at North Landing Elementary in Virginia Beach, she transitioned into an extensive range of administrative roles. From working as Assistant Principal at Montclair Elementary in 1987 to her current role as Superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district, Ann has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to build classrooms where all students can thrive. Most recently, as part of the district’s anti-bullying policy, Ann provided training for principals around protections for transgender students for the entire district. 

In addition to her direct experience as an educator, Ann serves on the board for Communities In Schools, READ Charlotte, Project L.I.F.T., and A Child’s Place.

Ryan Pedlow, Visionary Award

Ryan Pedlow is being honored for his longstanding dedication to GLSEN, and tireless commitment to all the LGTBQ youth that we serve.

Ryan’s leadership within GLSEN began in 2007 when he joined the National Board of Directors and would continue to serve through 2016, including roles such as Chairman of the Board and Treasurer. As both Board Member and Chair, he helped guide the organization and establish GLSEN as the national and global movement leader it is today.

As Co-Chair of the New York Respect Awards from 2008 through 2016, Ryan played a critical role in raising GLSEN’s profile and revenue – growing the annual event and introducing valuable friends to GLSEN’s network. With his support and guidance, the event has broken revenue and attendance records, outgrown past venues, and deepened GLSEN’s engagement with our supporters. As a passionate philanthropist for the LGBTQ community, Ryan’s efforts have helped elevate GLSEN’s work and have transformed the lives of millions of LGBTQ youth.

Ryan’s professionalism and advocacy laid the foundation for much of GLSEN’s success, both inside and outside of its walls. He currently resides as Founder of Two Creeks Capital, a global equities investment firm based in New York.  Prior to founding Two Creeks, he was a Portfolio Manager at ZBI Equities and a Principal of Ziff Brothers Investments, where he spent thirteen years investing in global markets. Ryan began his career as an Analyst in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs & Company.

A visible member of the LGBTQ community, Ryan is an engaged leader who continuously works to spread the shared vision of equality for LGTBQ people everywhere.

Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, GSA of the Year

The Roland Park Elementary/Middle School GSA is a diverse student-run club from Baltimore, Maryland. The GSA was built to ensure that every student of Roland Park has the best school experience possible, with a mission of providing a safe and inclusive space for all genders and sexual orientations.

GSA members have led advocacy efforts both within their school’s walls and in their community. They have created positive environments in their classrooms by confronting hostility and prejudice against the LGBTQ community. Together they created a project called “Dear Mx” in order to educate their school on LGTBQ issues, offering a way for their peers to anonymously ask questions. Their work has also led to a “GSA Edition” in their weekly aired Student News, giving a platform and a voice to LGTBQ people and history, and raising awareness around multiple issues.

In their community, the Roland Park GSA has worked actively with the GLSEN Baltimore Chapter as well as partner organization PFLAG. Serving as a model for other GSAs across the country, their group testified at a school board meeting to advocate for clearer district policy and guidance around LGBTQ issues.

From pushing for all gender bathrooms to working towards intersectionality alongside other student groups such as The Diversity Club, the Roland Park Elementary/Middle School GSA continuously demonstrates how important our shared vision of inclusivity is.

First Data, Corporate Ally Award

First Data is being honored for its business leadership and commitment to being an ally to GLSEN and LGBTQ youth everywhere.

For years, First Data’s investment in GLSEN has had a tremendous impact on our work. From expanding our networks to elevating GLSEN’s profile and increasing revenue towards our annual Respect Awards – this invaluable partnership has helped us promote all aspects of our work. Our shared values of celebrating diversity and promoting equality for all have been a driving force in expanding our programming and allow us to continue working together in creating school environments where all youth can thrive and be respected for who they are.

First Data’s visible commitment to LGBTQ youth has made them a role model and leader in their field. Most recently they announced a gender-neutral paid parental leave policy so that all First Data families will be able to benefit from paid leave when welcoming a new child. They continue to demonstrate and signal their core values of respect, unity and inclusion – and have been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index as a “Best Place to Work”, earning 100 percent on the LGBT Workplace Equality Scorecard for three straight years. First Data has also been listed on DiversityInc’s 25 Noteworthy Companies for 2015-17.

First Data’s partnership with GLSEN will allow us to keep moving the needle of progress forward, and change the lives of millions of LGBTQ youth across the country.

Previous GLSEN Respect Awards honorees have included: Ilene Chaiken; George Stephanopoulos and Alexandra Wentworth; Blue 449, accepted by Dave Ehlers; Matthew Morrison; Jon Stryker; Janet Mock, LZ Granderson, USA Characters Unite campaign Michel Mercure and David Dechman, Chely Wright, and Cyndi Lauper.

The event is co-chaired by Cindy Armine-Klein, Chely Blitzer-Wright, Barbara Frankel, Michel Mercure, and Elizabeth Stribling-Kivlan. The 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards – New York are presented by Hollister Co. and sponsored by Wells Fargo, First Data, AT&T, Delta, Sonnet & Ian McKinnon; Michel Mercure & David Dechman; Ryan Pedlow & Cameron Kessel; & Target.

For more information about the GLSEN Respect Awards – New York, please visit glsen.org/respectawards


GLSEN is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for all students. GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org.