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Janet Sammons and Allies 4 Equality GSA to be Honored...


Andy Marra

Public Relations Manager



May 16, 2012

More than 500 Supporters to Attend Ninth Annual GLSEN Respect Awards Presented by KPMG

A limited number of credentials will be available for press to attend. Please contact PR Manager Andy Marra at or 646-388-6575 to request credentials. Event stills and video will be made available to media upon request.


NEW YORK - May 16, 2012 - The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), will honor the National Basketball Association, America's Promise Alliance President & CEO Marguerite Kondracke, Educator of the Year Janet Sammons and Gay-Straight Alliance of the Year "Allies 4 Equality" at its ninth annual Respect Awards - New York on Monday, May 21 at Gotham Hall.

The Respect Awards, held annually in New York and Los Angeles, showcase the work of corporations, individuals, students and educators who have made outstanding contributions as leaders in our safe schools movement, and who serve as exemplary role models to our nation's youth.

"This year's Respect Awards honorees continue the legacy of recognizing people and groups working towards the unequivocal right for every student to be afforded a first-class education in a school environment that fosters respect for all," said GLSEN Executive Director Dr. Eliza Byard. "We are incredibly proud to pay tribute to the National Basketball Association, Marguerite Kondracke, Janet Sammons and Allies 4 Equality for their unwavering commitment to improve America's schools for LGBT students and their allies."

In advance of this year's Respect Awards, New York Senator Gillibrand taped a special video message about the critical need to create safe schools for all students and thanking GLSEN for its groundbreaking work.

GLSEN will be sharing additional Respect Awards updates online including special video content and photos on May 21, 2012. Follow @glsen on Twitter and use the hashtag #RespectNY.

The Respect Awards - New York is co-chaired by Wilson Cruz (actor and activist) and Barbara Frankel (DiversityInc Executive Editor and Senior Vice President).

Special guests of the GLSEN Respect Awards include John Amaechi (retired NBA player, psychologist and author); Kevin Bacon (8, Crazy, Stupid, Love); Kathy Behrens (NBA Executive Vice President, Social Responsibility & Player Programs); Amy Cappellazzo (Christie's International Deputy Chairman); Jonathan Del Arco (Major Crimes, The Closer); Peter Dewitt (elementary school principal and Education Week blogger); Ariel Foxman (InStyle Editor); Cynthia Germanotta (Born This Way Foundation President & Co-founder); Kelby Johnson, Bob Johnson (Bully); George Kolasa (Burberry Vice President of Marketing & Communications); Janet Mock ( Editor); Steve Novak (New York Knicks); Chris Salgardo (President of Kiehl's); Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer, Man on a Ledge); Chip Sullivan (DreamWorks Studios Head of Publicity, GLSEN National Board Member); Sirdeaner Walker (safe schools advocate and GLSEN National Board Member) and; Sue Wicks (retired WNBA player).

Past GLSEN Respect Awards honorees to attend the event include Rich Espey (2011); Mary Jane Karger (2009); Emmett Patterson (2011); Talia Stein (2005) and; Andy Tobias (2004).

GLSEN Student Ambassadors to deliver remarks and co-present awards include Tempest Cartwright (OK); Lily Gellman (NY); Joey Kemmerling (PA); Rohan Makle (MD); Jesse Tauber (NY) and; Loan Tran (NC).

GLSEN will present four awards on-stage:

Lifetime Achievement Award 

Marguerite Kondracke

Marguerite W. Kondracke has served as President and CEO of America's Promise Alliance since 2004. America's Promise Alliance was founded in 1997 by General Colin L. Powell to make children and youth a national priority. During her 40-year career, Mrs. Kondracke has been both an entrepreneur and a public servant, focusing on the needs of children and families. Prior to joining the Alliance, she served as Special Assistant to U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander as well as Staff Director for the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families. She also served in the cabinet of then Tennessee Governor Alexander as Commissioner of the Department of Human Services. Previously, Mrs. Kondracke was co-founder and CEO of Bright Horizons Family Solutions. She is also a member of the board of directors of Saks Fifth Avenue (NYSE:SKS) and LifePoint Hospitals (NASDAQ: LPNT). Mrs. Kondracke has received numerous awards and honors; including being named a Purpose Prize Fellow, awarded by Civic Ventures to those over 60 taking on society's biggest challenges. Recently, Mrs. Kondracke was named by The Non-Profit Times as one of the "Top 50 People of Power and Influence."


Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion Award

National Basketball Association

The NBA is a global sports and media business that features three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women's National Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League. Games and programming reach 215 countries and territories in 47 languages. NBA merchandise is sold in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents. The NBA is receiving the Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion Award in honor of its successful partnership with GLSEN and the Ad Council on the award-winning ThinkB4YouSpeak public service campaign. To date the broadcast messages featuring NBA players Grant Hill and Jared Dudley have generated almost $7 million dollars in donated media to deliver this important message meant to curtail the use of anti-gay language among teens. In addition to ThinkB4YouSpeak, the NBA and WNBA and many of its players have supported Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project's mission to assist K-12 schools in creating and maintaining an athletic and physical education climate that is based on the core principals of respect, safety and equal access for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.


Educator of the Year Award Presented by Sodexo

Janet Sammons, Cherry Creek High School

A teacher for 42 years at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, Colo., Janet Sammons has done everything in her power to transform her school and the state of Colorado when it comes to acceptance of LGBT students and issues. In 1990, she started a student diversity club; since 1993, she has run a statewide diversity conference for over 80 schools and is also a powerful champion of LGBT staff. Her personal support for LGBT students is obvious; she even took in a gay senior who was not welcomed at home. Janet%92s classes, bulletin boards, club programs, teacher conferences, conference website and personal interventions have made her famous as a champion of all LGBT people.


Gay-Straight Alliance of the Year Award Presented by Cynthia Germanotta

Allies 4 Equality, James Hubert Blake High School

The Gay-Straight Alliance at James Hubert Blake High School, called Allies 4 Equality, is one of the largest in the country, with over 40 members. Allies 4 Equality created a paper doll named "Allie the Ally" designed to be printed out so that members and supporters of the LGBTQ community could take a picture with her and submit a message. Participants could comment on why LGBTQ rights and awareness are important to them, or share a message with youth that may be struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity. Allie has been photographed with Ted Danson and the cast of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the governor of Maryland, various delegates at the Civil Marriage Protection Act 2012 signing ceremony, and Sergeant Eric Fidelis (part of the DADT repeal), among others. In addition to this work that extends far beyond their own school community, Allies 4 Equality have also been active within their school, sponsoring a combined No Name-Calling Week and Day of Silence every year, and creating PSAs for it in their TV production classes.

The ninth annual GLSEN Respect Awards - New York are presented by GLSEN national corporate partner KPMG. Leading support for GLSEN's work in creating safer schools for LGBT students and their allies is provided by Cisco, Facebook, Pepsi Refresh and Wells Fargo. Major support is provided to GLSEN by AT&T, Citi, Credo Mobile, DiversityInc. and IBM. Additional support provided by Centropolis, Disney-ABC Television Group, Goldman Sachs, HBO, Kodak, Mattel, NBA, Target and more than 20 other corporations invested in the advancement of GLSEN's mission in our nation's schools.



GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, 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