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MEDIA CONTACT: Christine Dardet

FAU’s Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education Selects ‘Holocaust Teacher of the Year’ Awardees

BOCA RATON, FL (January 20, 2012) – Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education has selected four South Florida teachers to receive the Gutterman Family Outstanding Holocaust Educator Award.  The awardees will be announced at the Center’s third annual Teacher Appreciation Dinner on Wednesday, January 25, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lakeside Terrace and Banquet Center, 7880 Glades Road, Boca Raton.

“As women and men committed to engaging students with the history of the Holocaust and the contemporary struggle for justice, this year’s award recipients are truly extraordinary,” said Rosanna Gatens, Ph.D., director of the Center.  “Their lessons reflect a broad range of cognitive and service learning activities as well as the global reach of Holocaust study as it is implemented here in South Florida.  Their knowledge, skill and creativity as teachers are clearly evident in their Holocaust instruction.”

Each year, the Center recognizes an elementary, a middle school, and a high school teacher in Broward and Palm Beach counties who have demonstrated positive impact on their schools and the wider community in the field of Holocaust, genocide and human rights education.  The Gutterman Family Outstanding Holocaust Educator Award enables recipients to participate in a three-week, all-expenses-paid study tour to Holocaust-related sites in Poland, Germany and Israel, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.  The award is funded by Arthur Gutterman, an FAU benefactor whose generous contributions help sustain the Center and its programs.  The Center relies on private donations to provide professional development programs for teachers, and classroom resources for teachers and students, to support Florida’s mandate for Holocaust education.

The 2012 awardees are:

  • Toshimi Abe-Janiga, a teacher of language arts to sixth through 12 graders at Riviera Beach Preparatory and Achievement Academy, a public alternative high school in Palm Beach County. Abe-Janiga became inspired to teach more than just the historical facts of the Holocaust after visiting the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.  She organized a school-wide Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration event, including a visit with a Holocaust survivor.  As a result of Abe-Janiga’s focus and her colleagues’ efforts to implement a cross-curricular approach, students are now able to take Holocaust studies as an elective.
  • Rosemelda Ibalarrosa, a middle school teacher and U.S. history coordinator at Omni Middle School in Boca Raton.  Ibalarrosa initiated and organized a forum for students to listen to and learn from stories of Holocaust survival as presented by survivors themselves.  She collaborated with the school’s art teacher to teach students about peace and tolerance and guided students to create a peace quilt.  Ibalarrosa organized and sponsored the Students for a Better World Club to raise awareness of the human rights violations happening all over the work due to poverty, cultural and political differences.
  • Lila Kimbar, a fifth grade teacher at Somerset Academy Elementary, a Pembroke Pines charter school. After taking several courses, looking at her own family history, and speaking to colleagues and students, Kimbar decided to expand her Holocaust teachings beyond the mandated curriculum.  She teaches elementary students the importance of tolerance and human rights by presenting lessons on diversity, prejudice and hatred using a variety of books, community service, posters, photographs, videos and Holocaust survivor guest speakers. 
  • Bruce Klansner, an instructor in the department of social studies at Everglades High School in Miramar.  Klansner, the son of a Holocaust survivor, teaches an elective “History of the Holocaust” class and is the founder and advisor of Students for Tolerance and Acceptance through Knowledge and Education (S.T.A.K.E.), which created a Tolerance Museum at Everglades High School and workshops and programs on anti-bullying.

FAU’s Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education was established in 1996 by the Florida Department of Education to support teachers implementing the state’s mandate for Holocaust education.  Through its training, programs and resources, the Center seeks to educate students about the Holocaust in order to nurture citizens who recognize prejudice and hatred, including anti-Semitism and racism; understand that such beliefs can lead to genocide; know how to intervene again prejudice and hatred; be prepared to act on behalf of others, even those who may not know; and understand citizens’ responsibility for upholding democracy in a pluralistic society.


About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit

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