For Immediate Release:
June 30, 2021
Nicole Meyer 206-549-4873
Yonkers, N.Y. – Following a school year like no other, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—has named Lincoln High School educator Aferdita Silverman the runner-up in its 2021 Teacher of the Year competition, in recognition of her efforts to highlight animals’ experiences in her global history class.
Silverman puts compassion for animals at the center of her classroom, including by asking students to consider the impact that historical events—such as the Crusades, industrialization, and atomic bombings—may have had on animals and by examining new animal-friendly technology that could reduce carbon emissions. She also encourages students to explore the intersection between animal rights and human rights, as in the case of deforestation in the Amazon, which threatens both animal life and indigenous humans.
She was nominated for the contest by her daughters, Kara and Jessica, who’s a member of the Bergen County (New Jersey) Students Opposing Speciesism (SOS) hub—a youth-led revolt against animal exploitation that Silverman helps support.
Silverman is also the faculty sponsor for her school’s arts and crafts club, and she teaches students how to make their favorite foods vegan.
“As students re-enter the classroom and enjoy interacting again with their peers, Aferdita Silverman helps them empathize with the animals throughout history who never got the chance to have a full life,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “TeachKind is honoring her for putting animals on the curriculum and inspiring young people to consider other perspectives.”
Silverman will receive a cruelty-free gift basket designed especially for teachers and a framed certificate.
TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group offers presentations, lessons, and other free resources for teachers. For more information, please visit TeachKind.org or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.