Sarah Nichols, MJE, of Rocklin, California, will be honored as the Journalism Education Association’s Carl Towley Award recipient Nov. 14 at the JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention in Orlando, Florida.
The Towley Award is JEA’s highest honor and is presented to a member whose work is unusually beneficial and of superior value to the national JEA and to scholastic journalism. Only one award is presented each year.
Nichols teaches journalism, photojournalism, mass media and publications at Whitney High School in Rocklin where she is the Communication Studies department chair. She advises Details yearbook, The Roar newsmagazine and Whitney Update news website.
“In my eyes, Sarah Nichols is a journalism-education super hero,” wrote nominator Valerie Kibler, CJE, of Harrisonburg (Virginia) High School. “In fact, I’m fairly convinced she’s the only human being I know who seems to never sleep. I’ve never known another soul who gives so much of herself to others, especially in the field of journalism education.”
Nichols serves as vice president of the Journalism Education Association and is a past president of the JEA of Northern California as well as a member of its board of directors. She is certified as a Master Journalism Educator and serves on JEA’s Scholastic Press Rights and Digital Media committees. She is a former member of JEA’s Certification Committee.
In her current role, she co-chaired the development of an online journalism curriculum available to JEA members. The project involves constant revision. She also manages JEA’s social media.
“I have been advising a long time — over 30 years (give or take!),” wrote JEA President Mark Newton, MJE, of Mountain Vista High School, Highlands Ranch, Colorado. “I know a lot of people in scholastic journalism and all have challenged me to improve. A few have challenged me to deliver excellence in all of my roles. Sarah Nichols is one of those advisers.”
Nichols was recognized in 2011 as the Cal-JEC High School Journalism Teacher of the Year for California. She was named the 2010 National Yearbook Adviser of the Year and received a Medal of Merit from JEA. She also received a 2008 Pioneer Award from the National Scholastic Press Association and a 2015 Gold Key from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.
“The best thing about Sarah? She does so many things for scholastic media at the state and national levels, yet if she says she will do something, you can trust she will,” wrote JEA Past President Candace Perkins Bowen, MJE, and Student Press Rights Committee chair John Bowen, MJE, both from Kent (Ohio) State University. “Not only that, you can trust it will be innovative, creative and thorough, and she will have teachers and students first in her mind.”
The Journalism Education Association is headquartered at Kansas State University. The organization supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities and by promoting professionalism in student media education and advising.