MY HERO's Educator-Heroes

by Deborah Neff from United States

147007Teacher Humaira Asif and studentsHumaira Asif, Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan Secondary School in Karachi, with permission


In 2022, these stellar educators stand out in the MY HERO landscape: nine teachers, school leaders, researchers, policy makers, and activists who are working tirelessly to educate our children to help ensure a kinder, more just, and sane world.

Teachers from around the globe have been partnering with MY HERO to bring our extensive Multimedia Library, curricula, and learning opportunities into their classrooms and their students’ media—stories, art, and films—to their communities and the world. 

Each year more than 400 classroom teachers receive mentorship and training from MY HERO staff educators. 

We begin our list with Humaira Asif, a teacher in Pakistan, who won MY HERO’s most recent Outstanding Educator Award.


146874Humaira AsifHumaira Asif, with permission


Humaira Asif, Pakistan 

Humaira Asif, an Urdu and History teacher, was awarded the MY HERO Outstanding Educator Award in 2021 for her service promoting global learning and understanding in her classes in Karachi. 

Since 2020, over eighty of Humaira’s Middle School students have participated in MY HERO’s Coronavirus Art Contests. There were so many winners from Humaira’s classes that we have featured the students’ artwork here on the MY HERO website.

Dedicated to the creation of global citizens, her teaching philosophy is that “…teachers have the responsibility to make our students good human beings.” 


146876Chibeze Ezekiel wins Goldman Environmental PrizeGoldman Environmental Prize, with permission

Chibeze Ezekiel : Award Winning Climate Activist, Ghana

Our newest MY HERO educational partner, Chibeze Ezekiel of Ghana was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa in 2020 for his efforts to build a youth movement and mobilize community members to stop the construction of a 700 MW coal-fired plant. Chibeze and his team achieved nothing less than stopping China from making Ghana a coal client state and forcing the Ghanaian government to honor its climate conference commitment to embrace sustainable energy production.

Chibeze is the Director of Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND), which works to increase the impact of young people working for environmental and social change in Ghana. His organization, Children for Climate Change (for younger students), is working with MY HERO’s Laura Nietzer to create lesson plans and use MY HERO resources to publish stories, art, and film about protecting the environment.


146877Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Blythe LappéSmall Planet Institute, with permission


Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Blythe Lappé 

Frances Moore Lappé and her daughter Anna Blythe Lappé won the MY HERO 2021 Global Educator Award for their work to create meaningful change in the world through education. Frances and Anna founded the Small Planet Institute, an international network for research and education about the root causes of hunger and poverty. Frances is the author of the award-winning book, Diet for a Small Planet

Anna Lappé is an award-winning author, speaker, and activist who writes about how industrial agricultural practices contribute to global climate change. Her organization, Real Food Media, brings together food and farm organizations to educate and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming. The organization has created a short films competition with pop-up festivals around the world. 



Yasmine SheriffYasmine Sheriff: Director - Education Cannot Wait

Yasmine Sherif

MY HERO Project honored Yasmine Sherif and her dedicated team at Education Cannot Wait, with the 2020 Global Educator Award. Yasmine puts Nelson Mandela’s words into action: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Yasmine is a champion for human rights around the world: aiding displaced refugees and fighting for the rights of children, particularly in war-torn areas and conflict zones. She is passionate about education as a gateway to equipping boys and girls with a knowledge base that will serve them and their communities as they become adults. 

Yasmine told MY HERO, “It’s [education is] the key. As you turn that key, a whole sea of human rights will open for you… Education is about shaping the minds and the hearts of a human being, giving them the tools to live a full life and tell their story. Every human being has to tell their story to live a full life.” 

146880Peter CopenPeter Copen, with permission


Peter Copen

Peter Copen is the founder of iEARN (International Education and Resource Network), which partners with MY HERO Learning Circles where students get a chance to meet and learn with—and about—students from all over the world.

Peter won the MY HERO Global Educator Award in 2013.

IEARN, the International Education and Resource Network, is a global network of thousands of schools that exchange ideas and share learning experiences – collaboratively – in the classroom. 

Peter founded IEARN to counteract the escalating tensions of the arms buildup between the U.S. And Russia in 1988: “The first thing we did was to link 12 schools in Moscow with 12 schools in New York State... It was risky and difficult,” he said. “The effect on me was enormous. I was moved by the teachers and students who felt the same need as I did to create human connections between our two countries -- connections across political and cultural boundaries -- to prevent war.” The connections ran deep, transcending the normal classroom interaction and entering an arena of self-discovery that perhaps even Peter hadn’t even expected and continue today in 140 countries today.


146881Esther WojcickiEsther Wojcicki with permission


Esther Wojcicki

Esther Wojcicki is an educator, author, and journalist committed to transforming education throughout the world.

Esther was the recipient of the 2015 MY HERO Global Educator Award and is a MY HERO International Film Festival sponsor, where she presents the WOJ Youth Reporter Awards for inspiring short films on the theme of heroism.

Esther is the founder of Tract, the world’s first peer-to-peer, project-based learning platform that provides kids in grades 3-12 with the information and resources needed to build the skills necessary for adulthood — like creativity, critical thinking, and independence. 


146882Mohamed SidibayMohamed Sidibay, with permission


Mohamed Sidibay

Finally, MY HERO wants to thank Mohamed Sidibay for his ongoing work as a Global Ambassador for The MY HERO Project and for serving on our Governing Board. Mohamed has been associated with MY HERO since 2006 when he was a young intern with us and appears often at Eva Haller salons and other MY HERO events to speak about his transition from child soldier to educator. 

Mohamed is an internationally recognized voice for children in armed conflict. He has been featured in Reuters, Forbes, Le Monde, BBC, France 24, and Project Syndicate, among others, and was most recently featured on the cover of Fordham Lawyer magazine. Mohamed holds a Master's in Law from Pantheon de Assas Paris II and a Juris Doctor (JD) from Fordham University School of Law. He is a member of The High Level Reflection Group on Strategic Transformation that advises the Director-General of UNESCO. 

Finally, our own stellar educator, Laura Nietzer ~


147015Laura Nietzer, MY HERO Educational Outreach CoordinatorMY HERO Project


Laura Nietzer, MY HERO Education Outreach Director

During her tenure as a teacher in New Jersey, Laura would integrate MY HERO Project learning resources into her class curriculum. 

So it’s little surprise that after 29 years teaching Elementary and Middle School, Laura joined the MY HERO Project as our Education Outreach Director. 

Laura has spoken at numerous global education conferences on the topic of global project-based learning using the MY HERO Project resources, including iEARN conferences in Taiwan, Morocco, Brazil, and Virginia, as well as numerous ISTE and other conferences.

As MY HERO’s Education Outreach Director, Laura shares lesson plans and MY HERO resources with teachers throughout the world and is available to mentor teachers 1:1 and in her workshops. In partnership with iEARN, she also facilitates the MY HERO Learning Circles and the Heroes are Everywhere Project, bringing teachers and students together to celebrate the efforts of people making a positive change in their communities and the

To contact Laura please email: [email protected]

Visit MY HERO’s Teachers Room for more information about MY HERO resources and meet more of our teacher-heroes.

Also see MY HERO International Day of Education Resources:


MY HERO is a leading-edge, global digital education initiative where teachers, students, and learners from around the world are given opportunities for greater global connection, global understanding, and global citizenship through hands-on engagement with MY HERO multimedia resources. 

Page created on 1/23/2022 2:37:05 PM

Last edited 9/1/2022 5:48:46 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.