Gene Woods, a history teacher at Bayonne High School and president of the Bayonne Education Association, received the Hank Kaplowitz Outstanding Human Rights Educator Award from Kean University’s Human Rights Institute. The institute conferred the award at its 14th annual conference on March 25. The award is named after Kean University educator and career human rights activist Dr. Hank Kaplowitz, who was influential in expanding the scope of Holocaust education on campus and beyond.
Woods was recognized for his contributions to the field of Holocaust education and the teaching of African American history, including his work to assist educators statewide in meeting and exceeding the Holocaust and Amistad education mandates.
Woods is a member of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education and has worked with Kean’s Human Rights Institute teaching its prejudice reduction course and its “upstander” course.
“This work is necessary,” Woods said. “It is important to support each other in meeting the mandates so that whoever comes after us doesn’t have to start from scratch. They can build on the work we’ve done.”
Woods was particularly moved that one of his former students from Bayonne, Chevon Williams, received the Outstanding Students Human Rights Activist award at the same ceremony. A 2022 graduate of Kean University, Williams distinguished herself for her human rights work at Kean and in the community, including a voting rights drive.