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Fairfax County Teacher Cathy Ruffing is the 2016 John Marshall Foundation Teacher Award Recipient

May 6, 2016 by Joni Albrecht

2016teacherawardwinnerThe John Marshall Foundation presented its 2016 Teacher Award, co-sponsored by Hunton & Williams LLP and McGuireWoods LLP, at the Richmond Bar Association’s Annual Law Day Luncheon, May 2, at the Richmond Omni. Lawton Way, Esq., Hunton & Williams LLP, presented the award to Cathy Ruffing, Centreville High School government teacher.

Ruffing’s career spans 25 years in Fairfax County. She currently teaches AP U.S. Government and a class she designed and wrote called Law in Action at Centreville High School. Each year, the John Marshall Foundation (JMF) recognizes outstanding middle or high school classroom teachers who demonstrate knowledge of and enthusiasm for the U.S. Constitution as evidenced through activities inside and outside of the classroom. Nominees are selected from public and private schools and must have been teaching for a minimum of five years. JMF Teacher Award winners receive a certificate and a cash prize of $2500.

Ruffing’s selection honors her specific work with government students, who research and write proposals for bills that would improve the lives of Virginians. The most promising concepts are submitted to Senator George Barker, who selects one idea for further research, legislative draft and possible introduction into the Virginia Senate. This year, Barker chose a student’s bill that protects college students’ First Amendment rights by forbidding institutions of high learning from requiring students to surrender private social media usernames and passwords (SB438). Governor Terry McAuliffe recently signed the bill into the Code of Virginia.

In addition, Ruffing arranged for 50 of her students to meet personally with Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the U.S. Supreme Court last May. Justice Sotomayor spoke with the group about her role in interpreting the Constitution and explained the use of judicial review to ensure civil liberties and civil rights. The JMF also recognizes Ruffing’s outstanding work with the Centreville Model Judiciary team, which progressed to the Virginia Supreme Court round for the eighth year in a row, and her teaching of the Bill of Rights using the book she co-authored, Bill of Rights and You.

The John Marshall Foundation sponsors educational and public awareness programs related to law, government and history designed to promote a greater understanding of the Great Chief Justice’s role in the foundation of the United States and the rule of law. The Foundation’s award-winning Justice in the Classroom middle- and high-school civics program currently operates in central Virginia and recently received generous funding from the Virginia Law Foundation to expand into the Tidewater and Tri-Cities regions. The JMF is non-profit and non-partisan.

The annual Teacher Award is one of many programs designed by the JMF to bring greater awareness to Marshall’s contributions as a Founding Father of the United States. In addition to expanding its educational programming, the Foundation is also exploring a vision to broaden its role into that of the national keeper of the John Marshall legacy, providing a centralized home for Marshall resources, research and relevancy.

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