CUBE Awards

CUBE Awards

Annual Award for Urban Excellence

Honoring Urban School Boards That Are Making a Difference

Local school boards are leaders of public education in their communities. School boards are charged with the responsibility to create the conditions within their district that lead to improved student achievement. Creating optimal conditions requires boards to align resources and foster a culture within the district that supports and rewards the work of educators in improving student achievement. School boards articulate the educational mission of the district and garner the public support and resources needed to achieve that mission.

The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) recognizes excellence in school board governance by presenting the Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence. Award winners share their ideas promote best and promising practices at CUBE conferences and through CUBE publications. These school boards serve as a resource for other CUBE districts, sharing how effective governance is essential in helping all urban school boards improve.

NSBA encourages all CUBE members to apply, particularly those school boards who are showing growth, innovating with policy, and who are eager to be an exemplar to other urban boards. School boards will be judged on a variety of measures across four core areas of urban school board governance:

  • School Board Performance
  • Academic Improvement
  • Educational Equity
  • Community Engagement

Past Winners

2020: Shelby County Schools (TN)
2019: Hillsborough County School District (FL)
2018: Jennings School District (MO), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (NC), Forth Worth ISD (TX)
2017: Pittsburgh Public Schools (PA), Shelby County Schools (TN), Lancaster Independent School District (TX)

a group poses with an award for a photo
several CUBE awards on a table
a woman on stage receives an award


The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award

Honoring an Individual Who Has Made a Difference

The Benjamin Elijah Mays Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the educational needs of urban school children through his or her service as a local school board member. Presented annually by CUBE, this award is open to any current or former school board member in a district in good standing with its state school boards association and CUBE.

The award is named for Benjamin Elijah Mays, who joined the Atlanta Board of Education in 1969 and served as its president from 1970-1981. During his tenure on the board, Mays worked tirelessly to provide equal educational opportunities for children. He is also remembered for his outstanding leadership and service as a scholar, teacher, minister, mentor, author, and civil rights activist.

Past Winners

2020: Rodney Jordan, Norfolk (VA)
2019: Deena A. Hayes, Guilford County (NC)
2018: Cardell C. Patillo, Jr., Portsmouth (VA)
2017: Vince Ford, Columbia (SC) & Dr. Steve Gallon, Miami (FL)
2016: Cheryl D. Mayes, Nashville (TN)
2015: Curtis T. Walker, Minister of Beth-El A.M.E. Zion Church in Cleveland, OH
2014: Lock Beachum (OH)
2014: Dr. Elizabeth Daniels (VA) - award posthumously
2013: Jerrelle Francois, Baltimore (MD)
2012: Dr. Joseph A. Buck, Savannah Chatham County (GA)
2011: Ms. Eva Carrillo Dong, Tucson (AZ)
2010: Mr. Henry J. Godfrey, Hampton (VA)
2009: Dr. John Harding Lucas, Sr., Durham (NC)
2008: Dr. Ulysses Van Spiva, Virginia Beach (VA)
2007: Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, Atlanta (GA) – awarded posthumously