The Washington Times-Herald
---- — On Sept. 24, the Executive Director of the National Center for State Courts Mary McQueen presented the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education to Margaret Fisher, former resident of Washington. The event took place at the fall judicial conference in Washington State.
The award honors an organization, court, or individual who has promoted, inspired, improved, or led an innovation or accomplishment in the field of civics education related to the justice system.
“The shear breadth of Margaret Fisher’s work in the field of civics education, which spans more than 35 years, is so worthy of recognition,” said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. “Through her steadfast commitment, Margaret has made a difference to so many. She has developed innovative programs for school children, college students, juvenile offenders, prison inmates, immigrants and more. Margaret’s perspective is that everyone, including society, benefits from a strong civics education program, which she delivers.”
Throughout her career as an attorney and educator, Fisher has brought civics education to thousands of students and raised the bar on how it is taught. She began her career at Georgetown University Law Center, where she conducted the Street Law Program in which law students teach civics education programs in prisons. After moving to Washington State in 1982, Fisher launched the Street Law program at Seattle University School of Law, which remains in existence today.
More than 25,000 high school students in Washington State have benefited from this semester-long program.
The award is named for retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in honor of her commitment to improving civics education. Justice O’Connor personally approved of the selection of Fisher. She is the daughter of the late Alice J. Fisher and Albert G. Fisher, formerly of Washington, and attended Washington Catholic High School.
Fisher’s accomplishments and contributions are far-reaching. “I have seen Ms. Fisher work tirelessly to strengthen judicial participation in civics education,” wrote Washington State Chief Justice Barbara Madsen in a letter of recommendation. “She actively conducts civics education programs with youth, and she has created one of the most innovative programs involving judges in the education of youth in civics and judges in partnership with teachers to teach Street Law course in high schools.”