Rick Ayers is an Assistant Professor in Teacher Education at the University of San Francisco. He received his PhD in the Language, Literacy, and Culture program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education. He has his Masters in Education from Mills College and taught at Berkeley High School from 1995 to 2006. He has worked as a Master Teacher for KQED Education Department, on the Teacher Advisory Board for Youth Speaks, and as a core team member of the Berkeley High School Diversity Project. He received the Berkeley Community Award, Berkeley Community Fund (2004), the Distinguished Educator of the Year Award, Occidental College (2004), and the Distinguished Adviser Award, Journalism Education Association (2000).
Rick is author of An Empty Seat in Class: Teaching and Learning after the Death of a Student (2014, Teachers College Press), co-author (with Bill Ayers) of Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Imagination in the Classroom
(2010, Teachers College Press) and of the book Zero Tolerance: Resisting the drive for punishment, A handbook for parents, students, educators and citizens (2001, New Press). He is co-author (with Amy Crawford) of Great Books for High School Kids: A Teacher’s Guide to Books That Can Change Teens’ Lives (2004, Beacon Press), author of Studs Terkel’s Working, a Teaching Guide (2000, New Press) and co-creator (with students) of the Berkeley High Slang Dictionary (self published 2000, North Atlantic Book published, 2003.)
He is co-editor of a special education edition of Monthly Review, “Education under fire: The US corporate attack on students, teachers, and schools.” (Summer, 2011). He is the author of numerous articles including “Both Sides of the Mic: Community Literacies in the Age of Hip Hop” in The Handbook of Research on Teaching Literacy through the Communicative and Visual Arts, “Critical Discomfort and Deep Engagement Needed for Transformation” (2014) in Democracy and Education.
Rick grew up in Chicago and is married to Ilene Abrams (College Advisor at Oakland’s Envision Academy) and has three children, Aisha, Sonia, and Max, and three grandchildren, Eliel, Mavis, and Ada.