About the Jack London Award for Educational Innovation

old photo of Jack London, out doors, with a leather jacket and book on his lap


Jack London epitomized the life-long learner. His own education was characterized by innovative and non-traditional experiences. London’s primary devotion, however was to the PEOPLE, as he called them, and he wanted an informed public that would direct leaders, not follow them blindly.

By age 30 London was internationally famous for his books Call of the Wild (1903), The Sea Wolf (1904) and other literary and journalistic accomplishments. His stories of high adventure were based on his own experiences at sea, in the Yukon Territory, and in the fields and factories of California.  His writings appealed to millions worldwide. Jack London drew inspiration from his Sonoma County home, and loved the rustic beauty his ranch in Glen Ellen.

We memorialize the creative and individualistic spirit that London represents with this award program, which is designed to recognize and encourage innovative, educational programs. Since the program began back in 1988, the Jack London Award for Educational Innovation has every year drawn the local education community together to meet and recognize the individuals responsible for innovative and creative work happening in our public schools here in Sonoma County. Learn about past programs that received the award.

Goals of the Jack London Award Program

  • To recognize and publicize outstanding innovative programs within a school and the individuals responsible for them.
  • To project a positive image of public education.

Who May Apply?

This award is open to all pre-schools, elementary, middle schools, junior high and high schools in Sonoma, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, Napa or Solano County.

Criteria for judging include:

  1. Original vision and impetus for the program
  2. Innovative and creative approaches
  3. Engages teachers and school community collaboratively
  4. The impact of this program on students and how it might be adaptable to other settings

How is the selection made?

SSU faculty, as well as community and educational leaders, serve as judges for this award program. The Jack London Award Committee makes final selection of award recipients after site observations of the chosen semi-finalists.

The Educational Innovation Award:

This award is made on an annual basis to a Pre K-12 program that has made an exemplary contribution to education through development of an innovative educational program in Sonoma, Marin, Lake, Mendocino, Napa or Solano county schools. The chosen school(s) will receive a $500 gift certificate, a plaque of recognition, and a book authored by Jack London.

Note: Programs that have received the Jack London Award are not eligible to win a second time.