SEAMUS HODGKINSON is a Belfast native whose personal experiences growing up in Northern Ireland became an integral focus of his upper school religion students at the Doane Stuart School, an interfaith school that was created 25 years ago in Albany, New York. It is America’s only successfully merged Protestant-Catholic School, and Mr. Hodkinson is a founding faculty member. His experiences of religious hatred in Belfast informed the context of his profession. Determined to work for peace in the face of intolerance, he visited Protestant-Catholic integrated schools in Northern Ireland which had been established to counteract hate and offer safe spaces for students to learn side by side, and began a dialogue with principals and trustees there. As a result, Mr. Hodgkinson was instrumental in the creation of the school’s Doane Stuart’s Irish-American Exchange Program, which won the Leading Edge Award for Equity and Justice from the National Association of Independent Schools. Belfast students are welcomed into host families in order to attend Doane Stuart School for a year where curriculum also includes classes on Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism. Mr. Hodkinson also teaches science and math, and is a soccer and track coach. He is a role model for inclusion, peace, and harmony.
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