Press Releases

Christopher R. Riano Appointed as the Next Executive Director of the Center for Civic Education


May 1, 2020


Pauline A. Weaver
Chair, Board of Directors

Christopher R. Riano Appointed as the Next Executive Director of the Center for Civic Education

Riano Succeeds Charles N. "Chuck" Quigley, who has been at the helm of CCE for over 50 Years

LOS ANGELES — The Board of Directors for the Center for Civic Education is delighted to announce the appointment of Christopher R. Riano as the Center's next Executive Director. He will succeed Charles N. "Chuck" Quigley, who served as Executive Director of the Center's predecessor, the Committee on Civic Education, at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1965 and most recently for the Center after it became an independent organization in 1981. Chuck is broadly recognized as one of the most prominent curriculum and program developers in the field of civic education. The Board is extremely grateful for Chuck's decades of civic contributions.

The Executive Director leads the Center's work in promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy within the United States and in dozens of other countries around the world.

"After an extensive public search and canvass of the Center's extraordinary network, and following the consideration of many highly qualified individuals, we are pleased to announce the selection of Christopher R. Riano," said Pauline Weaver, President of the Board of Directors. "He is charged with upholding the Center's mandate to improve and expand civic education opportunities for all Americans and for citizens of emerging and established democracies around the world."

Riano brings a vigorous vision for the future as well as demonstrated experience working, lecturing, and writing extensively about the intersection of legal theory and systems of constitutional law, including his work serving as a lecturer in constitutional law and government at Columbia University. He also brings practical experience fostering democratic principles, including his prior service as an Administrative Law Judge in the State of New York and as an Assistant Counsel to the Governor of the State of New York for the Arts, Education, and Constitutional Law. He has volunteered for many years with the Justice Resource Center in New York City, a long-time Center for Civic Education partner organization, and he has served as a scholar for several programs at the Center for Civic Education, most recently at the Center's American History & Civics Academies. He has also served as a Judge for the Center's We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program in local, state, and national competitions and as a Judge for We the People: Project Citizen. His first book on the constitutional history of the marriage equality movement, co-authored with William N. Eskridge, Jr. of Yale Law School, is forthcoming from Yale University Press in August 2020. Christopher holds a Juris Doctor from Washington and Lee University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University.

"It is a tremendous privilege to assume leadership of the Center for Civic Education at a time in our history that calls for renewed focus on civic principles. I am thrilled to carry forward the pioneering work that the Center has led for more than fifty years and I look forward to building on its critically important mission in the decades ahead." said Mr. Riano.

In support of Riano's appointment, Chuck Quigley added, "We have accomplished so much over the past years, and I am very pleased that I will be able to continue to support the Center as a senior consultant developing curricular programs. I want to express my gratitude to our network leaders across the globe for making the Center for Civic Education the leading organization that it is. I look forward to supporting Mr. Riano in his new role and am very optimistic about this next chapter of the Center's work."

Mr. Riano will assume the position of Executive Director on June 1, 2020.

 (Press Release) May 1, 2020 

Winning Back the School Year

Denied a Trip to D.C. Due to Coronavirus, Students Tackle Tough Issues in Nationwide Online Civics Competition

LOS ANGELES — The end of April traditionally marks one of the largest competitions on the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the country. The annual We the People National Finals, administered by the Center for Civic Education, was scheduled to take place April 26-28. In a normal year, more than a thousand high school students along with their teachers, administrators and families gather in Washington, D.C., for the competition.

This is no ordinary year, thanks to COVID-19. Rather than converging on Washington, D.C., more than 600 students will meet on Zoom in the rebranded We the People National Finals Challenge. The students, who represent 30 schools, will be competing from their homes in every region of the country, from Alabama to Oregon. The National Finals challenge is giving them hope, a reason to stay engaged and motivated in a world abruptly redefined by social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

The National Finals Challenge will be held on Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, April 26. Students will demonstrate their knowledge of constitutional issues before competition judges composed of constitutional scholars, lawyers, historians and public officials. Students completed a comprehensive course of study on the Constitution to qualify for the competition, and most schools won their state competitions.

Results of the competition will be posted on Monday night, April 27, at 8:00 pm ET on Facebook at

More information about the We the People National Finals Challenge is available at

More information about the Center for Civic Education is available at

Open for News Coverage

To avoid disruption of the hearings and facilitate news coverage, please contact Robert Leming at 805-890-4059, Rebecca Reeder (260) 615-7745 or Maria Gallo at 805-904-7411 to arrange entrance into an online hearing room.

Winner of National Constitution & Bill of Rights Competition Announced

April 29, 2019

Robert Leming (805) 890-4059, Maria Gallo (805) 904-7411, Mark Molli (818) 916-7695

Washington, April 29, 2019 — After three days of simulated congressional hearings that tested their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, three schools took top honors at the 32nd Annual We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals.

The National Winner: Denver East High School, Colorado  Teachers: Susan McHugh & Matt Fulford

Second Place: Amador Valley High School, California  Teacher: Stacey Sklar

Third Place: Grant High School, Oregon (wild card)  Teacher:  Angela DiPasquale

A total of 56 classes representing 44 states came to the nation’s capital to participate in the academic competition where students demonstrate their knowledge of the Constitution before simulated congressional committees made up of state supreme court judges, constitutional scholars, lawyers, public officials and We the People alumni.

The panel of judges tested the expertise of the classes on the six units of the “We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution” textbook: What Are the Philosophical and Historical Foundations of the American Political System? How Did the Framers Create the Constitution? How Has the Constitution Been Changed to Further the Ideals Contained in the Declaration of Independence? How Have the Values and Principles Embodied in the Constitution Shaped American Institutions and Practices? What Rights Does the Bill of Rights Protect? and What Challenges Might Face American Constitutional Democracy in the Twenty-first Century?

More information on the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution program is available at and  

The We the People Program is administered by the Center for Civic Education. More information about the Center can be found at 

The 2019 We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution National Finals is partially funded by the tremendous effort of teachers, students, parents, and We the People state coordinators to secure community sponsors.

The competition results were announced at an awards ceremony Monday evening before an audience of more than 1,400 students, teachers, coordinators, judges and other program participants. The Award Ceremony, held at the National Constitution Center, included speakers Tom Kilgannon of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service and John Tinker of the John F. Tinker Foundation. John and Mary Beth Tinker were part of the landmark Supreme Court case of Tinker v Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969).

For a list of all the awards and winning schools please visit


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