How a Texas School District Finds Innovation in Teaching with Peer Assistance and Review

This blog series spotlights current teams of the NEA Foundation Institute for Innovation in Teaching & Learning. The Institute supports the collaborative efforts of these teams of local unions and school district leaders by focusing on a single issue, providing a dedicated coach, and sharing online curriculum on how to lead change and reform.

Photo: Shelley Potter, of the local union, and Emilio Castro, of the school district make up two members of the team 

1. Why did your school district

5 Educators Tips to Prep for the New School Year

By Nancy Kunsman
NEA Foundation Learning & Leadership Grant recipient
and language arts educator at Gore High School in Gore, Oklahoma

We asked a recent NEA Foundation grant recipient what she does to prepare for the upcoming school year. Check out her tips for quashing those first-day jitters and setting the course for an amazing school year!

1. Get Your Classroom Ready

Establish

These Educators Are Having the Best Summer Ever

While many of their students soak up the joy of a homework-free summer, educators who received $2,000 Learning & Leadership Grants from the NEA Foundation have been hard at work completing professional development opportunities and preparing

Teaching Indigenous Students At Home or Abroad

By Anna Baldwin
2015 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow
and English and history educator at Arlee High School in Arlee, Montana

This summer I had the opportunity to spend over a week traveling in Peru with a group of teachers from across the country as part of the NEA Foundation's Global Learning Fellowship. We had some breath-taking experiences, including visiting a rural

Educator Finds Global Competency Reality in a “Global Village” in Peru

By Jeff Baxter
2015 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow
and English educator at Leavenworth Senior High School in Leavenworth, Kansas

Photo: NEA Foundation Board Member Kim Oliver-Burnim (left) and Jeff Baxter (right) at Machu Picchu

The NEA Foundation’s Global Learning Fellows first day in Lima, Peru, was Father’s Day. At least, it was Father’s Day in the United

Peru through the Eyes of a "Hopeful" Traveler

By Terri Butts
Curriculum effectiveness specialist and 2015 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow 
Richland 2 Child Development Center,Columbia, SC

Photo: 2015 Global Learning Fellows at the Cathedral of Lima

My eyes are wide open, despite landing in Cusco at 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday night. When we reach the city, the streets bustle with activity rivaling New York City. I’m ready to meet

What Physical Education Teaches Students about Developing Countries

By Mel House
2015 Global Learning Fellow and physical education teacher
Rio Vista Elementary School, North Hollywood, California

This blog series features the NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellows, a cohort of educators who participated in a year-long supported learning experience on the VIF International Global Gateway platform to build global competency skills.

Think Global Learning Doesn’t Apply to Physical Education? Think Again.

By Anne Beranek
2015 Global Learning Fellow and physical education teacher
Iroquois Community School in Des Plaines, Illinois

This blog series features the NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellows, a cohort of educators who participated in a year-long supported learning experience on the VIF International Global Gateway platform to build global competency skills.  Anne

Gates Millennium Scholars: Preparing for College with this Life-Changing Student Scholarship

By Blessed Sheriff

It’s April.

You've tried not to worry about it for months, but now you can no longer avoid the reality. The letter is in the mail, ten feet away from your front door. Imagine opening that letter, scrolling quickly through the page until you

Huffington Post Blog: Unleashing the Fierce Power of Your Belief

By Harriet Sanford
President & CEO
The NEA Foundation

This month, the new class of teachers who will enter the education workforce in America's schools will graduate from colleges and universities across the nation. As more teachers retire, our workforce is skewing younger. Recent college

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Watch the event!

Did you miss the live stream of the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala on February 13, 2015? Now, you can watch the event in its entirety right here!

 

As one of the most prestigious awards events in public education, the NEA Foundation’s gala attracts more than 800 national education leaders and supporters to honor these educators each year in Washington, D.C. 

 

Did you attend the gala? View and purchase photos from the event.

 

Celebrating 39 educators from across the country

This year, 39 educators selected by their peers received the California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence. In addition to these awards, the following top honors were presented.

 

Who won the evening’s top honor?

Terri Butts, a curriculum effectiveness specialist for the Richland 2 Child Development Center in Columbia, SC, and a member of the South Carolina Education Association, received the evening's top honor: The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000. This award recognizes, rewards, and promotes excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession.

 

Butts and four other educators also received the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence. These five educators were finalists for the evening's top award.

 

Watch Terri Butts' acceptance speech below. 

 

 

 

Photo (left to right): Gary Phoebus, President and CEO of NEA Member Benefits; Terri Butts; Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation

 

 

 

Five educators receive top awards

These five extraordinary educators from across the country received the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence, and found themselves finalists for the evening’s top award. And their students have already benefitted. Each class received digital arts training from Scena Media to produce a video, which premiered at the gala, to honor their award-winning teachers.

 

Photo (left to right): John Stocks, NEA Executive Director; Crystal Brown; Chair of the NEA Foundation Board of Directors; Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation; Awardee Allison Riddle (UT); Awardee Anna Baldwin (MT); Marita Zuraitis, President and CEO of the Horace Mann Educators Corporation; Awardee Crystal Williams Gordon (LA); Awardee Terri Butts (SC); Awardee Richard Erickson (WI)

 

Watch all of the student-made videos below. 

 

Beloved children’s book author, the late Walter Dean Myers, and author and illustrator son, Christopher Myers honored

The NEA Foundation also presented award-winning children’s author, Walter Dean Myers, posthumously, and his son, award-winning illustrator and author, Christopher Myers, with the First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education, honoring their lifelong contributions to children’s literature. 

 

The father-son duo collaborated on stories for and about children of color who don’t see themselves reflected in children’s literature. According to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin, only 93 of the 3,200 children’s books published in 2013 were about black people. In an op-ed for the New York Times in March 2014, Walter Dean Myers wrote, “What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?”

 

Their collaborative works include “Jazz,” a winner of the Coretta Scott King award for illustration, “Harlem,” a Caldecott Honor book, “Blues Journey,” and “We are American: a tribute from the heart,” to name a few.

 

This award recognizes individuals and organizations for their lifelong commitment to advancing public education and is typically presented to those who work outside the field. Awardees have included former President Bill Clinton, Title IX advocate Billie Jean King, and Sesame Workshop.

In honor of Walter Dean Myers, Christopher Myers, and their wonderful family, First Book dedicated a gift of 5,000 brand new books to children in need across the country. First Book is a social enterprise that currently serves more than 155,000 programs and classrooms serving children in need ages 0-18 years of age. First Book hopes that everyone serving children in need will join their network and continue to grow the Myers' family legacy of high quality, diverse content for all children.

 

Watch Christopher Myers' acceptance speech.  

 

 Photo (left to right): Donna Meacham Blackman, Member of the NEA Foundation Board of Directors; Crystal Brown, Chair of the NEA Foundation Board of Directors; Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation; Honoree Christopher Myers, award-winning illustrator and author; Lily Eskelsen García, NEA President; Stephen Eulie, Executive Vice President Consumer Banking of First National Bank of Omaha

 

 

Hosted by actress and activist Anne-Marie Johnson

Anne-Marie Johnson, who most recently appeared in the TNT series, "Murder in the First," and is best known for her role as Althea Tibbs on the hit television series, "In the Heat of the Night," and as a cast member of the sketch comedy series, "In Living Color," hosted the event.  

 

Johnson helped celebrate exceptional public school educators alongside more than 50 student performers— many of whom are past NEA Foundation gala stars, invited back for an encore.

 

Photo (left to right): Awardee Allison Riddle (UT); Awardee Anna Baldwin (MT); Marita Zuraitis, President and CEO of the Horace Mann Educator Corporation; Anne-Marie Johnson, actress and activist; Awardee Crystal Williams Gordon (LA); Awardee Terri Butts (SC); Awardee Richard Erickson (WI)

 

Students take the stage for return performances

From Montgomery County, Maryland, the Sogo African Rhythm Ensemble of 35 drummers and dancers from Forest Knolls Elementary, who performed at last year’s gala, took the stage under the direction of educator, Lou Persic.

 

Also returning this year was Blessed Sheriff, a young poet, who performed two original poems with last year’s gala host, Tony Award-winning actress, Phylicia Rashad, of “The Cosby Show” fame. Sheriff performed her tribute to the Walter Dean Myers alongside Joseph Morag, a violinist and first chair and concertmaster of the New York Youth Symphony. A second tribute to Myers came from young writers from Lee County, Florida, who performed an interpretation of Walter Dean Myers’ acclaimed book, “The Story of the Three Kingdoms.”

 

Memorable performances also include Brooklyn-based singer and Princeton musicology doctoral student, Cory Hunter, who is lead soloist of the Boys Choir of Harlem, as well as the Counterpoints, directed by Michael Raunik, from Indianapolis, Indiana, who have been ranked the nation’s top concert show choir.

 

Watch Blessed Sheriff and Joseph Morag's performance below.

 





Photo (left to right): Cory Hunter, student performer; Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation; Blessed Sheriff, student performer

 


A special thank you to all who helped us celebrate the best in public education! Save the date for next year’s gala on Feb. 12, 2016.