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Educators from across the country traded in their classrooms for a night on stage, where they were honored by more than 900 national education leaders and supporters in Washington, D.C.
Did you miss the live stream of the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala on February 10, 2017? Now, you can watch the entire event above!
Celebrating 43 Educators From Across the Country
It is our pleasure to distinguish these extraordinary educators with the 2017 California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence.
These prestigious awards recognize, reward, and promote excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession. All deserve our recognition and sincere thanks, but we had to choose one for our highest honor.
And the Award Goes to...
Photo (left to right): Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of NEA; Gary Phoebus, President and CEO of NEA Member Benefits; Sonia Galaviz; Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation; Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, Chair of the NEA Foundation Board of Directors
In the evening’s finale, Sonia Galaviz, a fifth grade educator at Garfield Elementary School in Boise, Idaho, took home the top honor: the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000!
Five Educators Receive Top Awards
Photo (left to right): Melissa Ladd, of Poplar Road Elementary School in Sharpsburg, Georgia; Stephanie Johnson, of HB Rhame Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina; Kelly Stacy, Senior Vice President for Field Operations and Distribution of the Horace Mann Educator Corporation; Al Rabanera, of La Vista High School in Fullerton, California; Sonia Galaviz, of Garfield Elementary School in Boise, Idaho; Carol Bauer, of Grafton Bethel Elementary School in Yorktown, Virginia;
Of the 43 educators honored that night, five also accepted the 2017 Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence and $10,000, as finalists for the evening’s top honor.
Their students could not be more proud of them! During the gala, videos starring each of these five educators premiered. Watch the videos to get a glimpse into the magic these educators share among their students.
Global Kids Honored
Photo (left to right): Host Victoria Rowell; Special Guest Maya Faison of Global Kids; Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, Chair of the NEA Foundation Board of Directors; Evie Hantzopoulos, Executive Director of Global Kids; Jerry O’Flanagan, Executive Vice President, Consumer Banking, First National Bank of Omaha
The NEA Foundation also presented the First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education to Global Kids for its efforts to engage students from Washington, D.C., and New York City by exposing them to global cultures and encouraging them to become active citizens in their own communities and in the world.
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.
With Host, Actress and Advocate Victoria Rowell
Photo (left to right): Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation; Host Victoria Rowell; Beau Brown, President and CEO of California Casualty, Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, Chair of the NEA Foundation Board of Directors
This year, Victoria Rowell, an actress, director, producer, advocate, and New York Times bestselling author of “The Women Who Raised Me,” served as charismatic emcee and host.
A former foster child herself, in 1990, she founded the Rowell Foster Care Children’s Positive Plan, providing services to students in: fine arts, higher education, healthcare, financial literacy, reunification programs, cultural enrichment, and family supports. She has received 12 NAACP Image Awards and been honored with the United Nations Association Award for her commitment to education, human rights, world peace, and her support of foster children.
That night, she led guests and those watching the live stream from home or at viewing parties in cheering on the night’s biggest stars.
Special Guests Take the Stage
Educator Craig Beals, of BealsScience, made it snow onstage! Beals, a former NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow and 2015 Montana Teacher of the Year, wants us all to stay curious.
Performances by Washington, D.C.’s All Souls Church Choir and Christopher Rice, a cast member in the Tony Award-winning Broadway play, “The Book of Mormon,” wowed audiences.
A special thank you to all who helped us celebrate the best in public education! Save the date for next year’s gala on February 9, 2018.
Save the date! We hope you will join us for next year's Salute to Excellence in Education Gala on February 9, 2018.