Awards Gala

The NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala is an annual celebration of the men and women who work in America’s public schools and of the unique bonds that educators and students share.

Grantees

Katrina Wagner

Pacific Cascade Middle School, Issaquah, WA
Grades 6-8, Arts
2016, Fall

To improve her ability to meet the needs of her gifted and talented students, Ms. Wagner will attend the National Association for Gifted Children Conference. While there, Ms. Wagner will attend workshops on current research and strategies on gifted education. Workshops and ... more »

Melissa Adams

Blazier Elementary School, Austin, TX
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Fall

Ms. Adams will lead a book study to support new teachers in learning classroom management techniques that emphasize the creation of caring communities and avoid coercion through rewards and punishments. Participating educators will be invited to participate in a book study ... more »

Leila Villaverde

University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
Higher Education, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Fall

Ms. Villaverde will work with educators at Peeler Open School to build and disseminate institutional knowledge about best practices in open education and arts integration so that participating educators can form successful partnerships that sustain high-quality open ... more »

Jennifer Kibler

East Aurora School District, East Aurora, NY
Grades K-5, Mathematics
2016, Fall

Through “Cooperative Tournaments in Mathematics,” Ms. Kibler will lead a highly engaging school-wide professional development initiative focused on Common Core Math Standards. After concluding sets of student math tournaments, Ms. Kibler will attend the Future ... more »

Dr. Michael Rozalski

Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
Higher Education, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Fall

NEW YORK

Dr. Michael Rozalski, Binghamton 

Associate Professor, Binghamton University

Grant Amount: $2,000

Dr. Rozalski will complete a professional development program designed to increase crisis intervention and bullying prevention skills. Upon completion of the ... more »

Sekou Cox

Elijah Stroud Middle School 353, Brooklyn, NY
Grades 6-8, Mathematics
2016, Fall

Mr. Cox and his colleagues on the MS 353 STEM team will work with New York Sun Works to integrate a school greenhouse into school programming and curriculum. The team will convert a classroom to a hydroponic farming laboratory to educate students and fellow educators about ... more »

Cynthia Apalinski

Linden Public Schools, Linden, NJ
Grades K-5, Science
2016, Fall

Through the “Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Elementary Professional Community,” Ms. Apalinski and Mrs. Dollard will lead a study group comprised of third through fifth grade teachers. The group will provide teachers with the tools necessary to ... more »

Mimma-Marie Cammarato

Sterling High School, Somerdale, NJ
Grades 9-12, Foreign Language Teacher
2016, Fall

Ms. Cammarato will travel to Peru to research how the tomato and other staple foods of the Inca revolutionized the Mediterranean diet and cuisine. Throughout her travels, Ms. Cammarato will investigate agricultural and culinary practices and find connections that ... more »

Barbara Gottschalk

Susick Elementary School, Troy, MI
Grades K-5, English
2016, Fall

Ms. Gottschalk and Ms. Reynolds will work with the district’s language acquisition teachers to better track the progress of young English Language Learners. Ms. Reynolds will attend a WIDA data analysis meeting, after which she and Ms. Gottschalk will head an ... more »

Lawrence Jordan

Milton High School, Milton, MA
Grades 9-12, Special Education
2016, Fall

To enhance cultural competency in Milton Public Schools, Mr. Jordan will lead a district-wide reading of “Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People.” The learning community will examine scientific evidence that reveals hidden biases carried by many people through ... more »

Rasheeda Hardy

Prince George's County Public Schools, Adelphi, MD
Grades K-5, English
2016, Fall

To assist educators working with English Language Learners, Ms. Hardy will implement a district-wide focus group model that will support early childhood English Language Learners. The professional learning community will provide participants with strategies and experiences ... more »

Dr. Yong Joon Park

Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN
Higher Education, Mathematics
2016, Fall

Dr. Park will partner with Mrs. Spelman and staff at DeVaney Elementary School to help both students and educators get excited about math. Staff will install a 3D printer that will help pre-service teachers learn ways to integrate current technology into lesson plans. ... more »

Akeyo Garcia

Ewa Elementary School, Ewa Beach, HI
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Fall

To build a professional learning community within Ewa Elementary School, Mrs. Garcia and Mrs. Macion-Ito will establish an on-site collaborative STEM training program. The training will focus on classroom best practices that are age and developmentally appropriate for young ... more »

Arcelia Dalton

South Hall Middle School, Gainesville, GA
Grades 6-8, Science
2016, Fall

To meet the needs of students from diverse backgrounds, Mrs. Dalton will participate in eLearing classes through the University of Georgia. Through her course work, Mrs. Dalton will learn about various systems, methods, and digital products for multimedia instruction. Mrs. ... more »

Nancy Harrelson

Aurora Public Schools, Aurora, CO
Grades K-5, Special Education
2016, Fall

Ms. Harrelson will attend the Mathematical Leadership Summit at Stanford University, where she will study the text and resources of Jo Boaler’s “Mathematical Mindsets.” The resources will allow Ms. Harrelson to collaborate with educators in her district to ... more »

Samantha McMillan

Oak Grove School District, San Jose, CA
Grades 6-8, Social Studies
2016, Fall

To help establish a positive learning environment and encourage teachers and students to take ownership of their learning, Ms. McMillan will attend the national SXSWedu conference. While there, Ms. McMillan will connect with like-minded educators from various backgrounds in ... more »

Jennifer Kennedy

SPARK Academy for STEM Education, Athens, AL
Grades 9-12, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Fall

To build teacher capacity in creating rich and authentic project and problem-based learning experiences, Mrs. Kennedy and colleagues will participate in an intensive two-day training on constructing project or problem-based learning units. Participants will be trained on ... more »

Angela Wagner

Athens High School, Rogersville, AL
Grades 9-12, English
2016, Fall

Mrs. Wagner will attend the Association for Educational Communications & Technology Conference to support teachers in her district’s PowerUp initiative, a one-to-one training program that provides laptops to students for academic advancement. The training will explore ... more »

Emily Rothering

Milton Middle School, Milton, WI
Grades 6-8, STEM
2016, Fall

Through “We Do STEM with Legos,” Ms. Rothering and Mrs. Jensen’s students will be presented self-directed opportunities to explore, create, and share knowledge about science, technology, engineering, and math. Educators will integrate the Lego kits in Next ... more »

Breanne McAllister

Clark County Skills Center, Vancouver, WA
Grades 9-12, Science
2016, Fall

Nursing professionals from the Clark County Skills Center will acquire up-to-date medical training materials and couple them with project based instruction and Chromebooks. Mrs. McAllister and her colleagues will use these materials to improve student achievement and ... more »

Rebecca Smith

Fluvanna Middle School, Palmyra, VA
Grades 6-8, Foreign Language Teacher
2016, Fall

Through the “Proficiency Project,” Mrs. Smith's Spanish language students will have access to authentic language videos and differentiated exercises through the ThisIsLanguage website. Additionally, the project will allow students to travel the world via ... more »

Karen Ciotta

Epes Elementary School, Newport News, VA
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Fall

Through “The 21st Century Coffee House Classroom,” Mrs. Ciotta will redesign her classroom community with comfortable and flexible seating. By making students feel safe, wanted, and valued, Mrs. Ciotta hopes that they will thrive, excel, and exceed in the new ... more »

Cathy Bryant

Avoca Elementary School, Bristol, TN
Grades K-5, STEM
2016, Fall

Through “Gathering STEAM,” students will improve their understanding of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematical concepts. Students will work on self-directed projects through Avoca Elementary School’s new STEAM lab. Students will visit ... more »

Kelly Piccioni

Berks Career and Technology Center, Oley, PA
Grades 9-12, Arts
2016, Fall

To increase students’ experience in horticulture and emphasize the need for sustainable farming, Mrs. Kelly will implement an aquaponics system at Berks Career and Technology Center. The system will hold fish and grow crops that will be used in the student culinary ... more »

Sabrina Conner

Albion Middle School, Strongsville, OH
Grades 6-8, Special Education
2016, Fall

Through “Teach, Learn, Grow” Mrs. Conner and Ms. Pruckner will support the integration of functional life science into the special education classroom. The Tower Garden System will be used in adapted science classrooms with students with severe disabilities ... more »

Emily Latham

Creekview Intermediate School, Marysville, OH
Grades K-5, Mathematics
2016, Fall

Through the “Making a Difference” project, Mrs. Latham and Mrs. Rich will use a local garden to connect students with the community. Students will read the book “Seedfolks,” which describes how a diverse community in Cleveland came together through a ... more »

Meredith Blackmore

Sycamore High School, Cincinnati, OH
Grades 9-12, Foreign Language Teacher
2016, Fall

Ms. Blackmore and colleagues will introduce the history and current situation of unaccompanied minors from Central America to the United States. Pulitzer Prize winner Sonia Nazario will give a lecture to students about the experiences of children emigrating to the U.S. and ... more »

Laura Grimm

Dalton Local Elementary and Middle School, Dalton, OH
Grades K-5, STEM
2016, Fall

Mrs. Grimm and colleagues will build a greenhouse and use it to enrich the science curriculum for Dalton Local Elementary and Middle School students. Lessons taught in the facility will assist students in acquiring the knowledge and creative problem-solving skills needed to ... more »

Melissa Krupp

Southern Regional High School, Manahawkin, NJ
Grades 9-12, Science
2016, Fall

Through “Giving the World a Helping Hand” at-risk special education students and college bound students will participate in a global volunteer effort via e-Nable. Through this partnership, learners will enhance the lives of others by printing three dimensional ... more »

Karen Chew

Ann A. Mullen Middle School, Sicklerville, NJ
Grades 6-8, Technology
2016, Fall

Mrs. Chew and Mrs. Delfino will introduce robotics curriculum that will enable students to work through open-ended problem-solving activities in a context that encourages students to have fun in engaging with STEM. Projects will follow a design engineering process that will ... more »

Christine Anderson

Liberty High School, Liberty, MO
Grades 9-12, Library Media Specialist
2016, Fall

Liberty High School students will use an audio studio to create original digital media as a means of personal and academic expression. Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Riedel will implement and facilitate an audio recording studio in the school library.  Students will use the ... more »

Jodi Decuf

MacGregor School, Bay City, MI
Grades K-5, STEM
2016, Fall

Through the use of a Makerspace focused on STEM concepts, Mrs. Decuf's students will be presented with real world learning experiences. Students will design, collaborate, invent, build, and create artifacts to solve problems through personally meaningful activities. ... more »

Anna Raynovich

Highland Elementary School, Silver Spring, MD
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Fall

Students, parents, and teachers will work together to create, maintain, and utilize gardens at Highland Elementary School. Students will benefit from direct, hands-on learning experiences related to the science curriculum across all grade levels. The community as a whole ... more »

Angela Gray

Alton High School, Alton, IL
Grades 9-12, School Social Worker
2016, Fall

To increase awareness of Relational Aggression (RA) among teen girls, Mrs. Gray and colleagues will develop weekly group counseling sessions for at risk girls. Multiple RA curriculum materials will be used to increase awareness of RA, encourage empathy and tolerance, and ... more »

Kristy Corbett

La Tercera Elementary School, Petaluma, CA
Grades K-5, STEM
2016, Fall

To develop student learning experiences that provide opportunities for hands-on STEM education, Mrs. Corbett and Mrs. Sampietro will transform the school’s existing school garden into an interactive learning area. In the renovated garden and greenhouse, students will ... more »

Elsie O’Bryan

Teeland Middle School, Wasilla, AK
Grades 6-8, Education Support Professional
2016, Fall

Ms. O’Bryan and Mr. Steele will use Chromebooks and Promethean boards to provide consistent classroom computer-based instruction. The primary focus of student work will be on phonics, language arts, and math. Each student will ideally maximize their individual ... more »

Sabrina Frost

Big Sandy Elementary School, Moundville, AL
Grades K-5, STEM
2016, Fall

To promote the use of inquiry and research-based science education by using the newly adopted Next Generation Science Standards, Mrs. Frost and Mrs. Holloway’s students will be using the STEMScopes curriculum and hands-on investigations to increase student ... more »

Marion Bageant

Spokane Public Schools, Spokane, WA
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Spring

Ms. Bageant and Ms. Fyhrie will lead a collegial study through Spokane Public Schools’ Visual Thinking Strategies Writing Lab, which will focus on the implementation of Common Core State Standards. Through this method, students will examine art, peer-discuss, and ... more »

Angela DeHart

Glasgow Middle School, Alexandria, VA
Grades 6-8, Technology
2016, Spring

To improve her knowledge of coding, Ms. DeHart will complete the CodeHS and Globaloria computer programming training. Upon completion, Ms. DeHart will teach the members of Glasgow Middle School’s Girls Coding Club and First Lego League how to code.  Students will ... more »

Tara Wilson

Cora Kelly School, Alexandria, VA
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Spring

Ms. Wilson will attend the “Understanding Finnish Education: From Myths to Realities” program through the University of Helsinki’s Department of Teacher Education. While examining the characteristics of Finnish education, including myths and realities, Ms. ... more »

Deanne Beausoleil

Chemeketa Community College, Salem, OR
Higher Education, Arts
2016, Spring

To better identify with a growing Latino student population at Chemeketa Community College, Ms. Beausoleil will participate in a Spanish immersion experience in Mexico City. While there, Ms. Beausoleil will study the work of Mesoamerican artists and experience local ... more »

Ryan DeGregorio

Clackamas Middle College, Happy Valley, OR
Grades 9-12, Social Studies
2016, Spring

Mr. DeGregorio and Ms. Jevert will lead an interdisciplinary learning team that will engage in the examination of best practices in lesson and unit design for effective instruction. The cohort’s goal will be to increase Clackamas Middle College students’ ... more »

Jennifer Rue

Wayne County Schools Career Center, Smithville, OH
Grades 9-12, Arts
2016, Spring

Mrs. Rue will participate in the Sneak on the Lot Summer Workshop, where she will learn the multiple phases of film production from film industry professionals. Workshop participants will develop stories, assemble filmscapes, create storyboards, schedule shoots, budget ... more »

Kristin Miller

Oberlin High School, Oberlin, OH
Grades 9-12, Library Media Specialist
2016, Spring

To improve her professional practice and knowledge of the Polish educational system, Ms. Miller will participate in the Kosciuszko Foundation's Teaching English in Poland Program. While in Poland Ms. Miller will pair and network with Polish teachers, share American best ... more »

Stephanie Bennington

Perry Local Schools, Massillon, OH
Grades 9-12, Science
2016, Spring

To provide her Marine Biology and Environmental Science students with real life scenarios regarding conservation of the ocean's top predator and how shark finning is affecting biodiversity, Ms. Bennington will travel to South Africa to participate in the White Shark ... more »

Lauren Piner

South Central High School, Winterville, NC
Grades 9-12, Social Studies
2016, Spring

To improve her personal knowledge, network with educators from various countries, and develop cross cultural lesson plans, Ms. Piner will attend the Centropa Summer Academy in Vienna, Prague, and Berlin. Using the great cities of Europe as their classrooms, Ms. Piner and 90 ... more »

Wendi Pillars

Jordan-Matthews High School, Siler City, NC
Grades 9-12, English
2016, Spring

To enhance morphing English as a Second Language (ESL) responsibilities from classroom teacher to coach in a high school with high academic and linguistic needs, Ms. Pillars will attend a WIDA national language learning conference. Ms. Pillars will explore the latest ... more »

Lisa Von Dohlen

Enka High School, Candler, NC
Grades 9-12, Arts
2016, Spring

To increase her Spanish language skills and enhance her cultural competence to better serve Enka High School’s Latino students and their families, Ms. Von Dohlen will attend the Centro Ollin-Tlahtoalli Spanish Language School in Oaxaca, Mexico. During the course of ... more »

Crystal Thiele

William Penn School PS 321, Brooklyn, NY
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2016, Spring

Ms. Thiele will take part in an oral history gathering expedition to Kamchata, Russia, where she will be trained in “collecting culture.” During the experience, Ms. Thiele will create a culture curriculum based on primary sources, interviews, photographs, and ... more »

Valerie Sanchirico

Collingswood Middle School, Collingswood, NJ
Grades 6-8, Foreign Language Teacher
2016, Spring

To improve her practice of teaching Spanish, Ms. Sanchirico will participate in an intensive language immersion program in Argentina through Middlebury College. Ms. Sanchirico will work with professors specializing in Southern Cone linguistics, politics, culture, and ... more »

Watch the Event!

 

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!

 

View and purchase your favorite photos from the evening. Did you step in to one of our photo booths? View and purchase your best shots here and here

 

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.