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

Kristin Keane

Hillcrest Elementary School, San Francisco, CA
Grades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing
2013, Spring

Ms. Keane will travel to the Columbia University Teacher’s College Advanced Reading Institute to attend a course led by and grounded in the work of Lucy Calkins. During the workshop, Ms. Keane will deepen her understanding and approach to fiction and nonfiction ... more »

Meaghan Dieda

Dwyer Middle School, Huntington Beach, CA
Grades 6-8, Physical Education / Health
2013, Spring

Mrs. Dieda will be trained in “Where Everyone Belongs (WEB),” a structured environment program that guides incoming 6th and 7th grade students toward both academic and social success. After completing the training, Mrs. Dieda will lead a yearlong orientation and ... more »

Crystal Dennis

North Pole Middle School, North Pole, AK
Grades 6-8, Special Education
2013, Spring

To improve student reading performance, Mrs. Dennis and Mrs. Hawkins will lead a collegial study group for the development of high quality instructional practice. The team will work to increase instructional strategies in phonemic awareness, decoding skills, and reading ... more »

Donna Cuyler

South Milwaukee High School, South Milwaukee, WI
Grades 9-12, Computers / Technology
2013, Spring

Through the “Smart Cooperative,” students will work with individual art teachers to visualize “practicing peace.” Students will use iOS devices for the visual creation, alteration, storage, and display of personal art works. The project will ... more »

Brianne Gunn

Falling Creek Middle School, Richmond, VA
Grades 6-8, Science
2013, Spring

Mrs. Gunn and Mrs. Stankovich will conduct a service learning project that will allow students to serve their school, community, and state. Through learning about clean-up efforts in the James River watershed, students will have a direct impact on the health of the Falling ... more »

Courtney Reckord

Milton High School, Milton, VT
Grades 9-12, Arts
2013, Spring

Ms. Reckord and Mrs. Manley will introduce “Art: A Common Language,” a project that will use art to inspire communication between students in India and Milton, Vermont. Students in each site will use prompts to create art and then share their work through the ... more »

Maryjane Utley

Westerly High School, Westerly, RI
Grades 9-12, Science
2013, Spring

Through “Retooling Schooling: Student Directed Learning in the High School Science Classroom,” Ms. Utley and Mrs. Fastovsky will meet the needs of students in heterogeneously grouped science classrooms while providing opportunities to develop and practice 21st ... more »

Janelle Siket

Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29, Mar Lin, PA
Grades K-5, Computers / Technology
2013, Spring

Through “Learn, Play, Succeed: Empowering Early Learners through Technology,” Ms. Siket and Ms. Polley will improve literacy and the educational achievement levels of developmentally delayed preschool children. The project will allow Ms. Siket and Ms. Polley to ... more »

Faith Forshee

Crestview Heights School, Waldport, OR
Grades K-5, Computers / Technology
2013, Spring

To assist students in developing a lifelong sense of stewardship for the ocean and coastal communities, Mrs. Forshee and colleagues will lead a project stressing the connection between local and global coastal issues. The team will provide students 21st century learning ... more »

Emily Martine

Sitton Elementary School, Portland, OR
Grades K-5, Special Education
2013, Spring

Mrs. Martine and Mrs. Hefty will create a classroom resource library that will offer a diverse collection of assistive technological devices, switches, and accessible computer programs that will assist students with moderate to severe disabilities. Students will increase ... more »

Susan Anglada Bartley

Franklin High School, Portland, OR
Grades 9-12, Computers / Technology
2013, Spring

Mrs. Bartley and Mr. Butenhoff will incorporate technology to expand Franklin High School’s Advanced Scholar Program (ASP).  Students participating in the program will mentor struggling younger students and tutor students who need additional help. Additionally, ... more »

Laura Eschler

Coquille School District, Coquille, OR
Grades 9-12, Special Education
2013, Spring

To meet college credit requirements and increase curriculum offerings for high school students, Mrs. Eschler and Mr. Cumberland will promote a district-wide plan of accelerated college credit proficiency. Coquille School District (CSD) will partner with Southwestern Oregon ... more »

Charles Steinbower

William K. Willis High School, Columbus, OH
Grades 9-12, Librarian
2013, Spring

Mr. Steinbower will lead a civil rights and social justice unit that will have students examining the impact of the civil rights movement on the southern United States and apartheid on past, present, and future South Africa. Student and educators will attend a panel ... more »

Erin Daniels

Mount Vernon City Schools, Mount Vernon, OH
Grades 9-12, Mathematics
2013, Spring

Ms. Daniels’ students will use calculus, statistics, and physics concepts to determine the volume of a three dimensional object. Students will use integration techniques and linear regression modeling with statistical analysis to find a model that will determine the ... more »

Henry Encarnacion

The Frederick Douglass Academy, New York, NY
Grades 9-12, Mathematics
2013, Spring

To assist students struggling to master Integrated Algebra Standards, Mr. Encarnacion and Mr. Rodriguez will introduce netbooks in their classrooms. Using multiple mathematics programs and applications, teachers will promote self-directed learning and encourage learners to ... more »

Nancy Kaplan

JHS 227 Edward B. Shallow School, Brooklyn, NY
Grades 9-12, English
2013, Spring

Through “Journey into Journalism,” Mrs. Kaplan and Mrs. Dinkins will assist students in creating a newspaper that will promote student expression and build writing and analytical reading skills through interdisciplinary collaboration. Students will cover all ... more »

Kathleen Doherty-Hewins

Macopin Middle School, West Milford, NJ
Grades 6-8, Mathematics
2013, Spring

The “Flipping over Mathematics” project will use a blended learning approach to engage students by incorporating the digital world in classroom lessons.  Students will use tablets to strengthen math skills, deepen their understanding through richer ... more »

Clay Herron

Central Heights Elementary School, Billings, MT
Grades K-5, Computers / Technology
2013, Spring

To bolster Central Heights Elementary School’s web based Lead21 reading and math interventions, Mr. Herron and Mr. Mainwaring will introduce tablet technology in their classrooms. Students will have greater access to hands-on programs directly correlated with lessons. ... more »

Kevin Martin

Hazelwood East High School, Saint Louis, MO
Grades 9-12, Mathematics
2013, Spring

To improve problem solving and group work in Algebra I classrooms, Mr. Martin and Ms. Knight will introduce tablet technology.  Student collaboration will increase through the sharing of student work, problem sets, and e-portfolios. Mr. Martin and Ms. Knight will ... more »

Jennifer Bleckiner

Vandenboom Early Childhood Development Center, Marquette, MI
Grades K-5, Special Education
2013, Spring

Early childhood special education students will increase literacy, language, math, and communication skills through the strategic use of tablet technology.  Conferences between educators, speech-language pathologists, instructional program aides, and individual ... more »

Renee Laber

Morgan Elementary School, Shelby Township, MI
Grades K-5, English
2013, Spring

Mrs. Laber and Dr. Christ will integrate tablet technology into literacy instruction to facilitate critical thinking in fourth grade students. Through the lesson, students will focus on making inferences, comparing and contrasting, making connections, and analyzing texts. ... more »

Ilya Brecque

Durant-Tuuri-Mott School, Flint, MI
Grades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing
2013, Spring

Through “Stepping Stones to Reading and Writing Success,” students will work in small intervention groups towards grade level competency. The lowest performing students will receive strategies to enhance their fluency skills, learn to monitor and clarify their ... more »

Dwayne Dahlbeck

Braintree High School, Braintree, MA
Grades 9-12, Computers / Technology
2013, Spring

The Braintree High School Dual Enrollment Program (DEP) will allow at-risk students to take online courses with the support of specially trained educators, during which they will earn simultaneous high school and college credit. The primary focus of the program is to ... more »

Grant Acuna

Rocky Hill Middle School, Clarksburg, MD
Grades 6-8, Computers / Technology
2013, Spring

To address the unique learning needs of students with emotional disabilities, Mr. Acuna and Mrs. Keith will introduce tablet technology in their middle school classrooms. Student will analyze the text and delivery of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a ... more »

Alicia Stetler

Trewyn Day Treatment, Peoria, IL
Grades K-5, Special Education
2013, Spring

To improve students’ ability to express their needs and advocate for themselves, Ms. Stetler and Mrs. Maxwell will expose special needs students to various sensory therapies and equipment before and during classroom activities. Teachers and students will discover ... more »

Christine Voigt

J.D. Floyd K-8 School of Environmental, Spring Hill, FL
Grades 6-8, Physical Education / Health
2013, Spring

Ms. Voigt and Ms. Johnson will introduce the “Harvesting Health” project, which will infuse environmental science and health education through an interactive hands-on gardening project. Students will plant, care, harvest, and maintain a fruit tree grove and ... more »

Arlene Costello

Ensley Elementary School, Pensacola, FL
Grades K-5, English
2013, Spring

Mrs. Costello and Mrs. Wells will introduce “Language Acquisition through Arts, Science, and Technology” to improve the academic achievement of English Language Learners. The project will provide activities that promote service learning through youth gardening, ... more »

Jennifer Allison

Harmony High School, Saint Cloud, FL
Grades 9-12, English
2013, Spring

To demonstrate how people’s words and actions can have massive impacts on society, Ms. Allison will introduce a lesson examining the events and forces that led to the Holocaust. Students will participate in literature circles and will analyze artwork and primary ... more »

Ellen Harvey

Charlotte County Schools, Port Charlotte, FL
Grades 9-12, Arts
2013, Spring

Mrs. Harvey and Mrs. Morehouse will introduce students to the Common Core Reading Standards through arts and science integration. Activities will address standards for writing, speaking, and listening, as well as the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for art and ... more »

Addie Lewis

Ocean Air School, San Diego, CA
Grades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing
2013, Spring

Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Tech will implement a supplemental intervention project to maximize learning opportunities and incorporate best teaching methodologies for struggling readers. Working in small groups with teacher support, students will become more confident through ... more »

Cara Hale-Hanes

Polytechnic High School, Long Beach, CA
Grades 9-12, Science
2013, Spring

Mrs. Hale-Hanes and Dr. Gundry will develop curriculum addressing the limited availability of potable water in many parts of the world. Students will engage in a series of investigations designed to encourage critical thinking about the challenges of making unsafe water ... more »

Chara Rodrigues

John Baldwin Elementary School, Danville, CA
Grades K-5, Reading, Spelling, Writing
2013, Spring

Mrs. Rodrigues and Mrs. Dunlap will create a leveled reading library to support students upon the implementation of the Common Core Reading Standards. Students will practice deep comprehension and close interpretive reading, write in a range of genres, and solve problems. ... more »

Leslie Schicht

Global Connections High School, Seatac, WA
Grades 9-12, English
2013, Winter

Jeff Halstead

Ferris High School, Spokane, WA
Grades 9-12, English
2013, Winter

Caroline Hay

Tualatin High School, Tualatin, OR
Grades 9-12, Mathematics
2013, Winter

Mary Jo Behrensmeyer

Mount Vernon High School, Mount Vernon, OH
Grades K-5, Foreign Language Teacher
2013, Winter

Aaron Slodounik

Queensborough Community College, Bayside, NY
Higher Education, Lecturer
2013, Winter

Jennifer Kibler

East Aurora School District, East Aurora, NY
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Melissa Stein

Theunis Dey Elementary School, Wayne, NJ
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Eboni Walker

Sargent Shriver Elementary, Silver Spring, MD
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Grand Pacheco

Bradbury Heights Elementary School, Capitol Heights, MD
Grades K-5, Special Education
2013, Winter

Jamie Purnell

Messalonskee High School, Oakland, ME
Grades 9-12, Science
2013, Winter

Jackie Kessler

Mount Washington Elementary School, Mount Washington, KY
Grades K-5, Mathematics
2013, Winter

Anthony Svozil

Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Flossmoor, IL
Grades K-5, Science
2013, Winter

Lillian Santiago

Fulford Elementary School, North Miami Beach, FL
Grades K-5, Math and Science
2013, Winter

Alison Awai

Curtner Elementary School, Milpitas, CA
Grades K-5, Special Education
2013, Winter

Barbara Gosney

Fireside Elementary School, Phoenix, AZ
Grades K-5, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
2013, Winter

Linsay DeMartino

Pueblo Magnet High School, Tucson, AZ
Grades 9-12, Exceptional Education
2013, Winter

Natalee Van Gelder

Rincon High School, Tucson, AZ
Grades 9-12, Exceptional Education
2013, Winter

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

 

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.