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

Robyn Myrum

Joy Elementary, Fairbanks, AK
Grades K-5, Physical Education / Health
2013, Winter

Dr. DeShannon McDonald

Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Montgomery, AL
Grades K-5, Law
2013, Winter

Erica Winkler

Eisenhower Elementary School, Green Bay, WI
Grades K-5, School Social Worker
2013, Winter

Shana Ferguson

Peter S. Ogden Elementary School, Vancouver, WA
Grades K-5, Mathematics
2013, Winter

Shana Ferguson

Peter S. Ogden Elementary School, Vancouver, WA
Grades K-5, Librarian
2013, Winter

Shannon Wyant

Mt. Pilchuck Elementary School, Lake Stevens, WA
Grades K-5, Special Education
2013, Winter

Dr. Leslie Chekin

Annandale High School, Annandale, VA
Grades 9-12, English
2013, Winter

Dr. Evelyn Dwyer

Love Chapel Elementary School, Erwin, TN
Grades K-5, Music
2013, Winter

Sandy Williams

Burke Elementary School, Burke, SD
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Erin Walsh

Central Bucks West High School, Doylestown, PA
Grades 9-12, Mathematics
2013, Winter

Vanessa Strassner

Hyde Elementary School, Coraopolis, PA
Grades K-5, Special Education
2013, Winter

Michelle Peake

César Chávez School, Portland, OR
Grades K-5, School Counselor
2013, Winter

Shellie Herrmann

Legend Elementary School, Newark, OH
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Jodi Dobben

Ella Canavan Elementary School, Medina, OH
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Jessica Nugent

Keene Central School, Keene Valley, NY
Grades K-5, Special Education
2013, Winter

Danielle Lerro

CIS 303, Bronx, NY
Grades 6-8, Teacher
2013, Winter

Aileen Florio

Pearl R. Miller Middle School, Kinnelon, NJ
Grades 6-8, English
2013, Winter

Mary Robinson

Fremont Public Schools, Fremont, NE
Grades K-5, Teacher of the Blind
2013, Winter

Lisa Partney Nicholson

Prairie View Elementary, O’Fallon, MO
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Mary Theresa Schmitz

Hassan Elementary School, Rogers, MN
Grades K-5, School Social Worker
2013, Winter

Robert Zbikowski

Hibbing Community College, Hibbing, MN
Higher Education, Science
2013, Winter

Jennifer Strickland

Laingsburg High School, Laingsburg, MI
Grades 9-12, English
2013, Winter

Mary Jo Erickson Connor

Nessacus Regional Middle School, Dalton, MA
Grades 6-8, Mathematics
2013, Winter

Stephen Sell

Clarksburg High School, Clarksburg, MD
Grades 9-12, Computers / Technology
2013, Winter

Tamara Hofer Voegeli

Riverside Elementary School, Sioux City, IA
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Tim Sanders

Loogootee Intermediate School, Loogootee, IN
Grades 6-8, Teacher
2013, Winter

Cara Garmon

Judith Giacoma Elementary School, Westville, IL
Grades K-5, Physical Therapist
2013, Winter

Judy Shipman

Jefferson Early Childhood Center, Moline, IL
Grades K-5, Special Education
2013, Winter

Jennifer Rizzo

Bradley East Elementary School, Bradley, IL
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Angela Scott

Alton High School, Alton, IL
Grades 9-12, School Social Worker
2013, Winter

Orly Garcia

Miami Beach Senior High School, Miami Beach, FL
Grades 9-12, Social Studies
2013, Winter

Donna Phoenix

Michael F. Wallace Middle School, Waterbury, CT
Grades K-5, Physical Education
2013, Winter

Erin Pasillas

Selma Unified School District, Selma, CA
Grades K-5, Resource Specialist
2013, Winter

Georgette Whitbred

Niles Elementary School, Fremont, CA
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Kathleen Bailey

Oakland Technical High School, Oakland, CA
Grades 9-12, English
2013, Winter

Nancy Garcia

UCLA Community School, Los Angeles, CA
Grades K-5, Teacher
2013, Winter

Nicole Cunha

Firebaugh High School, Firebaugh, CA
Grades 9-12, Education Support Professional
2013, Winter

Moriel Purnell

Bush Middle School, Birmingham, AL
Grades 6-8, Mathematics
2013, Winter

Mary Sue Walker

Nathan Hale High School, Seattle, WA
Grades 9-12, Science
2012, Spring

Ms. Walker will study at Mexico’s El Eden Biological Preserve, where she will gain field research skills and gather baseline data on the biodiversity of the area. Work will be conducted with a team of teacher researchers to learn field method protocols and tools ... more »

William Van Evera

HB Woodlawn School, Arlington, VA
Grades 9-12, Education Support Professional
2012, Spring

Dr. Van Evera will lead a collegial reading group focused on building a sense of community among staff members and understanding how data analysis techniques can be used to guide continuous school improvement. Group readings will focus on school environment as an ... more »

Marie White

Red Hill Elementary School, North Garden, VA
Grades K-5, Education Support Professional
2012, Spring

Ms. White and Ms. Hilker will lead a study group focusing on the use of differentiation through the discussion of proactive, purposeful, responsive, and learner centered instruction. The group will target specific concepts and strategies related to differentiation ... more »

Angela Eckhoff

Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
Higher Education, Education Support Professional
2012, Spring

Dr. Eckhoff will guide a teacher learning community of recent graduates as they navigate their first teaching year in a primary grades classroom. Acting as a participant observer, Dr. Eckhoff will facilitate face-to-face and virtual meetings, collect group ... more »

Ruth McDonald

Lincoln County School District, Newport, OR
Grades K-5, Science
2012, Spring

Lincoln County School District will partner with the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Westwind Stewardship Group, and Willamette University to facilitate a two day science workshop for district educators. Participants will engage in field studies of unique biological ... more »

Jennifer Randolph

Denver Place Elementary, Wilmington, OH
Grades K-5, Science
2012, Spring

Through a partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo, Miami University, and Project Dragonfly, Mrs. Randolph will travel to Belize to take part in Earth Expeditions. Mrs. Randolph will participate in investigations to monitor manatee population dynamics, human influence on ... more »

Emily Bowman

Harry Russell Elementary, West Carrollton, OH
Grades K-5, Science
2012, Spring

Mrs. Bowman will participate in Earth Expeditions, a global conservation and education program that promotes inquiry based learning and experiences for students. Mrs. Bowman will learn in the field with other educators and conservationists from around the world. Upon ... more »

Andrea Dempsey Moore

Hall-Woodward Elementary, Winston Salem, NC
Grades K-5, Education Support Professional
2012, Spring

Ms. Dempsey Moore will participate in the “Maximizing Leadership Potential” workshop at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. Through the workshop, Ms. Dempsey Moore will prepare to become an effective teacher leader through ... more »

Jamie Maholchic

Norwich High School, Norwich, NY
Grades 9-12, Social Studies
2012, Spring

Mrs. Maholchic will attend the AP Annual Conference, where she will present the seminar “Teaching Timed Writing: A Gradual Release Model.”  During the session, she will share strategies that she has developed in her classroom to improve student writing ... 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!

 

If you attended the gala, you can view and purchase your favorite shots from the photo booth 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.