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

Patricia Keck

Riverview East High School, Marine City, MI
Grades 9-12, General Pedagogical Practice
2014, Spring

To gain a better understanding of the implementation of Project Based Learning (PBL), Mrs. Keck will attend the Buck Institute for Education’s PBL World conference. While there, Mrs. Keck will attend workshops that will provide information and resources to impact her ... more »

Deborah Dubord

Mt. Vernon Elementary School, Fayette, ME
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2014, Spring

Mrs. Dubord and Mrs. Hatt will convene a study group to deepen their ability to understand and effectively respond to the growing number of children entering school with a history of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The cohort will act as critical interventionists and ... more »

Jessica Powell

Henderson County Schools, Henderson, KY
Grades K-5, Special Education
2014, Spring

To improve her ability to engage with and support preschool children with special needs, Ms. Powell will participate in the Reggio Emilia study tour in Italy. Through the study, Ms. Powell will learn to use arts-based activities to support development and explore the design ... more »

Delena McGuire

Am Yealey Elementary Schoo, Florence, KY
Grades K-5, Language Arts
2014, Spring

Ms. McGuire and Mr. Eppley will take part in the Ron Clark Academy teacher training program. The experience will provide an in-depth look at a model school environment and introduce opportunities to witness innovative instructional strategies. The team will study new ways ... more »

Donna Bohlmann

Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Community School District, Eddyville, IA
Grades K-5, Gifted and Talented
2014, Spring

To improve the practice of enrichment-based differentiated teaching within multiple regional school districts, Mrs. Bohlmann will attend the Confratute Institute at the University of Connecticut. Upon completing the institute, Mrs. Bohlmann will lead a consortium of small ... more »

Abbey Evans

Culver Family Learning Center, Evansville, IN
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2014, Spring

Mrs. Evans will participate in the North American Study Group in Reggio Emilia, Italy. While there, she will visit preschools and infant toddler centers, form relationships with other early childhood educators, and experience research exhibitions at the Loris Malaguzzi ... more »

Robert Kuhn

Centennial High School, Roswell, GA
Grades 9-12, Science
2014, Spring

To strengthen his teaching practice and ensure that students learn biology more meaningfully, Mr. Kuhn will attend the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study/National Association of Biology Teachers AP Biology Leadership Academy. While there, Mr. Kuhn will learn to analyze ... more »

Dr. Marva McClean

City of Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School, Pembroke Pines, FL
Grades 6-8, Language Arts
2014, Spring

To expand her capacity to teach multicultural and culturally relevant pedagogy, Dr. McClean will attend the Mississippi Freedom Summer Conference. While there, Dr. McClean will attend seminars and present a paper on integrating themes of historical empowerment in classroom ... more »

Gretchen Wall

Vilseck Elementary School, Vilseck, Germany (Armed Forces),
Grades K-5, English
2014, Spring

Through the “Vilseck Elementary Literacy Initiative,” Mrs. Wall and colleagues will support a diverse group of students in becoming avid readers and writers. Mrs. Wall will participate in a summer reading and writing institute that will provide the foundation ... more »

Jeanette Scotti Millar

Columbine Elementary School, Boulder, CO
Grades K-5, General Pedagogical Practice
2014, Spring

Through Mindfulness training, Ms. Millar and her colleagues will learn how to reduce stress in their lives, which will allow them to become more effective in the classroom. Teachers will practice and then share with students multiple stress reduction and natural conflict ... more »

Lisa Okikawa

Huntington Beach Union High School District, Huntington Beach, CA
Grades 9-12, Special Education
2014, Spring

To better understand the skills individuals with disabilities (specifically those who are blind or visually impaired) need for viable employment, Ms. Okikawa will attend the Kennedy Center’s Leadership Exchange in Art and Disability Conference. Ms. Okikawa will ... more »

Chandra Friend

Irvington High School, Fremont, CA
Grades 9-12, Language Arts
2014, Spring

Ms. Friend, Mr. Mintey, and colleagues will revitalize Irvington High School’s arts-integrated curriculum and incorporate new pedagogical methods through training and collaboration time for both new and experienced educators. The project will support staff in ... more »

Amanda Umphrey

Springville High School, Springville, AL
Grades 9-12, Computers / Technology
2014, Spring

To investigate and explore the tools, strategies, and innovations related to cutting-edge technologies, Mrs. Umphrey will attend the Campus Technology Education Conference. While at the conference, Mrs. Umphrey will familiarize herself with tools that will enrich student ... more »

Dr. Karen Foster

Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL
Higher Education, General Pedagogical Practice
2014, Spring

To strengthen her skills as Alabama A&M University’s director of field experiences and school partnerships, Dr. Foster will attend the Leadership and Decision Making Conference at Harvard University. Upon returning from the conference, Dr. Foster will use the ... more »

Alyson Berg

Highland Elementary School, Highland, WI
Grades K-5, Computers / Technology
2014, Spring

Through “Item Not Found,” Ms. Berg and Ms. Doyle will encourage students to use technology to deepen their understanding of content and work towards becoming independent self-motivated learners. Students will develop 21st century skills by posing their own ... more »

Marc Abe

Petersburg High School, Petersburg, WV
Grades 9-12, Science
2014, Spring

Mr. Abe and Ms. Clay will bolster their biology lessons with hands-on applications of dissections. The lesson will provide students with a better understanding of body systems and how systems work in relation to one another in a variety of species. Students will dissect ... more »

Shannon Root

Cheney High School, Cheney, WA
Grades 9-12, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
2014, Spring

Cheney High School students will explore the concepts of energy types, transfers, production, and engineering in a series of hands-on inquiry activities. Each activity will be guided by a set of criteria, and within that range students will have the freedom to design and ... more »

Denise Wilson

Fairview Elementary School, Roanoke, VA
Grades K-5, Computers / Technology
2014, Spring

Mrs. Wilson and Ms. Altizer will use tablets to introduce students to quick response (QR) codes. The codes will initially be developed by teachers for student use of a self-checking activity in reading and math lessons. As students become familiar with the process, they ... more »

Matthew Rickard

Walter Hines Page High School, Greensboro, NC
Grades 9-12, Computers / Technology
2014, Spring

Mr. Rickard and Ms. Hackney will introduce “Life in Pictures,” a project in which students will use a video camcorder and computer software to embed movies into photographs. Students will use the principles of photography, film, and journalism to create videos ... more »

Melissa Hamlin

Central Middle School, Dobson, NC
Grades 6-8, Science
2014, Spring

Through “Up Next, The Weather,” students will become junior meteorologists by utilizing weather testing equipment and designing their own prototypes of tools to predict the weather. Students will work with community experts and gain 21st century skills as they ... more »

Karen Orchowski

Jean Nuzzi Intermediate School 109, Queens Village, NY
Grades 6-8, Science
2014, Spring

Ms. Orchowski and Mrs. Oneal-Suber will start a forensic science class that will partner with an after-school forensic science club. Students will distinguish between direct and circumstantial evidence, identify methods of crime scene documentation, construct and analyze ... more »

Melissa Seigel

P.S. 116M, New York, NY
Grades K-5, Arts
2014, Spring

A team of P.S. 116 educators will collaborate with NYChessKids to grow the implementation of curricular chess instruction in every kindergarten and first grade classroom. Each classroom will have a weekly period with a chess instructor who will provide students with lessons ... more »

Marisa Landy

Lenox School, Pompton Lakes, NJ
Grades K-5, Special Education
2014, Spring

To improve student writing fluency, Ms. Landy and Ms. Hennessey will introduce individual technology in the classroom. Students will use Google Drive to plan, draft, revise, edit, and share writing with multiple audiences. Peer-to-peer collaboration will prepare students ... more »

Guy Wadas

James Cashman Middle School, Las Vegas, NV
Grades 6-8, Science
2014, Spring

To stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and boost the enrollment of highly qualified girls in accelerated science classes, Mr. Wadas and Mrs. Radef will introduce the “Summer STEM Academy for Girls.” Students will ... more »

Barbara Bade

Highwood Hills Elementary School, Saint Paul, MN
Grades K-5, Special Education
2014, Spring

To address the technological needs of Highwood Hills Elementary School students, Ms. Bade and Mrs. Stern will introduce white boards, document cameras, and computers in their classrooms. Teachers will work with special needs students to introduce technology as an ... more »

Sarah Fritzke

Jordan Elementary School, Jordan, MN
Grades K-5, Mathematics
2014, Spring

Through “It Adds Up: A Math Resource Room,” Mrs. Fritzke and Mrs. McMahon will provide opportunities for growth in math learning for low and high achieving students. Jordan Elementary School students will have access to hands-on, engaging math materials through ... more »

Vicki Graham

Reeths Puffer/Central School, Muskegon, MI
Grades K-5, Education Support Professional
2014, Spring

Through “Reeths Puffer Links,” students will gain leadership and problem solving skills that will enable them to achieve new levels of compassion and understanding for their peers with special needs. Mrs. Graham and Mrs. Hoffman will encourage peer-to-peer ... more »

Erinn Hess

Mattawan Consolidated Schools, Mattawan, MI
Grades K-5, Special Education
2014, Spring

To assist special education students in meeting the demands of the Common Core Curriculum, Mrs. Hess and Mrs. Ludwig will introduce laptops and tablets in the classroom. Students will learn technology skills that will assist them in accessing employment opportunities, ... more »

Juliane Lally

Curran Early Childhood Education Center, Dedham, MA
Grades K-5, Science
2014, Spring

To provide early childhood learners with a hands-on science experience, Mrs. Lally and Mr. Sullivan will introduce “Savvy Scientists.” The project will help young children learn about numerous scientific topics through journal writing, garden and compost ... more »

David Hughes

West Middle School, Andover, MA
Grades 6-8, Physical Education / Health
2014, Spring

Mr. Hughes and Mr. Deschene will introduce “Warrior Wake-Up,” a fitness program that will include workouts and nutritious breakfasts three times a week before school starts. Students will wear heart monitors and track their progress. Ultimately, students will ... more »

April Thompson

South Street Elementary School, Opelousas, LA
Grades K-5, Computers / Technology
2014, Spring

Third and sixth grade students at South Street Elementary School will work together to create stories and poems using digital storytelling applications. Sixth grade students will act as mentors for the third grade students throughout the creative process. The students will ... more »

Heather Anderson

Cowles Montessori School, Windsor Heights, IA
Grades K-5, Science
2014, Spring

Through “School to Farm,” Ms. Anderson and Mrs. Parmerlee will expose urban students to agriculture. Students will be provided with hands-on learning opportunities by visiting small organic farms, large production farms, historical farms, and the Iowa State ... more »

Joanna Sierka

Waterbury Elementary School, Roselle, IL
Grades K-5, English
2014, Spring

Mrs. Sierka and Ms. Wazydrag will implement a research based Response to Intervention program to improve students’ reading abilities, language proficiency, confidence, and academic success. The project will provide the most struggling readers, mostly English Language ... more »

Melissa Hickey

Steele Elementary School, Galesburg, IL
Grades K-5, Language Arts
2014, Spring

Through “Readers are Leaders,” Mrs. Hickey and Mrs. Mowen will expand upon Steele Elementary School’s first grade reading centers by introducing them to second and third grade classrooms. The team will create a leveled library that will aim to increase ... more »

David Evans

Richard Yates School, Chicago, IL
Grades K-5, Computers / Technology
2014, Spring

Mr. Evans and Mr. Liberto will address the need for proper printing instruction by introducing “Printing for Success.” The team will create a manuscript curriculum that will detail the mechanics and detail of putting word to print. Through the use of tablets, ... more »

Julie Adams

Birch Elementary School, Nampa, ID
Grades K-5, Computers / Technology
2014, Spring

To improve technology access for students with mild to moderate disabilities, Ms. Adams and Mrs. Englund will introduce iPads in their classrooms. Tablet use will support the development of reading fluency as well as mathematical reasoning and problem solving ... more »

Ruth Goodwin

Burbank Elementary School, Merced, CA
Grades K-5, Science
2014, Spring

Through “Science for the Next Generation,” Mrs. Goodwin and Mrs. Gonzalez will enhance the Next Generation Science Standards for each of their grade levels with experiences in visual and performing arts and various technology applications. The project will be ... more »

Tandra Ericson

Mount Diablo Unified School District, Concord, CA
Grades K-5, Computers / Technology
2014, Spring

Through “Literacy for All,” Ms. Ericson and Ms. Conable will ensure that all students have the opportunity to express themselves through writing. The team will create a model literacy program for students with complex instructional needs that will develop ... more »

Judy Duke

Fairview High School, Cullman, AL
Grades 9-12, Special Education
2014, Spring

Ms. Duke will introduce tablet technology in her classroom of special needs students to introduce them to the skills needed to take online courses and prepare for the workforce. Students will learn through direct instruction via the tablets’ assistive technology. The ... more »

Beth Smith

Frank Elementary School, Kenosha, WI
Grades K-5, Mathematics
2014, Winter

Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Neumaier will lead a collegial study that will transform math instruction at Frank Elementary School from a whole group focus to a workshop approach. The new approach will encourage whole group instruction, guided and independent practice opportunities, ... more »

Douglas Ferguson

Martin Sortun Elementary, Kent, WA
Grades K-5, Science
2014, Winter

To increase faculty knowledge of the Next Generation Science Standards, Mr. Ferguson and Mrs. Rudolph will lead a book study of Betsy Fulwiler’s “Writing in Science” and Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey’s “Common Core ELA.” The project will ... more »

Nichole Calkins

Mount Rainier High School, Des Moines, WA
Grades 9-12, Physical Education / Health
2014, Winter

Mrs. Calkins and Mr. Sundblad will lead a team of elementary, middle, and high school teachers in designing a K-12 Physical Education curriculum map and professional development plans for a newly adopted PE curriculum and software system. The curriculum map will allow ... more »

Dr. Sue Rieg

Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
Higher Education, Special Education
2014, Winter

The Indiana Area School District and Indiana University of Pennsylvania will collaborate to design a partnership to improve early elementary learning and teaching and simultaneously improve the Early Childhood with Special Education program. A study group will be formed to ... more »

Jennifer Fontana

Alder Creek Middle School, Milwaukie, OR
Grades 6-8, General Pedagogical Practice
2014, Winter

Ms. Fontana will attend the "Tribes Training for District Trainers," which will enable her to train and support teachers to use the Tribes process to examine adolescent development and implement research-based teaching practices that create a caring and inclusive ... more »

Diana Pierson

Sheffield Middle School, Sheffield Village, OH
Grades 6-8, General Pedagogical Practice
2014, Winter

To improve her knowledge of behavior management, classroom management, bullying, and economic and social issues, Mrs. Pierson will attend the Character Development Seminar. Upon completing the seminar, Mrs. Pierson will share her newfound knowledge with her colleagues and ... more »

Dr. Theresa Capra

Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, NJ
Higher Education, General Pedagogical Practice
2014, Winter

To acquire insights into ways to better prepare future educators for rigorous teacher preparation programs, Dr. Capra will attend “Journey into the Future of Community College Education Programs,” a conference sponsored by the National Association of Community ... more »

Dr. William Roweton

Chadron State College, Chadron, NE
Higher Education, General Pedagogical Practice
2014, Winter

To assist classroom teachers in rural schools, Dr. Roweton and Dr. Brown will produce six self-paced instructional modules that will examine fundamental program assessment concepts. The web-based modules will reinforce psychometric knowledge and skills and emphasize ... more »

Susan Irion

Billings Public Schools, Billings, MT
Grades 9-12, Reading, Spelling, Writing
2014, Winter

Mrs. Irion and Ms. Martin will extend professional development opportunities within Billings Public Schools by incorporating effective tools for reflecting on instructional practices and student engagement and learning. Participants will film themselves teaching lessons and ... more »

Brad Ollmann

Saint Anthony Park Elementary School, Saint Paul, MN
Grades K-5, Music
2014, Winter

Mr. Ollmann will spend eleven weeks in central Mexico conducting choirs, studying Spanish, learning Mexican folk dances, and observing elementary music classes. While in Mexico, Mr. Ollmann will work with a music teacher who utilizes popular music to meet state and national ... more »

Jacqueline Walker

John F. Kennedy School, Holbrook, MA
Grades K-5, Nurse
2014, Winter

To improve student health and wellness, Mrs. Walker will attend a professional yoga training program. Upon returning, she will implement relaxation and behavioral control practices with students that will assist them in meeting their education goals. The practice of yoga ... 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.