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.
Shorewood High School, Shoreline, WA Grades 9-12, Special Education 2013, Spring
Ms. Mills will participate in the Combined Summer Institute, which will address support for students with deaf-blindness, multiple disabilities, and autism. While attending, Ms. Mills will gain vital knowledge that will enable her to more effectively support students with ... more »
Viewlands Elementary School, Seattle, WA Grades K-5, Special Education 2013, Spring
Mrs. Silvia and a team of colleagues will learn to work with behaviorally challenged special needs students. The team will learn to execute Applied Behavioral Analysis in the classroom, support students with autism and oppositional defiance, and manage disruptive behavior ... more »
Two Rivers High School, Ogden, UT Grades 9-12, English 2013, Spring
Mrs. Cox will improve her English teaching practice by attending the National Council of Teachers of English’s Annual Convention. During the convention, Mrs. Cox will attend workshops, listen to keynote speakers, and work with leaders in the field. Following the ... more »
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM Higher Education, General Pedagogical Practice 2013, Spring
Dr. Perez will travel to Cuernavaca, Mexico, to participate in a language and culture immersion program for educators. While living with a host family, she will participate in language study and visit elementary schools and historical sites to learn about Mexican culture ... more »
Keystone Oaks School District, Pittsburgh, PA Grades 6-8, Foreign Language Teacher 2013, Spring
To develop the necessary skills and acquire the technology needed to record her lectures, Mrs. Brill will attend workshops and conferences through the Flipped Learning Network. Upon completing the training, Mrs. Brill will pilot a “flipped learning curriculum” ... more »
Portland Community College, Portland, OR Grades K-5, Science 2013, Spring
Ms. Kaplan will participate in the “Earth Expeditions Primate Conservation” course in Borneo and work with other educators to conduct field studies in an environment of extraordinary cultural and ecological diversity. Ms. Kaplan will learn to apply field methods ... more »
Bixby Public Schools, Bixby, OK Grades 9-12, General Pedagogical Practice 2013, Spring
To immerse herself in in-depth learning experiences with colleagues from throughout the nation, Ms. Adams will attend the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association Schools Conference. While attending, Ms. Adams will participate in sessions that will offer updates on ... more »
Memorial High School, West New York, NJ Grades 9-12, Arts 2013, Spring
Ms. Atkinson will travel to South Africa to conduct a case study for the development of a cross curricular unit on human rights, the Holocaust, and genocide studies. While abroad, Ms. Atkinson will conduct a performance workshop with a group of adolescents affected by the ... more »
Edward W. Clark High School, Las Vegas, NV Grades 9-12, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) 2013, Spring
Mrs. Vine will attend the National Science Teachers Association’s STEM Forum and will present on cross-curricular connections and solutions to promote weather and climate readiness. Forum workshops will provide a venue for Mrs. Vine and colleagues to collaborate ... more »
Grenada School District, Grenada, MS Grades K-5, Math and Science 2013, Spring
To prepare for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, 4th through 8th grade teachers in the Grenada School District will meet monthly to study and engage in the new standards. Through a partnership with the Center for Mathematics and Science ... more »
Hilton Elementary School, Brighton, MI Grades K-5, Arts 2013, Spring
Mrs. Shah will attend the “Reading and Writing Project” at Columbia University’s Teachers College. While there, she will work in advance sessions to improve her proficiency in the Common Core Reading Standards.Upon returning to Hilton Elementary ... more »
North Brookfield Public Schools, North Brookfield, MA Grades K-5, Mathematics 2013, Spring
To aid in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Mr. Mooney and Mrs. Laflamme will implement “Creating a Mathematical Community.” The project will provide coaching, support, modeling, and guidance to all elementary school staff throughout ... more »
Prairie Creek Elementary School, Spring Hill, KS Grades K-5, School Counselor 2013, Spring
Mrs. Lawson and Mrs. Moore will organize “iPad Applications for Classroom Instruction,” a district-wide professional learning community. Through group activities, Mrs. Lawson and Mrs. Moore will facilitate effective teaching through the examination of ... more »
Riverton High School, Riverton, IL Grades 9-12, School Counselor 2013, Spring
To better enhance students’ critical thinking and problem solving skills, Riverton High School will strengthen its “Project Lead the Way (PLTW)” curriculum. Required training will be provided to educators for certification, which will allow them to teach a ... more »
Harry S. Truman College, Chicago, IL Higher Education, General Pedagogical Practice 2013, Spring
A team of high school and college teachers will coordinate “GEARed UP for Truman,” a summer college readiness program for Chicago public high school graduates who have applied to Truman College and tested below college levels on the COMPASS placement exam. The ... more »
Cary-Grove High School, Cary, IL Grades 9-12, Teacher 2013, Spring
Mr. Cook will embark upon an action research project studying the business and economics of Northern Kenya’s desert region. Mr. Cook will examine and record the actions being taken by Non-Governmental Organizations to develop a sustainable marketplace for an ... more »
Alton High School, Alton, IL Grades 9-12, English 2013, Spring
Mr. Hudson and Mrs. Brave will create a literacy library at Alton High School. Working with teachers throughout the district, the team will assist in delivering literacy-based instruction across all content areas. Educators will be provided with strategies to ... more »
Westhill High School, Stamford, CT Grades 9-12, Science 2013, Spring
To study the social and environmental effects of rising sea levels, Mrs. Grant will travel to Venice, Italy and Kiel, Germany to participate in the “Cities by the Sea” program. While studying urban coastal zone processes and city management, Mrs. Grant will ... more »
James Monroe Elementary School, Santa Rosa, CA Grades K-5, Computers / Technology 2013, Spring
To address the implementation of the Common Core Standards at James Monroe Elementary School, Mr. Persinger will travel to Manchester, New Hampshire to participate in the “Constructing Modern Knowledge” program. During the program, Mr. Persinger will refine ... more »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
It is our pleasure to distinguish these extraordinary educators with the 2016 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: Esai Morales, award-winning actor and gala host; Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation; Debra McDonald; Gary Phoebus, President and CEO of NEA Member Benefits.
In the evening’s finale, Debra McDonald, an early childhood education instructor at Wayne County Schools Career Center in Smithville, Ohio, took home the top honor: the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000!
Watch Debra McDonald’s acceptance speech below.
Five educators receive top awards
Photo: Dirk Andrews, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (WY); Pam Wells, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (SD); Debra McDonald, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (OH); Crystal Brown, The NEA Foundation Board Chair; Lily Eskelsen Garcia, NEA President; Heather LaBarbara, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (KY); Mohsen Ghaffari, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (UT)
Watch all five videos, which premiered during the gala, that students created using iPads to honor their award-winning educators.
Harriet Sanford shares story of hearing from former student—40 years later
Watch Harriet Sanford, the NEA Foundation's President and CEO, share a heartfelt story about a blast from her past — a text message she received from a student she taught 40 years ago — below.
Hispanic Scholarship Fund honored
Photo:Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation; Esai Morales, award-winning actor and gala host; Crystal Brown, NEA Foundation Board Chair; Fidel A. Vargas, President and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund; Stephen Eulie, Executive Vice President of Consumer Banking, First National Bank of Omaha
The NEA Foundation also presented the Hispanic Scholarship Fund with the First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education, paying tribute to their distribution of more than $470 million dollars in scholarships Latino college-bound students since 1975.
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.
Watch Fidel A. Vargas, President and CEO, accept the award of the behalf of Hispanic Scholarship Fund below.
With host, actor and activist Esai Morales
Photo: Esai Morales, award-winning actor and self-described "actorvist," reads tweets from the audience live on stage: "@MarkMautone: @Esai_Morales you rocked it! Thank you for supporting educators."
This year, Esai Morales, an accomplished actor who appeared in the biopic “La Bamba,” the HBO Series, “The Brink,” and the television series “NYPD Blue” and “Criminal Minds,” served as charismatic emcee and host. Morales cofounded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, following in the activist footsteps of his mother, who was an organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
That night, he 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
Photo: Students from the Young People's Chorus of New York City, which now has 1,400 students from New York, ages 7 to 18, participate annually.
With students at the center of public education, a group of English Language Learner students, who participated in a NEA Foundation-funded, high school theater program in Annandale, Virginia, also took center stage to perform Shakespeare. The Young People's Chorus of New York City wowed audiences with renditions from "The Sound of Music," and audiences also enjoyed the music and dance of Furia Flamenca and Torcuato Zamora, an accomplished flamenco guitarist from Spain.
Watch the Young People's Chorus of New York City perform the evening's finale below.
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 10, 2017.