The National Building Museum
401 F Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
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More than 800 national leaders in education, philanthropy, and business, gathered at the National Building Museum in the nation’s capital on February 8, 2013 to celebrate the best in public education. Through dance, music, and readings, student performers from Lee County, FL— an NEA Foundation funded site— brought to life the essays, poems, and short stories written by their peers and inspired by their teachers.
In addition to the 38 educators honored with the California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence, the following top honors were presented.
Kevin Eubanks, former music director of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” son of a music teacher, and proponent of music in the classroom, hosted the evening's event. Eubanks shared the stage with Lee County students to perform the evening’s finale.
Pennsylvania Educator Leslie Nicholas receives the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence
Leslie Nicholas, a language arts teacher at Wyoming Valley West Middle School in Kingston, PA and member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, received the evening's top honor: The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000. Nicholas’ students have already benefited from his award. They received digital arts training from the Pearson Foundation to produce a video profiling their teacher, which premiered at the Gala.
(L to R: Gary Phoebus, President & CEO of NEA Member Benefits; Leslie Nicholas, NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence recipient; Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association; Harriet Sanford, President & CEO of The NEA Foundation; Mike Crossey, President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association; Mark Chichester, Board Chair of The NEA Foundation Board of Directors)
First Book receives the Security Benefit Corporation Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education
The NEA Foundation presented the 2013 award to First Book, accepted by Kyle Zimmer, President of First Book. A recognized leader in social enterprise, First Book has pioneered groundbreaking channels to provide new books and educational resources at deeply reduced prices—and for free—to schools and programs serving children in need. Ninety-seven percent of First Book's revenue goes directly to providing new books to kids in need. To date, First Book has distributed 100 million books to children in thousands of schools throughout the US and Canada.
In partnership with Lee County Public Schools and the NEA Foundation, First Book will donate 20,000 new books in honor of the six student authors whose work was selected to be presented at the NEA Foundation’s annual Gala.
(L to R: Michael P. Kiley, CEO of Security Benefit Corporation; Kyle Zimmer, President of First Book; Harriet Sanford, President & CEO of The NEA Foundation; Mark Chichester, Board Chair of The NEA Foundation Board of Directors)
Daniel Leeds of Alliance for Excellent Education receives the NEA Foundation Award for Philanthropy in Public Education
The NEA Foundation presented the 2013 award to Daniel Leeds, Cofounder and Board Chair of the Alliance for Excellent Education and founder of the Education Funder Strategy Group for his extraordinary commitment to informing and transforming public education policy at the national level.
Daniel Leeds has demonstrated leadership in the development and implementation of a federal public education policy agenda that supports effective high school reforms. Since he helped found the Alliance for Excellent Education in 2001, he has been at the forefront of their work to make quality public education for all students a national priority. In addition to the Alliance and the Education Funders Strategy Group, Leeds and his extended family, the Leeds and Jobin-Leeds, have launched, funded, and advocated on behalf of the Schott Foundation for Public Education and the Institute for Student Achievement and other organizations with similar goals.
Leeds also serves as President of Fulcrum Investments LLC, a private investment firm. Until the sale of CMP Media in 1999, he was President of International Publishing and a member of the Office of the President. CMP, a leading media company, published titles such as Information Week, Computer Reseller News and Electronic Engineering Times. The company was cited as “One of the Best Companies to Work for” by Fortune and Working Women magazines.
(L to R: Harriet Sanford, President & CEO of The NEA Foundation; Daniel Leeds, Cofounder and Board Chair of the Alliance for Excellent Education; Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association)