Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NEA Foundation Announces Finalists for National Education Award

WASHINGTON, DC  -- The NEA Foundation announces today the five national finalists for The NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence.  These five educators will be recognized as the top professionals in their field and the national winner will be announced at the Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education awards gala on Feb. 12, 2010 in Washington, DC.

The national winner will receive The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000.  The four other finalists will each be awarded The Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence and $10,000.

The five finalists are:

Sarah Baird, a math coach at Kyrene del Milenio and Kyrene de las Lomas Elementary Schools in Phoenix, Ariz.

Katherine Bishop, a special education teacher at Lake Park Elementary School in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, a second grade teacher at Dilworth Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tim McCollum, an eighth grade science teacher at Charleston Middle School in Charleston, Ill. 

Bob Williams, a high school math teacher at Colony High School in Palmer, Alaska.

The finalists were selected from 38 public school educators nominated by their peers for the Awards for Teaching Excellence.  The nominations were submitted by the educators’ National Education Association state affiliates.

“These educators have been selected by their peers because they have attained the highest standards of the profession, as shown by their exemplary instruction, advocacy for public education, a commitment to diversity, and engagement of parents and community,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “Honoring these educators is our way to thank them for their excellent work.”

In addition to the recognition, the five finalists are receiving digital arts training for their schools from the Pearson Foundation.  The finalists will then be honored at the gala with video profiles created by teams of students and teachers from their schools.  The video profiles of last year’s finalists can be viewed at 

Finalists’ schools also will receive learning technology products from the SMARTer Kids Foundation.

All state nominees will attend and be recognized at the gala.  The NEA Foundation also awards $750 to each of the state nominees’ schools and covers their travel to the gala.  Names and photos of the state nominees and national finalists can be viewed at

The NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence are given annually and recognize, reward, and promote excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession.  The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards with support from NEA Member Benefits, the Horace Mann Companies, and the Pearson Foundation.

About The NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, and others who support public education initiatives.We partner with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our blog.

‹‹ Back to News Releases