Congratulations to the 42 public schools educators who were nominated by their NEA state affiliates for the 2016 NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence. 

Who are the 2016 Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipients? Get to know them!

These five extraordinary educators from across the country will receive the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence, $10,000, and recognition at the NEA Foundation's annual Salute to Excellence in Education Gala on February 12, 2016. 



“Every Veteran’s Day my students write letters to men and women serving our country overseas. The past three years, students have written letters asking general questions and telling servicemen and servicewomen about their typical days and about current events in the states. It has been beneficial for students to consider what patriotism truly means, to understand that something as simple as writing a letter can mean a great deal.”

Heather LaBarbara

West Jessamine Middle School

Nicholasville, KY


Read more about LaBarbara's belief in a library for every learner.



"Authentic learning experiences are embedded into my lessons to help diverse learners understand content… Students are often amazed at the way they excel in my class, and with that success I see their confidence transfer to other areas of their life.” 

Debra McDonald

Wayne County Schools Career Center

Smithville, OH


Read more about McDonald's take on teaching how to teach.





“If I understand my students, if I have connected with them in my classroom, I can provide the best teaching practices to ensure learning the content in an engaging atmosphere... Papers are handed in when done correctly and not on a specific due date. Formal assessments are done when the students tell me that they have learned enough and want a test.” 

Pam Wells

Mobridge-Pollock High School

Mobridge, SD


Read more about Wells' no right or wrong policy.




“I am teaching it forward. That is my philosophy of education. I will continue to grow as an educator and grow my profession by being involved in coaching my fellow educators. I will continue to use my voice and knowledge to advocate for my profession and the many students I teach every day.” 

Mohsen Ghaffari

North Star Elementary School

Salt Lake City, UT


Read more about  Ghaffari's belief in an education for all.




“To me, innovation… means being open to the idea that alternative approaches can work in tandem with tried and true methods to benefit all my students. For example, I have three students who are deaf and hard of hearing. I’ve begun using sign language to teach sight words to the entire class, and I’ve been thrilled with the results. I am able to meet the special needs of the deaf and hard of hearing students while also giving the rest of the class another approach to learning words.” 

Dirk Andrews

Evansville Elementary School

Evansville, WY


Read more about Andrews' looping classroom.