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Horace Mann Awardees

From the dozens of educators that NEA affiliates select, an expert panel chooses five to receive the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence.

Horace Mann Awardees receive $10,000, and special recognition at the NEA Foundation's Salute to Excellence in Education Gala. The panel selects one of these finalists to receive the NEA Member Benefits award and $25,000 at the gala.

Congratulations to our 2018 Awardees!

We are proud to recognize these five educators for their diligence and dedication to students, colleagues, community, and profession. The awardees are:

Revathi Balakrishnan, a talented and gifted educator at Patsy Sommer Elementary School in Austin, TX, nominated by the Texas State Teachers Association.

Bobbie Cavnar, a 12th grade language arts educator at South Point High School in Belmont, NC, nominated by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Afreen Gootee, a 6th to 8th grade math and social studies educator at the Georgetown School in Mechanicsville, VA, nominated by the Virginia Education Association.

Crystal May, a 4th grade educator at Pray-Woodman Elementary School in Maize, KS, nominated by the Kansas National Education Association.

Tia Mills, an exceptional student services educator at Eden Park Academy of Ethics and Excellence in Baton Rouge, LA, nominated by the Louisiana Association of Educators.

  • “Students excited about learning, making connections to the real world... these are the intangible rewards of teaching. ”

    Revathi Balakrishnan

    Talented and gifted educator, Patsy Sommer Elementary School, Austin, TX
  • “By teaching empathy in a world of numbers and data, metal and machines, we can make schools a garden of kindness, humanity, and hope.”

    Bobbie Cavnar

    12th grade language arts educator, South Point High School, Belmont, NC
  • “By building personal relationships with love and understanding, I can shape academic successes and affect the outcomes of my students' futures.”

    Afreen Gootee

    Math and social studies educator, The Georgetown School, Mechanicsville, VA
  • “First and foremost, I want my students to believe in themselves. I want them to understand that each and every one of them is capable of great things.”

    Crystal May

    4th grade educator, Pray-Woodman Elementary School, Maize, KS
  • “I can't think of a more rewarding career than one where you have the opportunity to impact the educational experiences of our precious children.”

    Dr. Tia Mills

    Exceptional student services educator, Eden Park Academy of Ethics and Excellence, Baton Rouge, LA

2018 Awardees

Revathi Balakrishnan

Texas State Teachers Association
3rd to 5th Grade Educator, Patsy Sommer Elementary School in Austin, TX

Ravathi Balakrishnan: Developing Curiosity
Educator Revathi Balakrishnan's Story

Bobbie Cavnar 

North Carolina Association of Educators
12th Grade Language Arts Educator, South Point High School in Belmont, NC

Bobbie Cavnar: 75% Pure Theatre
Educator Bobbie Cavnar's Story

Afreen Gootee 

Virginia Education Association
6th to 8th Grade Math and Social Studies Educator, Georgetown School in Mechanicsville, VA

Afreen Gootee: Making a Difference
Educator Afreen Gootee's Story

Crystal May 

Kansas National Education Association
4th Grade Educator, Pray-Woodman Elementary School in Maize, KS

Crystal May: The Kid Whisperer
Educator Crystal May's Story

Tia Mills

Louisiana Association of Educators
Exceptional Student Services Educator, Eden Park Academy of Ethics and Excellence in Baton Rouge, LA

Dr. Tia Mills: The Last Line of Defense
Educator Tia Mills' Story

Nominate an Educator

The NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence present an annual opportunity for NEA state leaders to collectively and publicly recognize and reward exemplary educators for their outstanding instruction and advocacy to advance the profession. Each NEA direct affiliate may nominate an educator to receive an Award for Teaching Excellence between September and May. Visit our Nominate an Educator page for more information and to submit a nomination.

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