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.

2020 Awardees To Be Announced Later This Fall



  • “The most critical component of education is the teacher. Students thrive when teachers are empowered with thoughtful and consistent training.”

    Matthew Bacon-Brenes

    Dual language immersion mentor teacher, Portland Public Schools, Portland, OR
  • “To be an excellent educator, the most important thing is to create relationships with students that foster communication and cultural understanding.”

    Leah Juelke

    9th to 12th grade language arts educator for English learner students, Fargo South High School, Fargo, ND
  • “Teaching is one of the most rewarding professions in the world. You see the best in humanity and the future..."”

    Dan Ryder

    9th to 12th grade language arts educator, Mt. Blue High School, Farmington, ME
  • “A great educator teaches everyone, every day, in small ways.”

    Cynthia Tong

    8th grade social studies educator, Ewa Makai Middle School, Ewa Beach, HI
  • “The impact that we make on the lives of students and that they make on us is powerful, life-changing, and enduring.”

    Cicely Woodard

    8th grade mathematics educator, Freedom Middle School, Franklin, TN

2019 Awardees

Matthew Bacon-Brenes

Oregon Education Association.
Dual language immersion mentor teacher in Portland Public Schools in Portland, OR

Matthew Bacon-Brenes - Speaking the Culture
Educator Matthew Bacon-Brenes' Story

Leah Juelke

North Dakota United
9th to 12th grade language arts educator for English learner (EL) students at Fargo South High School in Fargo, ND

Leah Juelke - The Faces of America
Educator Leah Juelke's Story

Dan Ryder

Main Education Association
9th to 12th grade language arts educator at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, ME

Dan Ryder - Success and Innovation
Educator Dan Ryder's Story

Cynthia Tong

Hawaii State Teachers Association
8th grade social studies educator at Ewa Makai Middle School in Ewa Beach, HI

Cynthia Tong - Kinesthetics
Educator Cynthia Tong's Story

Cicely Woodard

Tennessee Education Association
8th grade mathematics education at Freedom Middle School in Franklin, TN

Educator Cicely Woodard's 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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