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Our Favorite NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala Moments

Was it the first ever on-stage selfie or the brilliant smiles on the faces of 39 educators and the cheers they received as they crossed the stage to receive the 2015 California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence?

Or was it the gifted student performers who danced, sang, spoke, and played to honor these public school educators? Maybe it was the beautiful, smart and savvy Anne-Marie Johnson, the actress and activist who hosted this year’s gala. We’re having a tough time picking our favorite moment, so we’re celebrating them all with a recap of the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala held Feb. 13, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

In the evening’s much-anticipated finale, Terri Butts, a curriculum effectiveness specialist at the Richland Two Child Development Center in Columbia, SC, took home the top honor: the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000!

Watch Terri Butts acceptance speech. 

Special honoree, Christopher Myers, an award-winning illustrator and children’s book author, reminded the more than 800 guests and more than 1,000 live stream viewers, “You can’t count the moment that you reach a child…We understand, here in this room, that we are in the business of that which Is not countable.”

Watch Christopher Myers’ acceptance speech.

Myers accepted the First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education, honoring him and his father, the late Walter Dean Myers, for their lifelong contribution to children’s literature. Blessed Sheriff, a poet and a Montgomery County Public Schools high school senior, paid tribute to him and his father in her own powerful voice.

Miss any of these moments? See highlights from public education’s big night below.

Watch the entire show, and let us know what your favorite moment was. Did you attend? Check out photos from the night in our Facebook album.

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