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Foundation Update Feb/March 2020

Educators Take Center Stage at NEA Foundation

More than 800 educators and public education advocates celebrated the achievements of outstanding educators from across the country at the NEA Foundation Salute to Excellence in Education Gala in Washington, DC on February 7. Alhassan Susso (pictured below), a 12th grade social studies teacher at International Community High School in The Bronx, NY, received the top honor, the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence. Learn more about Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence educators Kerisa Baedke, Jessica Jernegan, Patricia Hannon, and Elizabeth Sked, who also were honored at the Gala. 

In total, 45 outstanding educators were recognized at the Gala. The NEA Foundation also honored educator and researcher Linda Darling-Hammond for her work to advance systemic change in education.

Global Learning Fellows Past & Present Join Forces in Impactful Empathy Lesson

Melissa Collins, a 2013 and 2019 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow, and Michael Dunlea, 2020 Global Learning  Fellow, made national news in January for bringing their two classrooms together for lessons on understanding your neighbors around you. The two classrooms were profiled on NBC Nightly News for celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday together although 1,000 miles apart, using the video service Empatico, a free tool connecting classrooms around the world.

Students from both communities collaborated on projects centered on the Civil Rights Movement to build a foundation of racial understanding with students from a community different from their own. In recognition of her continued work to champion global education, Collins also received the Harriet Sanford Award for Distinguished Global Learning at the NEA Foundation Salute to Excellence in Education Gala.

Educator and Author Makes Lasting Connection at Conference with Help of Foundation Grant

NEA Foundation Learning and Leadership Grantee and gifted intervention specialist, Jen Molitor, recently authored a book, The Happy Teacher’s Handbook, providing a powerful insight for teachers ready to shift their instructional focus to support a curriculum based on the whole child.

While attending the Solutions for Standards-Based Grading Workshop in Colorado last year funded by the Foundation, she not only gained new tools for how to implement standards-based grading in her school but also made a meaningful connection with a new ally in supporting educators.

Tammy Heflebower, a renowned school leader and consultant with deep experience in urban, rural, and suburban districts throughout the United States, was a presenter at the Colorado conference. After meeting and finding common ground with Molitor on the needs of educators, she ultimately wrote the foreword to her book.

Sponsor Spotlight: Southwest Airlines

Dubbed the “Official Airline of the NEA Foundation,” Gala sponsor Southwest Airlines  has continued its support of public educators by providing roundtrip tickets for our California Casualty and Horace Mann awardees to the 2020 Gala, ensuring they were present to be honored for their dedication to the promise of public education.

More than half of awardees traveled compliments of Southwest Airlines. A sponsor since 2017, Southwest has supported the Foundation beyond our Gala awardees, for instance, enabling travel for a number of Global Learning Fellows to Washington D.C. for a peer-to-peer workshop in the fall. 

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