For the Media

Winona, MN educator to receive national award for sustained commitment to global learning

Winona, MN educator to receive national award for sustained commitment to global learning

Washington, D.C. (January 31, 2019) Luke Merchlewitz, a second grade teacher in Winona, MN will receive the 2019 Harriet Sanford Award for Distinguished Global Learning at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala to be held in Washington, DC on February 8, 2019.

The award was created in honor of the NEA Foundation’s outgoing President and CEO, Harriet Sanford, for her fourteen years of service in support of educators across the country. The award recognizes an alumnus of the NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellowship who has demonstrated sustained commitment to global learning, both through his or her teaching practice and through ongoing engagement with the Foundation’s community of Global Learning Fellows.

Merchlewitz was selected for the award due to his tremendous advocacy of global education. Since joining the inaugural cohort of Fellows in 2011, Merchlewitz has become a valued thought leader—serving as an architect of the program’s redesign, a mentor to new Fellows, and a reviewer of applications. His contributions to global learning have extended beyond the Foundation. He was selected to join the Agastya International Foundation Maverick Teachers Global Summit in India. The Global Summit brought together 47 educators from around the world to discuss global learning and create their own pedagogy models based on the UN’s Sustainability Goals.

The award’s namesake, Harriet Sanford, was a public school educator and an avid world traveler, who also lived, studied, and worked in three countries on three continents. “Harriet came to the NEA Foundation with a passionate belief that the future belongs to those who have knowledge about other cultures and the disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance.” said Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, Chair of the NEA Foundation Board of Directors. “This translated into the creation of the NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellowship program, which has helped hundreds of educators to add a global perspective to their teaching—and cultivate the same in their students.”

In addition to Merchlewitz, 46 educators from around the country will receive the prestigious Awards for Teaching Excellence at the Salute to Excellence in Education Gala. The Gala will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NEA Foundation, a public charity founded by educators for educators. The Gala will be live streamed from, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on February 8, and live tweeted using the event hashtag #NEAFGala.