For the Media

Highlights from One of the Biggest Nights in Public Education

Highlights from One of the Biggest Nights in Public Education

Through powerful stories, awards presentations, and showstopping performances, the event often referred to as the “Academy Awards of Education” shone a bright spotlight on the night’s true stars: outstanding public school educators and organizations making a difference in public education. The NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education, which took place on Friday, May 3, recognizes the invaluable role of educators and public education in our society.

Whether you celebrated with us in person, watched the livestream, or are catching up on the event now, here are some 2024 Salute to Excellence in Education highlights!

Who received the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence, one of the top honors in public education?
  • Answer: Kimberly Johnson, educator and interventionist based in Auburn, Alabama.
Which awardee was founded by students and advocates for anti-racist curricula?
  • Answer: Diversify Our Narrative, a nation-wide student-run group opposing book bans and advocating for inclusive curricula in public schools, received the Student Voices for Education Award.
Which awardee has been a trailblazer in the push for global competency for more than 50 years?
  • Answer: Longview Foundation, a grant-making organization committed to building a peaceful and just world through global competency, received the Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education.
Which awardee hailing from Jackson, Miss. partners with communities, educators, and families to advance education equity and racial justice?
Which awardee traveled the furthest distance to attend the gala?
Who in the room was the winner of 2023-2024 Celebrity Jeopardy?
  • Answer: Lisa Ann Walter, actress and comedian best known for her roles in The Parent Trap and Abbott Elementary, and the host of this year’s event.
Which Biden Administration cabinet member spoke at the gala about the importance of education and building the educator workforce?
  • Answer: The Honorable Julie Su, United States Acting Secretary of Labor.
How many public school educators were honored?
  • Answer: 44 educators received this year’s Traveler’s Awards for Teaching Excellence.


Check out the full recording of the event for more inspiring moments and performances!