For the Media

Show your love for educators on Valentine’s Day Eve: Watch gala LIVE!

Show your love for educators on Valentine’s Day Eve: Watch gala LIVE!

Special gala honorees, the late author, Walter Dean Myers, and his son, award-winning illustrator, Christopher Myers, collaborated on a number of children’s books. 

Watch the entire event, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at, or follow @NEAFoundation for live Twitter coverage and the best moments using the hashtag #neafgala. Want to know when to tune in? View the schedule of events. 

On February 13th, 2015 the NEA Foundation will hold its annual Excellence in Education Awards Gala, honoring 39 exceptional public school educators and the unique bond that educators and students share.

More than 800 guests and many more live streaming viewers, will celebrate an exceptional group of public school educators who were selected by their peers for  innovation in teaching, attention to diversity, engagement of parents and community, and leadership in their field. But that’s not all we’ll celebrate. We will also pay tribute to the transformative power that reading and widespread literacy has on students and the world.

“Books transmit values. They explore our common humanity. What is the message when some children are not represented in those books?” wrote Walter Dean Myers, 76, a beloved children’s book author who died in July 2014, in a New York Times op-ed. “Where are black children going to get a sense of who they are and what they can be?”

The late Walter Dean Myers and his son, award-winning author and illustrator Christopher Myers, will be honored with the First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education for their contribution to children’s literature, and especially to representing children of color who don’t see themselves reflected in the books they read.

Also center stage: a celebrity host, special honorees, performances by students, and a few surprises—the biggest surprise of all… who takes home the evening’s top teacher award!

Of the 39 nationally-awarded educators, five finalists will receive the Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence and $10,000. Of those five finalists, one will receive the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence, and $25,000, in the evening’s highly anticipated top teacher award finale.

In the meantime, prepare to be entertained! Actress and activist, Anne-Marie Johnson, who may be best known for her role as “Althea Tibbs” on the hit series, “In the Heat of the Night,” and as a cast member of the sketch comedy series, “In Living Color,” will host the event.  She recently appeared on the hit TNT series, “Murder in the First” and will appear on ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” on February 24th. As the daughter and sister of educators, Johnson has a deep and enduring respect for the profession.

In between the special tributes and outstanding educators who take the stage, more than 55 students—many of whom are past gala stars invited back for an encore—will perform. These student performers hail from Montgomery County, MD; New York City, NY, Indianapolis, IN, and Lee County, FL.

The NEA Foundation Excellence in Education Awards show starts at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on February 13th, 2015. Find more details and the program schedule here.