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Members of the media seeking comment from the NEA Foundation or seeking to interview a staff person should contact Edith Wooten, Senior Vice President of Communications, at ewooten@nea.org.

Learn more about our work in our NEA Foundation overview.

Recent Foundation Updates

Spring 2018 Update

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Winter 2018 Update

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Fall 2017 Update

 

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Spring 2017 Update

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Recent Laboratories of Learning Digest

March 2018

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Recent Press Releases

The NEA Foundation Names 46 Educators to Receive National Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 23, 2018) – The NEA Foundation today announced that 46 public school educators from across the country will receive the prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala next February in Washington, D.C.

The California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence awardees are nominated by their peers for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.

Each year, the Salute to Excellence in Education Gala draws almost 1,000 supporters of public education, and thousands more online, to applaud these awardees. At the gala, the educators are truly the stars, celebrated throughout the night with music, performances, videos, and more.

“We are delighted that during our 50th anniversary next year, we will celebrate the largest number of awardees in our history. These educators are keeping the promise of public education by creating learning opportunities for their students that are relevant and rigorous. They advocate for each other, the profession, and public education,” says Harriet Sanford, NEA Foundation President and CEO. “We deeply appreciate California Casualty’s partnership in recognizing these exemplary educators, and we look forward to honoring them next February on stage at the beautiful National Building Museum in Washington, DC and with virtual celebrations across the country.”

“We are glad to have the chance to show our respect and appreciation for the work of public school educators each year,” says Beau Brown, California Casualty CEO. “We applaud the great work of the California Casualty awardees.”

Of the 46 state awardees who were nominated by their National Education Association state affiliate, five finalists will be announced at the beginning of the school year and receive $10,000 at the gala. The nation’s top educator will be revealed at the gala on February 8, 2019 and receive an additional $25,000. The gala will be livestreamed at neafoundation.org.

The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards. Find more information about the awards and a gallery of this year’s awardees.

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Editor’s Note: Please use our correct name, the NEA Foundation. The “NEA” is never spelled out in our name. It is not the National Education Association Foundation. Many thanks!

 About the NEA Foundation

The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Since our beginning in 1969, the Foundation has served as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, their schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges. We elevate and share educator solutions to ensure greater reach and impact on student learning. We believe that when educators unleash their own power, ideas, and voices, communities, schools, and students all benefit. Visit neafoundation.org for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our blog.

48 Educators Selected as 2019 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellows

Learning journey to prepare educators, students as global citizens

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 25, 2018) — The NEA Foundation, a public charity founded by educators for educators, today named 48 public school educators as the 2019 cohort of the NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellowship. These educators, from 47 states and Defense Department schools, will spend a year in a peer learning network, building their global competency skills: the capacity to understand and act on issues of global significance.

The 2019 Fellows teach all grade levels and all subjects: from visual and performing arts; to agri-science; to journalism; to history. They work in rural, suburban, and urban schools. They are National Board Certified, curriculum coaches, IB coordinators, foreign language speakers, and more. The Fellows reflect the diverse workforce of public education, which allows them to learn from each other and to bring global perspectives to a wide range of students. They share a passion for global education and an unwavering commitment for preparing America’s students with 21st century skills.

“The NEA Foundation’s Global Learning Fellowship program includes the new cohort plus more than 250 Global Learning Fellowship alums, providing the Fellows with a dynamic, growing peer learning community,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “As educators participate in the Fellowship, they become better at rethinking practices by experimenting with ideas, challenging concepts and learning with colleagues near and far.”

Over the course of a year, the NEA Foundation staff, partners, and field experts will support the Fellows as they immerse themselves in online coursework, webinars, and collegial study, including a two-day professional development workshop this fall and a nine day international field study next summer. The field study brings the cohort together as they investigate the historical and cultural context of the country they visit and interact with local educators, students, administrators, and policy-makers; make school visits; and hear from business and non-profit leaders.

The 2019 Fellows will use what they learn during the year to prepare their students for global citizenship. They will create valuable global lesson plans for their students that will be freely shared with educators across the nation and the world through open source platforms. They will also share their methods for globalizing instructional practice and advocate in their communities and beyond for global education.

Get to know all of the 2019 NEA Foundation Learning Fellows.

The NEA Foundation will accept applications for the 2020 Global Learning Fellowship this fall.

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Editor’s Note: Please use our correct name, the NEA Foundation. The “NEA” is never spelled out in our name. It is not the National Education Association Foundation. Many thanks!

 About the NEA Foundation

The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Since our beginning in 1969, the Foundation has served as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, their schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges. We elevate and share educator solutions to ensure greater reach and impact on student learning. We believe that when educators unleash their own power, ideas, and voices, communities, schools, and students all benefit. Visit neafoundation.org for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our blog.

 

 

The NEA Foundation President and CEO Harriet Sanford to Step Down in 2019 after 13 Years of Transformational Work

 

National search underway for new leader of the public education charity, founded by educators for educators, and the source of $40 million in grant funding for public school educators during Sanford’s tenure.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 1, 2018) — The NEA Foundation today announced that Harriet Sanford is stepping down on February 28, 2019 from her role as President and CEO following a 13 year tenure during which she oversaw a transformation of the education-focused public charity’s programs and grantmaking.

“It has been the honor of my life to lead the Foundation. Throughout my service, the Foundation’s grantmaking and programs have been rooted in an unwavering commitment to educational justice by supporting public school educators, their schools and districts as they design solutions to solve complex teaching and learning challenges,” Sanford said. “I will remain fully engaged in this vital work until the last hour of my last day and, after that, continue fiercely pursuing my lifelong commitment to work in support of community. Best of all, because of the hard work and dedication of a lot of people, the NEA Foundation is well positioned to thrive both programmatically and financially, long after my departure. This is the close of a chapter, not the book.”

Over the past 13 years, the NEA Foundation invested more than $40 million to provide individual educators, districts, and unions with the support and resources they need to develop educator led and designed solutions that address the specific challenges their students and communities face.

The Foundation’s signature programs (including the Closing the Achievement Gaps Initiative, the Building State Affiliate Capacity Initiative, STEM grants, and Global Learning Fellowship) improve learning conditions for more than 200,000 students, strengthen state and local union affiliate capacity to advocate and collaborate with district and community leaders, and advance teaching and learning about global competencies and critical STEM fields. (Find more details about the NEA Foundation programs.)

"Harriet’s tireless efforts in the service of public education can be seen most clearly in the Foundation’s role in supporting the growing voice of educators and education support professionals. Under Harriet’s leadership, the NEA Foundation provides opportunities to recognize and value the expertise of education professionals as they advocate for their students, public education, and the teaching profession,” said Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, an educator and chair of the NEA Foundation Board of Directors. “We are profoundly grateful for her service.”

The NEA Foundation Board of Directors has initiated a nationwide search for Harriet’s successor, led by the Isaacson, Miller search firm. Sanford will actively support the Board of Directors in the search and the leadership transition through February 28, 2019. Recommendations, inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed in confidence to Isaacson, Miller via the search website: www.imsearch.com/6481.

The public statement can be attributed to Harriet Sanford.

About the NEA Foundation

The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Since our beginning in 1969, the Foundation has served as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, their schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges. We believe that when educators unleash their own power, ideas, and voices, communities, schools, and students all benefit. 

 Editor’s Note: Please use our correct name, the NEA Foundation. The “NEA” is never spelled out. It is not the National Education Association Foundation. Many thanks!

 

 

American Indian College Fund Recognized for Outstanding Service to Public Education

The NEA Foundation and First National Bank of Omaha to honor American Indian College Fund on February 9, 2018 in Washington, DC for their work to empower Native students

Washington, DC awards gala, live-streamed nationwide, set for February 9, 2018.

WASHINGTON, DC (January 30, 2018) – By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require post-secondary education. But only 13.8 percent of American Indians have a college degree – less than half the national average. Fighting this dynamic is the American Indian College Fund, providing direct, focused solutions that enable American Indian youth to succeed in college and beyond.

To recognize its profound impact on public education and its role as the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education, the NEA Foundation will present the American Indian College Fund with its First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education on February 9, 2018 during its annual awards gala in Washington, DC.

Driven by the belief that education is the answer, the College Fund has provided more than 125,000 scholarships totaling more than $100 million since its inception in 1989. It also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near American Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers.

“The American Indian College Fund recognizes that higher education is vital not just to the Native community, but to our nation as a whole. They are committed to helping their students financially, socially, and emotionally, and to being a voice for American Indian students in the national education conversation,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “We are proud to recognize their many years of success, and the value of the work they do.”

“First National Bank of Omaha is pleased to recognize the American Indian College Fund for its work to help students complete their degrees and begin successful careers,” said Jerry O’Flanagan, Executive Vice President of Consumer Banking at First National Bank of Omaha. “The American Indian College Fund is improving outcomes not only for American Indian students, but for their communities and the country.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “We are deeply honored to be recognized for the success of our students. Through our scholarships and student success services, thousands of American Indian and Alaska Native students have successfully graduated from tribal colleges and universities and other higher education institutions. We are proud to be part of the persistence and courage our students need to overcome tremendous obstacles to go to college.”

The outstanding service award pays tribute to those who have significantly increased understanding of public education or have otherwise dedicated themselves to serving educators and students. Past recipients of this prestigious award include Title IX advocate Billie Jean King, Sesame Street Workshop, the NAACP, Nickelodeon, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and Global Kids.

The award is part of the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala, an annual celebration of the men and women who work in America’s public schools. The NEA Foundation’s gala will also honor 38 public school educators nominated by their peers for having attained the highest teaching standards, as illustrated by their exemplary instruction, advocacy for the profession, and staunch support of public education. It attracts more than 850 of the nation’s leaders in and supporters of public education. This year’s event will be hosted by director, actor, and choreographer Debbie Allen.

The gala will be live streamed on Friday, February 9 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET here.

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About the NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Since our beginning in 1969, the Foundation has served as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, their schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges. We believe that when educators unleash their own power, ideas, and voices, communities, schools, and students all benefit. Visit www.neafoundation.org for more information.

About First National Bank of Omaha is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National of Nebraska is the largest privately owned banking company in the United States. First National of Nebraska and its affiliates have more than $21 billion in assets and 5,000 employee associates. Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas. Visit www.firstnational.com for more information.

About The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native student access to higher education for 29 years, consistently receiving top ratings from national independent charity evaluators. In 2016-17 they provided 6,548 scholarships totaling $7.6 million dollars and nearly $5.9 million for programs and higher education institutions serving Native communities. Visit https://collegefund.org/ for more information.

Editor’s Note: Please use our correct name, the NEA Foundation. The “NEA” is never spelled out in our name. It is not the National Education Association Foundation. Many thanks!

Nation's top educators to be honored at the NEA Foundation's Salute to Excellence in Education Gala

Washington, DC awards gala, live-streamed nationwide, set for February 9, 2018.

Washington, D.C. (Jan. 26, 2018) — Now more than ever, educators are going above and beyond. Not only are they working hard to teach valuable lessons inside the classroom, they’re acting as advocates for public education, spending their own money to supply their classes, and guiding students through a vast array of social and emotional challenges. That’s why we are delighted to celebrate all that amazing educators do for the nation at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala in Washington. D.C.

On February 9, 2018, 38 nationally-acclaimed educators will take center stage before an audience of 850 national education leaders and supporters, and thousands more online, to accept the NEA Foundation’s California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence. Of these 38 public school educators, five exemplary educators will also be honored with the NEA Foundation’s Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence and $10,000 each.

The NEA Foundation’s awards gala celebrates ​the ​men ​and ​women ​who ​work ​in ​America's ​public ​schools ​and ​​the ​unique ​bond ​that ​educators ​and ​students ​share. The event also offers some surprises. In the evening’s highly anticipated finale, one of the five NEA Foundation’s Horace Mann Awardees will take home the NEA Foundation’s NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and an additional $25,000.

For their commitment to empowering American Indian students to succeed in college and beyond, the NEA Foundation will also present the American Indian College Fund with its First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education.

The evening will be hosted by Debbie Allen, whose many roles include executive producer, director, actor, choreographer, dancer, and Founder and Artistic Director of Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Entertainment will be provided by the creator of Memphis jookin,’ Charles (“Lil’ Buck”) Riley, whose fancy footwork is engrossing and enchanting, and the virtuosic Cyrus Chestnut, who will “demonstrate the rare ability to generate soul from the percussive piano.”

WHAT:       

The NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala

WHO:         

Harriet Sanford, President and CEO, The NEA Foundation        

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, Chair, The NEA Foundation Board of Directors

California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence Recipients (38)

The American Indian College Fund, First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education

Debbie Allen, Celebrity Host

WHEN:       

Feb. 9, 2018; Reception 6:30 p.m. ET; Program, 7:30 p.m. ET

WHERE:   

National Building Museum, 401 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001

HOW:         

Due to security concerns, media credentials and pre-registration are required to cover this event.

The event will be live streamed from neafoundation.org, beginning at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on February 9, and live tweeted using the event hashtag #neafgala.

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About the NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Since our beginning in 1969, the Foundation has served as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, their schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges. We believe that when educators unleash their own power, ideas, and voices, communities, schools, and students all benefit. Visit neafoundation.org for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our blog.

Editor’s Note: Please use our correct name, the NEA Foundation. The “NEA” is never spelled out in our name. It is not the National Education Association Foundation. Many thanks!

National Award Shines Spotlight on Five Educators

Washington, DC awards gala, live-streamed nationwide, set for February 9, 2018.

WASHINGTON, DC (October 18, 2017) – Five educators will receive one of public education’s highest honors, the NEA Foundation’s prestigious Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, recognition as one of the nation’s top educators, and $10,000. The award honors educators for their diligence and dedication to students, colleagues, community, and profession. The awardees are:

• Revathi Balakrishnan, a talented and gifted educator at Patsy Sommer Elementary School in Austin, TX, nominated by the Texas State Association of Educators.

• Bobbie Cavnar, a 12th grade language arts educator at South Point High School in Belmont, NC, nominated by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

• Afreen Gootee, a 6th to 8th grade math and social studies educator at the Georgetown School in Mechanicsville, VA, nominated by the Virginia Education Association.

• Crystal May, a 4th grade educator at Pray-Woodman Elementary School in Maize, KS, nominated by the Kansas National Education Association.

• Tia Mills, an exceptional student services educator at Eden Park Academy of Ethics and Excellence in Baton Rouge, LA, nominated by the Louisiana Association of Educators.

“These educators have been selected for this award by their peers for attaining the highest teaching standards, as shown by their exemplary instruction, professional advocacy and leadership, attention to diversity, and community outreach,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “Honoring these educators is our way of thanking them, and all the public school educators they represent, for their excellent work with our nation’s most precious resource, our children.”

“So many teachers go above and beyond to serve the needs of their students, and these five educators are great examples of what it takes to excel in the classroom,” said Marita Zuraitis, President and CEO of Horace Mann. “As a company serving educators’ financial needs for 70 years, Horace Mann is pleased to honor these educators for playing an instrumental role in educating the children of our future.”

Each will be featured in a video shot at their school and including their students, which will premiere at the gala.

The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards with support from NEA Member Benefits, the Horace Mann Companies, and California Casualty.

They will be celebrated at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Awards Gala on February 9, 2018 by over 850 leaders in public education, philanthropic, and business sectors, in Washington, DC, and by many more viewers online. Students, colleagues, peers, and family members of awardees host viewing parties to watch live streaming video of the program at home as awardees from across the nation are recognized.

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Editor’s Note: Please use our correct name, the NEA Foundation. The “NEA” is never spelled out in our name. It is not the National Education Association Foundation. Many thanks!

About the NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Since our beginning in 1969, the Foundation has served as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, their schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges. We believe that when educators unleash their own power, ideas, and voices, communities, schools, and students all benefit. Visit neafoundation.org for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our blog.

About Horace Mann
Horace Mann is the largest national multiline insurance company focusing on educators' financial needs. Horace Mann provides auto and homeowners insurance, retirement annuities, life insurance and other financial solutions. Founded by Educators for Educators® in 1945, the company is headquartered in Springfield, Illinois. For more information about the company, visit horacemann.com.

AT&T Makes $100,000 Contribution to the NEA Foundation to Support CT STEM Academy

AT&T Aspire funding will support educator-led, community-based programs to engage under-resourced Connecticut students and their families in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Wallingford, Conn. (Sept. 22, 2017) — The NEA Foundation today announced that AT&T is making a $100,000 contribution to support one of three educator-led, district-wide STEM initiatives the Foundation is funding this year. The CT STEM Academy is a vibrant, community-based program that has helped open the eyes of more than 15,000 Connecticut students and their families to STEM skills and careers since 2012.

“STEM skills—including attributes like critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork—are truly life skills,” says Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “AT&T’s contribution advances the NEA Foundation’s mission to support educators working with their communities to encourage students to incorporate STEM learning not only in their academics and future careers, but in their daily lives. Through programs like these, we aim to grow a STEM ecosystem that engages young people and their families from so many different backgrounds in communities across Connecticut and beyond.”

In addition to the CT STEM Academy, the NEA Foundation will launch major STEM initiatives in Colorado and Tennessee later this year. Together, these innovative programs have the potential to be replicated in schools across the country.

AT&T’s contribution to the NEA Foundation to support the work of the CT STEM Academy is a part of its flagship education initiative, AT&T Aspire.

“The need to get more students involved in STEM is greater now than ever. By 2020, there is likely to be a shortage of approximately 40 million high-skilled workers. When AT&T invests in education, we know we will see a return that will benefit all of us,” says John Emra, president of AT&T Connecticut, whose employees have mentored more than 3,000 students across the state as part of the Aspire program. “The return on this investment is a more educated generation of students regardless of background, more opportunities for our children, and more homegrown talent like the students served by the CT STEM Academy.”

The CT STEM Academy is a model program for supporting STEM learning through a broad range of community-based events and activities, including evening, after-school, and summer STEM camps, family STEM nights, academic bridge programs for at-risk youth, engineering design challenges, robotics clubs and competitions, and guest speakers and programs. 

Educator led

Connecticut master educators have played instrumental roles in leading the CT STEM Academy’s programs and community partnerships. The CT STEM Academy has benefitted from the support of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA).

“CEA proudly provided initial funding to the program in its infancy and continues to support our members who have dedicated their time to nurturing this program and helping it grow and succeed in other communities,” says Sheila Cohen, CEA President. “This program is about bringing students, teachers, families, and communities together through STEM. It encourages students of color, girls, and special education students and lets them know that STEM is for them too.”

The grant will support the CT STEM Academy’s work as it continues to expand its offerings.

AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. In 2013, more than $130 million was contributed or directed through corporate-, employee-, social investment-, and AT&T Foundation-giving programs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T’s signature education initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring.

The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Since our beginning in 1969, the Foundation has served as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, their schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges. We believe that when educators unleash their own power, ideas, and voices, communities, schools, and students all benefit. Visit www.neafoundation.org for more information. Editor’s Note: Please use our correct name, the NEA Foundation. We are not the National Education Association Foundation.

Boise Educator Receives Prestigious National Award

Sonia Galaviz of Boise, Idaho, wins top honor at the NEA Foundation’s annual gala

WASHINGTON, DC (February 10, 2017) — On Friday, February 10, at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala in Washington, D.C., Sonia Galaviz, a fifth grade educator at Garfield Elementary School in Boise, Idaho, received one of public education’s most prestigious honors: The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000.

“Teaching with courage is not the path of least resistance,” Galaviz said. “Without a doubt, it is a challenging journey that strengthens our intention to be the teachers we want to be, to take risks in the same fashion we ask our students to, and to elevate our classrooms to a station beyond the current trends and buzzwords.”

The NEA Foundation’s gala is an annual celebration of the men and women who work in America’s public schools. The NEA Foundation presented more than 40 awards to exceptional educators and dedicated supporters of public education. Galaviz’s award was the evening’s finale.

“Sonia has been selected for this award by her peers for attaining the highest teaching standards, as illustrated by her exemplary instruction, advocacy for the profession, and staunch support of public education,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “She provides students with important first-hand, experiential learning. She also creates a safe and engaging environment where students can explore learning opportunities in and outside the classroom.”

Galaviz has been teaching for almost 15 years. She served on the Nampa Education Association Executive Board and has held various committee positions. She sits on the National Advisory Board for Teaching Tolerance and received one of five national awards in Culturally Responsive Teaching from the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2011. She earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts at Boise State University.

Galaviz was nominated for the award by the Idaho Education Association and is one of 43 public school educators selected by their state education associations who were honored on stage by the NEA Foundation and its 900 guests.

She was also among the five finalists for the top award. Each finalist received special recognition at the gala, the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, and $10,000.

The other four finalists included:

  • Al Rabanera, a mathematics educator at La Vista High School in Fullerton, California, nominated by the California Teachers Association;
  • Melissa Ladd, a fifth grade educator at Poplar Road Elementary School in Sharpsburg, Georgia, nominated by the Georgia Association of Educators;
  • Stephanie Johnson, a second grade educator at HB Rhame Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina, nominated by the South Carolina Education Association; and
  • Carol Bauer, a fourth grade educator at Grafton Bethel Elementary School in Yorktown, Virginia, nominated by the Virginia Education Association

The students of all five finalists also benefited from the awards. In the months leading up to the gala, they helped create original videos honoring their teachers. Watch the video featuring Galaviz that premiered live during the gala.

During the gala, the NEA Foundation also honored Global Kids with the First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education for its invaluable support for leadership development for underserved youth.

Victoria Rowell, an award-winning actress, activist, and author best known for her role in “The Young and the Restless” and her memoir, “The Women Who Raised Me,” hosted the event. Rowell founded the Rowell Foster Care Children’s Positive Plan, providing services to students in: fine arts, higher education, healthcare, financial literacy, reunification programs, cultural enrichment, and family supports.

This year, hundreds of the educators’ students, colleagues, and supporters watched live streaming coverage of the gala on neafoundation.org.

About the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala

The NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala is a national celebration of the men and women who work in America’s public schools and of the unique bonds that educators and students share. At this annual event, the Foundation recognizes and promotes excellence in teaching, attention to diversity, and advocacy for the profession. The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards with support from NEA Member Benefits, The Horace Mann Educator Corporation, California Casualty, and First National Bank of Omaha.

The NEA Foundation Names Educator Leader Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh Chair, Three New Members to Board of Directors

Nick Archuleta, Stacy Herndon, Sändra Walker to serve three-year terms

WASHINGTON, DC (September 7, 2016) – Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, an award-winning National Board-certified educator with more than 37 years in public education – 32 of them in the classroom – and a two-term former president of the Utah Education Association, will chair the NEA Foundation’s Board of Directors, the NEA Foundation announced today.

Gallagher-Fishbaugh, who was known to her second-grade students at Salt Lake City’s Dilworth Elementary as “Mrs. G.,” left the classroom in 2010 to serve a three-year term as president of the 18,000-member Utah Education Association. She was elected by her fellow educators in a statewide vote and retired from the post last year after six years in office. The Utah State Office of Education named Gallagher-Fishbaugh the 2009 Utah Teacher of the Year. In April 2010, the NEA Foundation awarded her its top honor, the $25,000 NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Loretto Heights College in Denver and her Master of Arts in teaching with a specialization in National Board Certified Teacher Leadership from National University in La Jolla, Calif.

“With a background as both a classroom teacher and an association leader, Sharon is uniquely suited to her new role as NEA Foundation Board Chair,” says NEA Foundation President and CEO Harriet Sanford. “Her insights will help the Foundation to amplify educator voices in order to improve teaching and learning across the United States.”

“It is my sincere hope that as the chair of the Foundation’s board, my educator colleagues will recognize that their voice is critical; that their expertise is valued; that they have the opportunities to be the agents of change; and that in collaboration with others we can create a great public school for every single child,” says Gallagher-Fishbaugh.

New NEA Foundation Board members are: Nick Archuleta, President of North Dakota United and Spanish educator on leave from Century High School in Bismarck, N.D.; Stacey Herndon, Vice President and Institutional Investment Advisor at PNC Asset Management in Washington, D.C.; and Sändra Walker, who teaches physical education in Lawrence, Kan. Each new member will serve a three-year term. Nick Archuleta is the first president of North Dakota United (NDU), an affiliate of both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. He began his teaching career in Minnesota and has remained involved in his union, serving in many capacities at the state and local level. He is a member of the NEA Human and Civil Rights committee and is especially proud to be an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes. He is married to the director of choral music at Century High School in Bismarck, and they are the proud parents of three talented daughters and one outstanding son.

Stacey Herndon is a seasoned investment professional with over 20 years working in the financial markets. Currently, Herndon is a Senior Institutional Client Advisor with PNC Institutional Asset Management. Her client practice consists mostly of nonprofits, endowments, and foundations in the Metropolitan D.C. Area. Previously, Herndon worked in an institutional sales capacity for Salomon Brothers, Citigroup, and Friedman Billings and Ramsey. She attended Princeton University and received her Master of Business Administration in Finance from the Wharton School of Pennsylvania. She resides in Washington, D.C.

Sändra Walker has been a strong and passionate voice for educators and students for over 30 years in the Lawrence Public Schools in Kansas where she teaches physical education at South Middle School. Over the past 19 years, this teacher leader has served on her Instructional Advocacy Commission, Kansas NEA Board of Directors, NEA Resolutions Committee, and as co-chair of her district's Professional Development Council. She also serves on the NEA Board of Directors representing Kansas. Walker earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Adapted Physical Education/Motor Development at The University of Kansas.

“We are delighted to welcome these leaders to the NEA Foundation’s Board of Directors,” says Sanford. “Not only are they savvy and strategic experts in their fields, each offers a unique perspective on public education drawn from their experience and relationships within the academic, public, non-profit, and private sectors. Each is passionately committed to public education that prepares all students to thrive and succeed in school, college, and career. The NEA Foundation will greatly benefit as they move into new leadership roles on our board.”

The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association Name 43 Educators to Receive Prestigious National Award

WASHINGTON, DC (June 13, 2016) – Today, the NEA Foundation names 43 public school educators, each from a different state, who will receive the prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala next February in Washington, D.C.

These educators represent the best of their profession. 16 are Teacher of the Year in their respective states; 12 have received their National Board Certifications, 31 have earned Master’s degrees (some more than one), and three have doctorates. The majority, 20, are elementary school educators, while eight are in middle schools and 15 are in high schools.

The California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence are unique: in addition to being recognized for excellence in instructional and professional practice, awardees are nominated by their peers – their National Education Association state affiliate – for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.

Because the NEA Foundation values both professional development and diversity, awardees are invited to participate in its Global Learning Fellowship. Fellows learn how to prepare their students for a connected and multicultural world in this comprehensive, year-long professional development program, which includes an international field study next June.

“These outstanding educators are innovators, challengers, and global thinkers,” says Harriet Sanford, NEA Foundation President and CEO. “We are delighted that California Casualty joins us once again in expressing our shared admiration and thanks for their work.”

“The California Casualty awardees are the architects of our nation’s future,” says Beau Brown, California Casualty CEO. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to honor them with the California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence.”

Of these 43 state awardees, five finalists will be announced at the beginning of the school year and receive $10,000 at the gala. The nation’s top educator will be revealed at the awards gala on February 10, 2017, and receive an additional $25,000.

The awards gala will be livestreamed at neafoundation.org. The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards. Find more information about the awards and photos of the awardees.

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