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Mat-Su Educator Finalist for National Education Award

Bob Williams to be recognized by the NEA Foundation at its

Salute to Excellence in Education awards gala in February

WASHINGTON, DC (September 29,  2009) – Bob Williams, a high school math teacher at Colony High School in Palmer, Alaska, is one of five national finalists for The NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence. Williams will be recognized as one of the nation’s top educators at the Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education awards gala on Feb. 12, 2010 in Washington, DC.

The national winner, announced at the gala, will receive The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000.  The four other finalists will each be awarded The Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence and $10,000. 


The finalists were selected from 38 public school educators nominated by their peers. Williams was nominated by NEA-Alaska, the state’s National Education Association affiliate.

The four other finalists are:

· Sarah Baird, a math coach at Kyrene del Milenio and Kyrene del Cielo Elementary Schools in Phoenix, Ariz.

· Katherine Bishop, a special education teacher at Lake Park Elementary School in Oklahoma City, Okla.

· Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, a second grade teacher at Dilworth Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Utah.

· Tim McCollum, an eighth grade science teacher at Charleston Middle School in Charleston, Ill.

Bob Williams has been selected by his peers because he has attained the highest standards of the profession, as shown by his exemplary instruction, advocacy for public education, a commitment to diversity, and engagement of parents and community,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “Honoring these educators is our way to thank them for their excellent work.”

In addition to the recognition, the five finalists are receiving digital arts training for their schools from the Pearson Foundation.  The finalists will then be honored at the gala with video profiles created by teams of students and teachers from their schools.  The video profiles of last year’s finalists can be viewed at neafoundation.org. 

Finalists’ schools also will receive learning technology products from the SMARTer Kids Foundation.

“Bob Williams exemplifies the finest professionalism in Alaskan and American public schools,” said Barb Angaiak, NEA-Alaska President. “NEA-Alaska is proud to have Bob represent us because his enthusiasm for teaching instills a love for learning in our future leaders.”

All state nominees will attend and be recognized at the gala.  The NEA Foundation also awards $750 to each of the 38 state nominees’ schools and covers their travel to the gala.  Names and photos of the state nominees and national finalists can be viewed at neafoundation.org.

The NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence are given annually and recognize, reward, and promote excellence in teaching 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 Companies, and the Pearson Foundation.

The NEA Foundation

The NEA Foundation is an independent public charity created in 1969 and sustained by contributions from educators, corporate sponsors, and other supporters of public education.  The Foundation offers grants and programs that support educators' efforts to close the achievement gaps, increase classroom innovations, provide professional development, and salute excellence in education. Visit neafoundation.org for more information. 

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