The NEA Foundation today announced that Jennifer LaPlace, a Social Studies teacher at Centennial High School, is one of 45 public school educators 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.

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.

“I am happy to represent Columbus City Schools as teacher and thankful to former OEA President, Becky Higgins for having the belief that urban education is thriving in the state of Ohio,” said LaPlace.

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.

“Ms. LaPlace is a teacher who always goes the extra mile,” said Centennial High School Principal Stephanie Porta. “She is continually looking at ways to improve her teaching and reach her students in a meaningful ways. She never gives up!”

“This year’s awardees are fulfilling the promise of public education in classrooms, schools, and communities from coast to coast,” says Sara A. Sneed, President and CEO, the NEA Foundation. “Each awardee has met a very high standard, and together, they are celebrated for a shared commitment to educational excellence, innovative approaches to student learning, and support for their peers. We are grateful to California Casualty for its recognition and celebration of the very best in education, and we look forward to honoring the 2020 California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence awardees.”

Of the 45 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 7, 2020 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