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2016 AEA Salute to Excellence Award Winners


Phoenix, AZ – May 9, 2016 – The Arizona Education Association (AEA) and the AEA Foundation for Teaching & Learning recognized several AEA members and friends for their accomplishments at the AEA Foundation for Teaching & Learning’s annual Salute to Excellence Awards luncheon, which was held on May 7, 2016, at Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. Photos

“Sometimes we take the excellence and dedication we see in our colleagues for granted,” says AEA President Andrew F. Morrill. “We just assume they know how important they are. AEA’s awards program is a way to remind ourselves – and our honorees – how valuable they are and the work they do. We want these people to know without a doubt that we see what they’ve done and appreciate it. We want to encourage them to continue their good work and to remind ourselves of the nobility and importance of our own efforts on behalf Arizona’s students and our profession.”

Congratulations to the following organizations and AEA members honored at the 2016 Salute to Excellence Awards:

California Casualty Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant
This grant was developed in response to the pressure put on public schools to scale back on athletic programs due to shrinking state education budgets combined with the increasing demands to achieve higher academic results.

Christa McAuliffe "I Touch the Future, I Teach" Award 
Christa McAuliffe was a “practical visionary” who reached for the stars. Since her tragic death in the Challenger crash in 1986, the phrase she coined to describe her profession – “I touch the future, I teach” – lives on in our hearts, inspiring us to give our best. The award AEA named after Christa McAuliffe goes each year to a teacher like Christa, who inspired those around her, had a sense of humor and optimism, and nurtured curiosity and hope in children.

Public Relations Partnership Award
This award honors an exceptional school public relations person or group who has demonstrated a strong relationship between the district, the local association, and the community and whose efforts have improved the public's understanding about public schools.

LIFT Grant
Learning Improvement Through Faculty Teams (LIFT) grants support AEA members’ collaborative projects to increase student achievement.

Promise Grant
These “mini-grants” provide support for projects that help fulfill one of AEA’s strategic objectives – quality public education for every Arizona public school student and a viable organization through increased membership, strong and effective leaders and locals, and engagement of members.

ESPecially for Kids Award
AEA honors an exceptional education support professional with the “ESPecially for Kids” Award, which recognizes a classified employee for “extraordinary efforts on behalf of young people.”

AEA Retired Les Reynolds Distinguished Senior Service Award
This award acknowledges and honors a member who provides outstanding service to AEA Retired and the communities he or she serves.

Nell Wilcoxen/AEA Future Educator Scholarship
Thanks to a scholarship fund created by th estate of former AEA editor Nell Wilcoxen, the AEA Foundation for Teaching & Learning helps fund the college career of AEA members and their immediate family. The scholarship aids students who show academic promise and have financial need.

Partners in Education
This award demonstrates the AEA’s strong belief in the importance of community support to the success of our public schools. The award honors corporations, local businesses, individuals, or community groups that exhibit exemplary support for local public schools.


The AEA Foundation for Teaching & Learning was created in 1997 to advance public education in Arizona. it started with only $3,000 designated for student scholarships. Today, the Foundation has generated over $1 million in income and has awarded more than $900,000 throughout Arizona. The AEA Foundation is proud to offer a variety of program funds dedicated to developing the teaching profession; supporting student achievement; encouraging the appreciation for the arts; enriching classroom academics; developing professional leadership; and inspiring innovations in learning.

Learn more about the grants and awards offered by the AEA Foundation.

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