Salt Lake City educator receives California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence


Jody Lynn Tolley to be recognized by California Casualty and the NEA Foundation at 2018 Washington DC Awards Gala

Jody Tolley, Granite Education Association member and American Sign Language instructor at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, is one of 38 public educators receiving the prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence.

Tolley was presented with a $650 check and commemorative certificate at the recent Utah Education Association Convention from California Casualty Account Relations Manager Jill Strandquist. NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, UEA President Heidi Matthews and Granite Education Association President Mike McDonough were also on hand to present the award.

Tolley will also be honored at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala to be held in Washington, DC on February 9. 
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 NEA state affiliate – for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.

“Most of my students will forget how to sign most of the things I have taught them 20 years from now, but I hope they remember for the remainder of their days how to treat other human beings,” said Ms. Tolley.
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. The evening gives educators well-deserved recognition for their hard work, personal dedication, and profound influence. During the festivities, which will be streamed at, the nation’s top educator will be revealed.

“These outstanding educators are innovators, challengers, and global thinkers,” said 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,” said Beau Brown, California Casualty CEO. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to honor them with the California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence.”

Ms. Tolley was nominated for the honor by the Utah Education Association. The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards. Find more information about the awards and photos of the awardees.

About the NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Since its 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. The NEA Foundation elevates and shares educator solutions to ensure greater reach and impact on student learning. Visit for more information. Find them on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their blog.

About California Casualty
Headquartered in San Mateo, California, with Service Centers in Arizona, Colorado and Kansas, California Casualty has made the NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program available to UEA members since 2000. Founded in 1914, California Casualty has been led by four generations of the Brown family. To learn more about California Casualty, or to request an auto insurance quote, please visit or call 1.866.763.6285.

Back to News Listing