Utah Educator Honored as Finalist at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala


Pearson Foundation and Adora Svitak also honored at Washington, DC Event
WASHINGTON, DC  (February 11, 2011)  — On Friday, February 11 at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education gala, Karen Gorringe, a sixth-grade teacher at Bluffdale Elementary, was honored as one of five finalists for the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence.
Kathy Steinhoff, a math educator from Columbia, MO, received the top honor: The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellenceand$25,000. Last year, this award went to former Dilworth Elementary teacher and current UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh.
Known as the academy awards of public education, the gala is an annual celebration of the men and women who work in America’s public schools.  The NEA Foundation presented more than 30 awards to exceptional educators and dedicated supporters of public education over the course of the program.  Steinhoff’s award was the evening’s finale.
“Kathy’s innovative lessons have made her a favorite among students and a leader among her peers,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “Her use of technology in the classroom is just one of the many reasons that she is being honored with this award.”
This year’s event celebrated the connection between educators and their students. Talented students, ranging from a violinist and a pianist to a hip hop poet/rapper, entertained the more than 800 leaders from the education, philanthropic, and business sectors who were in attendance. The Foundation and its guests also celebrated their teacher/mentors, who received on-stage recognition.

Steinhoff was one of five finalists for the top award; all received special recognition at the gala, The Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, and $10,000.  

The other four finalists were:

  • Teresa Lawrence McNeill, a Math Teacher and ESL Program Coordinator at Walter Hines Page High School in Greensboro, NC;
  • Maryann Woods-Murphy, a Spanish Teacher & Diversity Educator at Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale, NJ;
  • Karen Gorringe, a 6th Grade Educator at Bluffdale Elementary, in Bluffdale, UT; and
  • Terri Vest, a 7-12th Grade English and Social Studies Teacher at Twinfield Union School in Plainfield, VT
During the gala, videos honoring each of the finalists premiered.The videos were created by their students, with digital arts training from the Pearson Foundation.  They can be viewed on the NEA Foundation’s website.

Steinhoffwas nominated for the award by the Missouri NEA. She was one of 31 public school educators nominated by their state education associations who were honored
at the event.
In addition to the outstanding educators, the NEA Foundation presented the Pearson Foundation with The NEA Foundation Award for Philanthropy in Public Education for its significant commitment to public education and ongoing support of public schools, students, and educators.

The NEA Foundation also presented 13-year old author, student-educator, and activist, Adora Svitak, with its Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education for her commitment to advancing public education.  She was accompanied by one of her favorite teachers, Julie Vindivich.
The NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is an independent, public charity supported by contributions from educators, corporate sponsors, and others.  We partner with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our blog.
The NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education
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. These awards 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.

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