Noelle Clark, third grade teacher at Evansville Elementary School in Natrona County School District #1, is a recipient of the California Casualty NEA National Foundation for the Improvement of Education’s (NFIE) Award for Teaching Excellence – one of the nation’s most prestigious honors for public educators.
“As a teacher, I think, you work really, really hard and you hope that someday people will recognize all the hard work you’ve done and people will recognize that potential and will see that you’re worthy of something special like that,” Clark said about the award.
Her students are also recognizing the benefits of hard work. “I’m always telling them that: that all the hard work they’re doing is paid off in the end because they’re going to get to go to college, and they’re going to get a good degree, and they’re going to have a good career. So there is payoff, and that’s my lesson to them,” Clark said.
Evansville Elementary principal Mike Britt said he is not surprised Noelle won the award. “She is just so active in the community, in OUR community, our school community; [she’s] a great parent here at our school as well; just a very important asset to our building,” he said.
Noelle also recognizes that teaching is not an easy profession, but loves what she does. “Not only are we teachers, but we are professionals and we’re experts in our field, and if people could just put their trust in us and trust our judgment for the decisions that we are making, I think that would be one of the greatest ways to show appreciation to a teacher,” she said.
Clark is one of 38 awardees who will be honored at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala to be held in Washington, DC, on February 8, 2013. Known as the Academy Awards of public education, the gala attracts more than 850 of the nation’s leaders from public education, philanthropy, and the private sector.
“We give these awards annually to honor and promote excellence in education and to elevate the profession. Educators like these are critical to their students’ academic success, and they deserve national recognition,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “We are thrilled that California Casualty has joined us again this year to pay tribute to educators who are making such a difference in the lives of students in classrooms across the country.”
Beau Brown, President and CEO of California Casualty, said, “Educating our youth is critically important. California Casualty is proud to partner with the NEA Foundation to pause and celebrate excellence in teaching.”
The Wyoming Education Association nominated Clark for the honor. Her school will also receive an award of $650.
From the 38 state awardees, five finalists will be selected to each receive a $10,000 cash award. At the conclusion of the Washington, DC, gala, one finalist will be named the nation’s top educator and receive an additional $25,000.
Headquartered in San Mateo, CA, with Service Centers in Arizona, Colorado and Kansas, California Casualty is a 97-year-old company providing auto and home insurance products.
To apply for the NFIE award, go to wyoea.org for the application.