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NEA honors Antioch teacher Kerri Elliott for promoting peace and international understanding

WASHINGTON - June 23, 2011 -

Antioch (IL) Community High School special education and global studies teacher Kerri Elliott will be honored by the National Education Association (NEA) during its annual Human and Civil Rights Awards dinner in Chicago on Friday, July 1, 2011. NEA’s Applegate-Dorros Peace and International Understanding Award acknowledges outstanding  contributions toward efforts to foster peace and international understanding and the ability to motivate youth to work toward world peace.

“The need for wider public support for international understanding and a willingness to work for peace has never been greater,” said Dennis Van Roekel, NEA president. “Kerri Elliott has made lasting contributions that will continue to make a difference for years to come.”

While visiting the Kilimahewa village near the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania during the summer of 2008, Elliott learned that local children whose families could not afford to provide a formal education for them were being taught by village elders. The Kilimahewa School initially had been held outdoors in the shade of a roadside tree until a local benefactor donated a small building to shelter the students and their teachers.

Since her initial visit, Elliott has returned to the village each summer with other volunteers for four to six weeks. Their work has enabled the villagers to expand their two-room school into the Kilimahewa Educational Center. Elliott has designed a curriculum, taught students, and provided professional development to the local school staff. Her next project is to use technology to connect her American and Tanzanian students.

In 2009 Elliott started EdPowerment with the goal of creating a clean water system. Initial drilling in 2010 found water near the village, and fundraising to supply running water to the school and the entire community continues.

The Applegate-Dorros Peace and International Understanding award is named for Irvamae Applegate (1920-1973)  and Sidney Dorros (1925-1993).  Applegate served as NEA president (1996-1997) and as a member of the Executive Committee of the World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession (now Education International). Dorros was the staff consultant to the NEA Bicentennial Committee.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Dana Dossett  (202) 822-7823,