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NEA ESP of the Year Award

ESP of the Year Award Updates

NEA will present its 28th annual NEA ESP of the Year Award at the 2019 NEA ESP National Conference on Saturday, March 23rd. 

Note: Nomination materials and scoring rubrics are reviewed and updated annually. Please be sure to check back annually to access the most current nomination forms and procedures.

Each year, one Education Support Professional receives the NEA ESP of the Year Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to their schools, communities, and profession.

The ESP of the Year serves as an ambassador for Education Support Professionals around the country, promoting the value of ESP members at national and state conferences.

While it showcases one outstanding support professional each year, the Award recognizes and honors the contributions to great public schools all Education Support Professionals make year-round.

To date there have been 26 recipients of this national award, with the first ESP of the Year Award being presented in 1992. Below is a list of the those receiving this national recognition.


ESP of the Year Award Recipients

1992   Peggy Bertollo, Delaware
1993   Doris Dortch, Alabama
1994   Eddie Middleton, Louisiana
1995   Iona Hollway, Louisiana
1996   Evelyn Foster, North Carolina
1997   Karen Mahurin, Alaska
1998   Carter Foshee, Oklahoma
1999   Gail Rasmussen, Oregon
2000   Richard Malizia, New Jersey
2001   Irma Valdesino, New Mexico
2002   Joann Falk, Colorado
2003   Martin F. Meyer, Idaho
2004   Allyson “Sunny” Story, Iowa
2005   Kathleen Lange, Illinois
2006   Nancy Toombs, Kentucky
2007   Veronica Henderson, Maryland
2008   Laura Vernon, Wisconsin
2009   Kathie Axtell, Washington
2010   Helen Cottongim, Kentucky
2011   Jameel Williams, North Carolina
2012   Judy Near, Colorado
2013   Donna Schulze, Maryland
2014   Paula Monroe, California
2015  Janet Eberhardt, California
2016  Doreen McGuire-Grigg, California
2017  Saul Ramos, Massachusetts
2018  Sherry Shaw, Alaska

Sherry Shaw, Alaska
2018 ESP of the Year Award Recipient


Alaska Paraeducator Named 2018 NEA ESP of the Year

Request the ESP of the Year to Speak at Your Event

2019 ESP Conference Information

2019 ESP of the Year Award Nominees

ESP of the Year Award Banquet Seating Chart


2019 ESP of the Year Forms for REFERENCE:

2019 ESP of the Year Award Overview

2019 ESP of the Year Award Guidelines

2019 ESP of the Year Data Sheet

2019 ESP of the Year State Affiliate Acknowledgement Form

2019 ESP of the Year Sample Application

2019 ESP of the Year Checklist