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ESP of the Year Award

The annual award recognizes the contributions that Education Support Professionals make toward their schools, communities, and professions.
graphic of hands tossing up a trophy into the sky

The NEA Education Support Professional (ESP) of the Year Award, presented by NEA and NEA Member Benefits, honors a member who demonstrates outstanding accomplishments and whose achievements reflect the vital role ESPs play in public education.

The NEA ESP of the Year serves as an ambassador for ESPs across the country, promoting the value of ESP members at local, state, and national events. While the award showcases one outstanding ESP each year, it also recognizes and honors the contributions that all ESPs make towards ensuring great public schools for every student.

2024 NEA ESP of the Year Award

Information about the 2024 ESP of the Year Award will be available soon. For general questions about the ESPOTY Award program, email [email protected]

Meet the 2023 NEA ESP of the Year

pamella johnson
Pamella Johnson accepts the Education Support Professional of the Year award at the 2023 NEA ESP National Conference in Seattle on March 25.

On March 25 at the 2023 NEA ESP National Conference, Pamella Johnson, an academic and behavioral interventionist from Washington State, was named the NEA ESP of the Year. In this role, she will serve as an ambassador for ESPs across the country, speaking about the work and importance of ESPs at local, state, and national events. 

Read more

Watch the 2023 NEA ESP of the Year Award Ceremony

2023 NEA ESP of the Year Nominees

Judith Lea


Judith Lea, Technology Learning Center Director
Krystal Rogers Yearwood


Krystal Rogers Yearwood, Community Liaison
Sherry Pianalto


Sherry Pianalto, Special Education Paraprofessional
Mary E. Ambriz


Mary E. Ambriz, Office Manager
Zander Bednall


Zander Bednall, Kitchen Manager
Antranete (Nay) Compton


Antranete (Nay) Compton, Special Education Educational Aide
Nelly Ann Henjes


Nelly Ann Henjes, Child Development Associate
Marandia Bledsoe


Marandia Bledsoe, Parent/Attendance Coordinator
Susan Parsons


Susan Parsons, Bus Driver
Michael Johnson


Michael Johnson, Head Custodian
Kimberly Hubbard


Kimberly Hubbard, Educational Technician III
Sherry Mayne


Sherry Mayne, Security Assistant
Naomi Offiong Akan


Naomi Offiong Akan, Applied Behavior Analysis Tutor
Sarah L. Garrett


Sarah L. Garrett, Administrative Assistant
KimEl' Henry


KimEl' Henry, Restorative Practices/Dean Team Lead
Dennis Tabb


Dennis Tabb, Bus Driver/Trainer
Colette K. Campbell


Colette K. Campbell, Program Coordinator
Patricia C. Harrahill


Patricia C. Harrahill, Paraeducator
Kerri Finn


Kerri Finn, Clinical Aide/Emergency Medical Technician
Brenda Walker

New Hampshire

Brenda Walker, Paraeducator
Trina Jenkins

New Jersey

Trina Jenkins, Paraprofessional
Shannon Facka

New Mexico

Shannon Facka, Preschool Educational Assistant
Lois Emerick

New York

Lois Emerick, Paraprofessional/Cafeteria Aide
Jocelyn Morrison

North Carolina

Jocelyn Morrison, Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper
Bruce Schonberger

North Dakota

Bruce Schonberger, Custodian
Debra VanGorder


Debra VanGorder, Paraeducator
Amanda Lee


Amanda Lee, Child Nutrition Supervisor
Janice Propeck


Janice Propeck, Librarian/Paraprofessional
Angela Vigna


Angela Vigna, Paraprofessional
Lisa Ann Logan

Rhode Island

Lisa Ann Logan, Paraprofessional
Linda Douglass

South Carolina

Linda Douglass, Special Needs Bus Driver/Interventionist
Patricia Jackson


Patricia Jackson, Paraprofessional
Norma Guevara


Norma Guevara, Secretary
Janet Vorwaller


Janet Vorwaller, Educational Center Café Manager
Gloria Mantagaris


Gloria Mantagaris, Intensive Needs Paraeducator
Arthur Anderson


Arthur Anderson, Secondary Teacher Assistant
Pamella Johnson


Pamella Johnson, Social Emotional/Behavior Interventionist
Patti Coffren


Patti Coffren, Special Education Aide

NEA ESP of the Year Speaker Request Form

The NEA ESP of the Year welcomes invitations to speak at in-person and virtual state and local events. To request the ESP of the Year (ESPOTY) to participate in an event, please:
  • Complete the form below, and
  • Ask the State Affiliate President to submit a formal request to the NEA President by email. Once approved by the NEA President, staff will work with the NEA ESPOTY to determine availability. 

Event Details

Session Content

Audience Information

Please share the names and titles, if possible, of any notable NEA or ESP leaders expected to attend (e.g., Board members, committee chairs, executive committee members).

Logistical Information

Is the event in the same location as the speaker's hotel?
Who is responsible for securing the speaker's hotel reservation?
Will ground transportation be provided for the speaker?

Contact Information

Will the main contact be on-site at the event?
Pamella Johnson
I do what I do because I love what I do. I love my students. I love how authentic relationships make it possible for students and educators to come together to map a way to success.
Quote by: Pamella Johnson, 2023 NEA ESP of the Year
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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.