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 reflects 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.
2021 NEA ESP of the Year Award
NEA will present its annual ESP of the Year Award in the spring as part of the 2021 NEA ESP National Conference (More details on the conference and award ceremony coming soon!)
The 2021 NEA ESP of the Year Award nomination system is live and ready to accept nominations! Visit our nomination page to find recently updated award guidelines, instructions on how to submit a nomination, form templates, and more.
As a reminder, complete nomination packages must be submitted using the new system by 5:00 p.m. EST on Monday, December 14, 2020.
Past NEA ESP of the Year Award Recipients
Since the award’s inception in 1992, 29 ESPs from 20 states have received this prestigious national award. Below is a list of former award recipients.
2019 Matthew Powell, Kentucky
2018 Sherry Shaw, Alaska
2017 Saul Ramos, Massachusetts
2016 Doreen McGuire-Grigg, California
2015 Janet Eberhardt, California
2014 Paula Monroe, California
2013 Donna Schulze, Maryland
2012 Judy Near, Colorado
2011 Jameel Williams, North Carolina
2010 Helen Cottongim, Kentucky
2009 Kathie Axtell, Washington
2008 Laura Vernon, Wisconsin
2007 Veronica Henderson, Maryland
2006 Nancy Toombs, Kentucky
2005 Kathleen Lange, Illinois
2004 Allyson “Sunny” Story, Iowa
2003 Martin F. Meyer, Idaho
2002 Joann Falk, Colorado
2001 Irma Valdesino, New Mexico
2000 Richard Malizia, New Jersey
1999 Gail Rasmussen, Oregon
1998 Carter Foshee, Oklahoma
1997 Karen Mahurin, Alaska
1996 Evelyn Foster, North Carolina
1995 Iona Hollway, Louisiana
1994 Eddie Middleton, Louisiana
1993 Doris Dortch, Alabama
1992 Peggy Bertollo, Delaware
My priority as ESP of the Year is to organize and advocate for members because elections matter to every facet of our lives.