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NEA News

Meet the 2024 Inductees to the National Teachers Hall of Fame

The National Teachers Hall of Fame recognizes dedicated and successful educators across the United States.
national teacher hall of fame
Published: June 18, 2024

The National Teachers Hall of Fame, founded in 1989 by Emporia State University, recognizes dedicated and successful educators across the United States through an annual induction ceremony. Located on Emporia State University campus in Kansas, the Hall of Fame honors teachers through a gallery of previous honorees, a Wall of Fame, a museum and resource center that tell the “story” of education through antique textbooks, teacher contracts and other artifacts. 

The five teachers travelled to Washington D.C., in early May before travelling to Emporia for four days of events before the formal induction ceremony on June 21. Meet the members of the National Teachers Hall of Fame Class of 2024: 

Keith Ballard

NEA member Keith Ballard is a music teacher at Southwest Middle School in San Diego, California. He also teaches music at Launch Virtual Academy, a primarily online school experience for grade 7-12. Having earned Bachelor of Science degrees from Arizona State University, as well as a Master of Arts degree from San Diego State University, Ballard has been at Southwest Middle School for 26 years. As a lifelong learner, Ballard has traveled around the world to learn best practices to support his students. Following visits to Tijuana, Mexico, Ballard started a mariachi band in 1999 to support the school’s large Latino population. His classroom is affectionately referred to as “Mariachi Disneyland.” 

Moore krajacic

NEA member Shelly Moore Krajacic is an English language arts teacher at South Milwaukee High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has been an educator for 26 years. Krajacic earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, a Master of Science degree in English education from University of Wisconsin at River Falls, and began a Ph.D. in urban education from University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee in 2019. Krajacic was elected to the NEA’s Executive Committee in 2015 for a three-year term and has also served in numerous national, state, and local leadership capacities. Her enthusiasm and commitment to her students allows them to see new possibilities in themselves every day.   


Terry Kaldhusdal, a 30-year educator, teaches sixth-grade history at Kettle Moraine Middle School in Dousman, Wisconsin. Kaldhusdal earned a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic State University and a Master’s in technology education from Lesley University. He worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming an educator, and he works each day to nurture the next generation of leaders, innovators, and changemakers. Kaldhusdal was recognized as the 2007 Wisconsin State Teacher of the Year and a 2014 Lowell Milken Fellow.  

Keisha Thorpe

Keishia Thorpe is a former English success coach and current Assistant Principal at Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale, Maryland. A 20-year educator, Thorpe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and a Master’s in leadership from Strayer University, in addition to a principal license in administration from Trinity University. As a first-generation college student and immigrant, Thorpe has worked tirelessly in Title 1 schools supporting immigrant and low-income students. She is the co-founder of the nonprofit U.S. Elite International Track and Field and 2021 recipient of the $1 million Global Teacher Prize. Additionally, Thorpe has been awarded the Medal of Excellence by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and was named National Life Changer of the Year for 2018-2019.   

Joel Truesdell

Joel Truesdell is a retired educator who taught chemistry at Kamehameha High School in Kea’au, Hawai’i, for 34 years. Truesdell completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in chemistry from the University of Miami before beginning a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 1987. After taking a substitute teaching position, Truesdell discovered his love for teaching. He has worked tirelessly to integrate aspects of Hawaiian culture into his lessons and labs. Truesdell received the National Science Teachers Association’s Shell Science Teaching Award in 2017 and was the winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in the state of Hawai’i in 2002.  

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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.