Genoa City teacher Mary Ellen Kanthack is the winner of a prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence, the NEA Foundation has announced. The awardees are nominated by their peers for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators. Kanthack, who was nominated by WEAC President Ron Martin, will receive the award at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala next February in Washington, D.C.
The Awards for Teaching Excellence program recognizes educators from around the country who shine in their schools, their communities, and their own learning. These educators advocate for each other, the profession, and students, and they embrace the diversity of their communities and the wider world.
Kanthack, who is the 2018 Wisconsin Elementary School Teacher of the Year, has implemented a wide variety of innovative approaches to education and has worked through her local union, WEAC Region 7, WEAC and the NEA not only to access resources but to give back to colleagues by providing valuable professional development leadership.
In nominating Kanthack, WEAC President Ron Martin said in part:
“Mary Ellen inspires her students every day with an empathetic ear and high expectations. From aquaponics in her classroom to directing the school musical to starting a forensics program, she is a key teacher who keeps things running smoothly in her a small rural school. Mary Ellen is a strong union member, engaging in new ways to introduce the association to new educators, school leaders, and her community. The union she describes with passion – the one that supports educators professionally and personally – opens the eyes and builds understanding for our critical role in the education setting.” Read the entire letter of recommendation.
“I am passionate about promoting NEA,” Kanthack said. “I proudly tell my story, hand out NEA resources, post opportunities both on the school bulletin board, and online. I have shared my work with my colleagues, parents, administration and school board. I post my work with NEA on social media and reach out to aspiring educators about how they can grow through NEA. It is my passion!”