Jeffery Baxter, a Leavenworth High School language arts teacher, will receive the 2015 California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence, one of public education’s most prestigious awards, according to the National Education Association Foundation.
Baxter is currently the 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year and is a lifelong member of the Kansas National Education Association, which nominated Baxter for the award.
California Casualty provides insurance coverage, particularly to those in education, law enforcement, firefighting and nursing.
Baxter is among 39 public educators who will be honored at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala on Feb. 13, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The gala attracts more than 850 of the nation’s leaders from public education, philanthropy, and the private sector.
“We give these awards annually to honor and promote excellence in education and to elevate the profession. Educators like these are critical to their students’ academic success, and they deserve national recognition,” said Harriet Sanford, president and chief executive officer of the NEA Foundation, in a news release. “We are thrilled that California Casualty has joined us again this year to pay tribute to educators who are making such a difference in the lives of students in classrooms across the country.”   
“Educating our youth is so critically important. California Casualty is proud to partner with the NEA Foundation to pause and celebrate excellence in teaching,” said Beau Brown, chairman and CEO of California Casualty.  
The educators were nominated by their National Education Association state affiliates. Each educator’s school will receive a $650 award.
From the 39 state awardees, five finalists will be selected to receive $10,000 cash awards. At the conclusion of the Washington, D.C. gala, one finalist will be named the nation’s top educator and receive an additional $25,000.
The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards.