“There are 3.2 million public school teachers in the United States; there are five Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence given out in any year,” CEA Executive Director Donald Williams told New London teachers during their convocation Friday. “Representing the New London Public Schools, Connecticut has one of those five, Elizabeth Sked.”
New London teachers erupted into enthusiastic applause in recognition of Jennings School instructional literacy coach Elizabeth Sked, who is a 2020 winner of the NEA Foundation’s prestigious 2020 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence.
“I’m just one person, but I’m the voice of all of you, and I absolutely couldn’t be prouder than to be representing all of us,” Sked told New London educators.
The Horace Mann awardees receive a $10,000 prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to the NEA Foundation Salute to Education Gala in Washington, D.C., in February. Sked and the other four Horace Mann Award winners are also finalists for the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000.
Sked is a proud public school educator and union leader, who is dedicated to her students and to fortifying the foundation of teaching practice. She says, “I am passionate about helping teachers become the best teachers they can be and in turn positively impacting many students. Every decision I make, every day, starts and ends with students.”
“Elizabeth is soft spoken, but she is fierce in her defense of students and the teaching profession. She’s a role model in a time when civility and kindness are needed more than ever,” Williams said. “She shows students the importance of standing up for what’s right, even when it’s hard, and doing so with grace, and determination. Because of her work for the children of New London, she’s earned the respect of her students, parents, colleagues, and the public.”
“Elizabeth is a shining example of the highly-qualified, skilled, dedicated teachers in Connecticut,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “She promotes excellence in teaching and service to the profession by mentoring new teachers, advocating for resources that teachers and students need, facilitating professional development presentations, and speaking to legislators about issues that impact public education.”
This is the second time in just four months that Sked has been recognized before her peers for her teaching excellence. In May, she received CEA’s highest honor, the John McCormack Award, which recognizes and promotes excellence in teaching and service to the profession. The award, which is highly competitive, examines teachers on five criteria: professional practice, community engagement, leadership in professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for the profession.