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NEA ESP of the Year Award

ESP of the Year Award Updates

NEA will present its 30th annual NEA ESP of the Year Award at the 2021 NEA ESP National Conference on Saturday, March 20th. 

NEW! Electronic Submission: This year all nomination forms are electronic. Hard copy nominations will NOT be accepted. Required application form deadlines will be announced.


Please refer to the five (5) required form samples on the right rail as a reference:

  • Nomination Form (to be completed by the nominee);
  • State Affiliate Acknowledgement Form (to be completed by the State Affiliate President); and
  • Three (3) Letter of Recommendation Forms.

*Please note, each required form above will have a unique hyperlink once active. The Nomination Form should be completed by the nominee, the State Affiliate Acknowledgment form must be completed by the state president, and each recommender must individually submit their recommendation electronically using the Letter of Recommendation Form. Participants should direct their recommenders to the link above once active.  

The form is limited in capacity to check for spelling and grammatical errors and does not allow you to save and then edit or complete to at a later date. Nominees are strongly encouraged to print a copy of the sample forms and complete them separately in a word document. Once complete, the responses should be copied and pasted into the electronic form.

Promotional Photo

Each nominee must submit a high-resolution, digital headshot taken with a neutral, solid background, that will be used for promotional purposes only. Selfies are not recommended. The photo should be 1200 x 1200 pixels or 1.4Mb in size and 240-300 dpi. The photo must be submitted as a JPEG, TIF or EPS file and attached as a separate file. Photos must be submitted via email. Submission email will be provided in the coming months.

Each year, one Education Support Professional receives the NEA ESP of the Year Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution to their schools, communities, and profession.

The ESP of the Year serves as an ambassador for Education Support Professionals around the country, promoting the value of ESP members at national and state conferences.

While it showcases one outstanding support professional each year, the Award recognizes and honors the contributions to great public schools all Education Support Professionals make year-round.

To date there have been 29 recipients of this national award, with the first ESP of the Year Award being presented in 1992. Below is a list of the those receiving this national recognition.


ESP of the Year Award Recipients

1992   Peggy Bertollo, Delaware
1993   Doris Dortch, Alabama
1994   Eddie Middleton, Louisiana
1995   Iona Hollway, Louisiana
1996   Evelyn Foster, North Carolina
1997   Karen Mahurin, Alaska
1998   Carter Foshee, Oklahoma
1999   Gail Rasmussen, Oregon
2000   Richard Malizia, New Jersey
2001   Irma Valdesino, New Mexico
2002   Joann Falk, Colorado
2003   Martin F. Meyer, Idaho
2004   Allyson “Sunny” Story, Iowa
2005   Kathleen Lange, Illinois
2006   Nancy Toombs, Kentucky
2007   Veronica Henderson, Maryland
2008   Laura Vernon, Wisconsin
2009   Kathie Axtell, Washington
2010   Helen Cottongim, Kentucky
2011   Jameel Williams, North Carolina
2012   Judy Near, Colorado
2013   Donna Schulze, Maryland
2014   Paula Monroe, California
2015  Janet Eberhardt, California
2016  Doreen McGuire-Grigg, California
2017  Saul Ramos, Massachusetts
2018  Sherry Shaw, Alaska
2019  Matthew Powell, Kentucky
2020  Andrea Beeman, Ohio


Andrea Beeman, Ohio
2020 ESP of the Year Award Recipient

ESP of the Year Addresses Delegates to the 2020 NEA Virtual Representative Assembly
Andrea Beeman shares how the selfless acts of others inspired her to devote a career of service to students, unionism, and activism.

Ohio Special Education Paraeducator 2020 NEA ESP of the Year

Request the ESP of the Year to Speak at Your Event


2020 ESP of the Year Information and Form Samples:

2020 ESP of the Year Award Overview

2020 ESP of the Year Sample State Affiliate Acknowledgement Form

2020 ESP of the Year Sample Nomination Form

2020 ESP of the Year Sample Recommendation Form

2020 ESP of the Year Checklist