The 2022 NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence

Kathy Purviance-Snow receives top national award at the NEA Foundation’s gala

The winner of the NEA Member Benefits Award was Kathy Purviance-Snow, a career and technical education and social studies educator in Snohomish, Wash.


WASHINGTON, DC (May 14, 2022) – The NEA Foundation awarded one of public education’s highest honors to Kathy Purviance-Snow, a career and technical education and social studies educator in Snohomish, Wash., yesterday evening at the NEA Foundation Salute to Excellence in Education.

The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence, which comes with $25,000, was presented to Purviance-Snow by NEA Member Benefits President and CEO Gary Phoebus.

“Kathy’s enduring commitment to creating an inclusive learning environment for all students is an inspiration,” said Sara A. Sneed, president and CEO of The NEA Foundation. “Her work to ensure students of color are safe, loved, and accepted at school exemplifies teaching excellence.”

A leader of conversations around equity in her Washington community for more than 40 years, Purviance-Snow’s awareness of the lack of educator diversity led her to create the Grow Your Own program, an initiative focused on inspiring students of color to pursue careers as educators. Through this initiative, she’s helped her students see a pathway to future career success and to have an understanding of diverse life experiences beyond their own.

Purviance-Snow also was one of 46 public school educators selected by their state education associations to be honored at the gala with the California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence. Of these 46, five educators were selected to receive the Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence, and $10,000. Nominated by the Washington Education Association, Purviance-Snow was one of the five Horace Mann Awards recipients, thereby eligible to receive the top NEA Member Benefits award.

Each Horace Mann Award recipient receives special recognition at the Salute to Excellence in Education. Along with Purviance-Snow, other Horace Mann Award recipients and finalists for the NEA Member Benefits Awards, included:

  • Adriana Abundis Alonzo, a master educator at Sidney Lanier High School in San Antonio, Texas, nominated by Texas State Teachers Association;
  • Natalia Benjamin, an English language educator at Century High School in Rochester, Minn., nominated by Education Minnesota;
  • Chris Gleason, a music educator at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wis., nominated by Wisconsin Education Association Council, and;
  • Alexandra Castellanos Smith, a Spanish/English as a Second Language educator at Sand Ridge Junior High in Roy, Utah, nominated by Utah Education Association.

Each year, the NEA Foundation presents its awards to exceptional public school educators and dedicated supporters of public education from across the country.

During the 2022 Salute to Excellence in Education Gala, the Foundation also recognized two organizations for their longtime impact on the education system. The Algebra Project was honored with the First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education for their commitment to developing math literacy in underserved communities. Californians for Justice was awarded the inaugural NEA Foundation Equity Partner Award for more than two-decades of work empowering California’s youth leaders.