Three Education Champions to Receive Prestigious James A. Kelly Award at Teaching & Learning 2014

WASHINGTON — The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards will present the prestigious James A. Kelly Award for Advancing Accomplished Teaching to the Honorable James B. Hunt, Jr., founding chair of the National Board and former governor of North Carolina; the Honorable Richard Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former governor of South Carolina; and Barbara Kelley, former chair of the National Board, and the first teacher to serve in this position.

“These incredible individuals have dedicated their life’s work to advance the teaching profession in profound ways,” said Ron Thorpe, president of the National Board. “Each one has chosen to think boldly, to imagine what the profession of teaching deserves to be, and then set about to make that happen.  We’re proud to present them with the highest honor and distinction the National Board can offer.”

James A. Kelly, the founding president of the National Board and the man for whom the award is named, noted: “In 1987 when the National Board was founded, people called it ‘mission impossible.’ Governor Hunt was undaunted by the challenge.  For him the National Board was the natural extension of the ground-breaking work he did for the teaching profession during his unequaled four terms as Governor.”

“Secretary Riley was a strong supporter of the National Board throughout his two terms as Secretary of Education under President Clinton. “Without his support, without his deep-seated belief in teachers, the National Board would not be where it is today,” Thorpe stated. “And he made sure interest ran all the way to the Oval Office.”

“It was an important moment when the Board appointed Barbara Kelley as chair of the Board of Directors. No classroom teacher had ever held the position,” said Christy Levings, vice-chair of the Board of Directors. “Her appointment marked a transition that ensured the National Board was now fully a body created and overseen by teachers and dedicated to building the profession.”

The award was established in 1999 to recognize and honor individuals who provide clear, consistent, and convincing evidence of their ability to foster Mr. Kelly’s legacy of accomplished teaching. Recipients embody these traits through:

• A deep-seated belief in the inherent right of all children to a quality education;
• A professional life dedicated to improving education for teachers and their students;
• A passionate commitment to improving teaching and learning in America;
• Unwavering dedication to the professional integrity and competence of teachers;
• Visionary and boundless energy, eternal optimism, and expert leadership;
• An innate capacity to inspire collaboration and mobilize support that enabled unparalleled achievements in the history of American education reform; and
• A clear vision coupled with steadfast commitment and fierce determination which has led to historic milestones in American education and meaningful impact on teaching and learning.

Past recipients of this award include President Bill Clinton, Senator Arlen Specter, Gov. Roy Barnes, Linda Darling-Hammond, Gov. Ted Strickland, and Edward B. Rust, chairman and CEO at State Farm Insurance Companies.

The James A. Kelly Award will be presented at the inaugural Teaching & Learning conference on March 14-15, 2014 in Washington, D.C. The National Board encourages all accomplished teachers, administrators, policymakers, and thought leaders to join in honoring these pioneering advocates for the teaching profession by registering today for Teaching & Learning 2014. Media are encouraged to apply for press credentials immediately to the contact listed above.

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