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NEA Member Named 2018 National Teacher of the Year

Spokane educator Mandy Manning receives top honor

WASHINGTON - April 20, 2018 -

NEA member Mandy Manning, an English and math teacher who teaches refugee and immigrant students in Spokane, Wash., is the 2018 National Teacher of the Year. The Council of Chief School State Officers (CCSSO) awarded Manning the prestigious title for her commitment to helping students in Ferris High School’s Newcomer Center process trauma, celebrate their home countries and culture, and learn about their new community. She will serve for one year as a full-time national and international spokesperson for public education.

“On behalf of NEA and its 3 million members, I want to congratulate Mandy on being named National Teacher of the Year,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Mandy is a shining example of how teachers transform the lives of their students every day, engaging them and creating enthusiasm for learning. In her work with immigrant and refugee students, she takes the time to connect with all of them one-on-one to find out who they are and discover their passions. Mandy sees no barriers—only bridges. She believes in her students, and it shows in the growing confidence they have in themselves.”

Manning has taught for the past 18 years, six of which have been in her current role. In addition to her work in the classroom and as a coach, Mandy is involved in her local and state union. She started as a building representative, discussing important workplace issues with her co-workers, representing their interests and concerns at union meetings and getting them involved. She is currently on the executive committee of the Spokane Education Association.

“We are so proud to have Mandy Manning as the National Teacher of the Year,” said Washington Education Association President Kim Mead. “Her work welcoming immigrant students is a fundamental building block to their process of becoming U.S. citizens. She does her work with heart, mind and humor. Mandy understands as a leader, being part of a strong union helps her students succeed. As a teacher, I couldn’t be more excited to have her represent us.”

“I am honored and excited to be the 2018 National Teacher of the Year,” Manning said. “This year I hope to engage the nation in a conversation about how we can encourage students to experience things outside of their understanding. When we move out of our comfort zones, visit new places, listen to others’ thoughts, and share our own opinions, we become compassionate and open. This is the first step in creating a more hopeful, safer, and kinder society where everyone can be productive, global citizens.”

“Let’s teach our students to be fearless,” she continued. “Let’s teach them to be brave when confronted with uncertainty,” said Manning. Brave when they fail. Brave in meeting new people. Brave in seeking opportunities to experience things outside of their understanding.”

Manning earned a Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Washington University, a Master of Arts from West Texas A & M University, and a Master of Fine Arts from Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced the four finalists for the 2011 National Teacher of the Year in January. All four finalists are NEA members. In addition to Manning, they were: Kara Ball (Department of Defense Education Activity), Amy T. Andersen (New Jersey), and Jonathan Juravich (Ohio).

CCSSO’s National Teacher of the Year program identifies exceptional teachers, recognizes their effective work in the classroom, engages them in a year of professional learning, amplifies their voices, and empowers them to participate in policy discussions at the state and national levels.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Celeste Busser, (202) 822-7823,