Mary Dunn, fifth-grade instructor at Albert S. Hall School in Waterville, recently was presented with a $650 check and commemorative plaque by California Casualty as one of 38 public educators who received the prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence, according to a news release from Mark Goldberg, communications specialist, California Casualty Management Company.

Dunn also will be honored at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala set for Feb. 9 in Washington, D.C.

The California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence are unique. In addition to being recognized for excellence in instructional and professional practice, awardees are nominated by their peers — their NEA state affiliate — for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.

“Guiding kids to take ownership of their learning and giving them authentic praise goes a long way in encouraging kids to do their best,” said Dunn according to the release.

“These outstanding educators are innovators, challengers and global thinkers,” said Harriet Sanford, NEA Foundation President and CEO, according to the release. “We are delighted that California Casualty joins us once again in expressing our shared admiration and thanks for their work.”

Dunn was nominated for the honor by the Maine Education Association.