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CEA Awards

Every year CEA honors remarkable educators and friends of public education from across Colorado.

CEA Awards

Every year, the Colorado Education Association (CEA) honors remarkable educators and friends of public education from across Colorado at our Delegate Assembly. With so many people doing extraordinary things in their classrooms, school buildings, meeting rooms, and at the legislature, we need your help to find them.

You can nominate a friend, fellow member, community leader, or colleague – any Coloradan who you admire and believe exemplifies the criteria of a respective award. Your nominations help us celebrate and recognize the dedication and passion of those who make a difference in our educational community.


Bates Award

The John M. & Gladys N. Bates Award recognizes outstanding contributions in the areas of human relations, multiculturalism, and/or diversity in the field of education. This award honors an educator, lay person, or group who has worked to promote collaboration and harmony among diverse groups while advancing social and racial justice.

CEA Award

The CEA Award recognizes an Association member who has given outstanding service to public education at the state level. This is the highest award that CEA bestows upon a member.

Coloradan Award

The Coloradan Award recognizes an outstanding individual or organization for service in support of education at the state level. This is the highest award CEA gives to someone who is not an Association member.

Columbine Award

The Columbine Award recognizes an Association member for leadership in member recruitment and retention resulting in significant membership growth.

ESP Award

The ESP Award recognizes an education support professional (ESP) member whose activities demonstrate the contributions of education support professionals to public education. The ESP Award winner is CEA’s nominee for the NEA ESP Person of the Year.

Friend of Education Award

The Friend of Education Award honors a public official who has made a significant contribution to public education in Colorado.

Golden Apple Award

The Golden Apple Award recognizes an Association member, committee, or local who has made outstanding contributions in the area of education excellence and teacher image. This award honors those who have developed and implemented programs and/or activities to enhance the teaching profession and public education.

John Chase Political Action Award Award

The John Chase Political Action Award recognizes a member or group of members who have made major contributions to public education in the political arena and whose efforts have significantly impacted the Association’s political action program.

Lion Advocacy Award

The Lion Advocacy Award recognizes individuals or groups who have made outstanding contributions as advocates for education employees and public education. Named in honor of the late James Reynolds, Director of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for 18 years, who was recognized by CEA in 1980 for his human and civil rights contributions, this award celebrates exceptional advocacy efforts.

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones Organizing

Mary Harris “Mother” Jones was an Irish-American school teacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer. She helped coordinate major strikes and co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World.

This award honors a CEA member who embodies what it means to be an organizer through their actions to organize internally or externally, increase capacity, and build coalitions to enhance and protect public education.

Mickelsen Diamond Award

The Mel Mickelsen Diamond Award recognizes an Association member or a group of members for outstanding service to education through collective bargaining. It honors those who have been deeply involved in our Association’s representation of education employees through collective bargaining.

The Diamond Award represents the four objectives of collective bargaining: employee rights, salary and benefits, working conditions, and operational procedures.

Petrocco Leadership Award

The Hazel F. Petrocco Leadership Award recognizes an individual or group for outstanding service in the area of women’s rights. Named for the late Hazel Petrocco, a long-time Association activist and advocate for women’s rights and a member of the Pueblo Education Association, this award honors those whose activities in leadership positions and women’s rights have significantly impacted public education and furthered the achievement of equal educational opportunities for women and girls.

Johnson Memorial Scholarship

The Robert H. Johnson, Jr. Memorial Scholarship recognizes an Association member who is committed to improving his or her professional skills. The Johnson Scholarship is named for Dr. Robert H. Johnson, Jr., CEA Executive Director from 1968 to 1974. It is given each year in his memory from a fund administered by the Board of Directors.

Silver Apple Award

The Silver Apple Award honors individuals and/or groups who have made a substantial contribution to the Association, its members, public schools, and students. The CEA-R Representative Council recognizes that there are many retired members who continue to impact public education and the profession by contributing their time and talent.

The Silver Apple Award recognizes a retired Association member or a group of retired Association members for outstanding service to the Association, public education, and/or the profession.

2024 CEA Awards Winners

Amie Baca-Oehlert – CEA Award

Amie Baca-Oehlert is a high school English teacher and counselor. She was named the Adams City High School Teacher of the Year in 2000-2001. She earned her undergraduate degree from Clemson University and a Master’s degree in school counseling from the University of Northern Colorado. After serving six years as CEA’s Vice President, Amie was elected as CEA President in April 2018 and started serving in that role on July 6, 2018.In order to serve as CEA President, Amie is currently on leave from her teaching duties in the Adams 12 Five Star Schools District. She previously served as President of the District Twelve Educators’ Association and as the Ethnic Minority At Large member on the CEA Board of Directors. Amie was selected by Governor Bill Ritter to serve as one of three teacher representatives on the P-20 Council, serving from 2008-2010. Beginning in 2010, she was appointed by Governor Ritter as one of four teachers to serve on the State Council of Educator Effectiveness. Amie is passionate about advocating for the rights of public school educators. She resides in the Thornton area with her husband, who is also a public school administrator and licensed teacher, and her three children.

Eric Hansen – Coloradoan Award

Eric Hansen has proudly worked to support the nearly 1400 members of the Ski Country UniServ Unit as the UniServ director since 2012.Supporting members to create an organizing culture and increase member engagement has led to great gains for the membership in Ski Country through two new collective bargaining agreements, historic double-digit percentage salary increases, great gains in employee rights through contract negotiations, and increased membership in Ski Country by over 30%.

Eric began his professional career as a High School Social Studies teacher and Debate Coach in Moffat County where he taught for 9 years and was an active member and bargaining team chair during his time as a proud member of the Moffat County Education Association.

Eric’s passion for school funding and increasing educators salaries has driven much of his work at CEA. Working closely with leaders creating organizing campaigns working towards a $50k starting salary and an end to the B.S. Factor have been some highlights of his career at CEA. The $50k starting salary campaign has made a tremendous impact on educators in Colorado as it has spread to locals throughout the state and continues to pay dividends. Eric’s passion for school funding is also evident and he is proud of his work on the End The BS campaign. This continued pressure on the state legislature from Rural Colorado Educators will result in fully funded public schools in Colorado for the first time since 2008.

Eric looks forward to continuing to fight for increased salaries and more rights for educators as a proud employee of the CEA.

Veronica Martinez – ESP Award

Veronica Martinez is the daughter of Manuel Manny Martinez and Virginia Martinez, both who have influenced her life and surrounded her educational and political realms.

Veronica graduated from Denver West HS in ‘84 and graduated from college with her bachelors in ‘88. Veronica made a promise that she would come back to her community, West Denver. It is especially meaningful to her to encourage underserved Hispanic/latinx students to believe in themselves and to finish getting their education.

Veronica’s 30 years in Denver Public Schools has given her experiences that she thought she would have never had to endure. In 2011-2012, Veronica had to learn the hard way to fight for herself in regards to allegations by admin at a school she worked at. She had to lean on her union and the PTA to overcome it and win. The current president of DAEOP was helpful and began to get her involved with the union. After bargaining sessions, the DAEOP president leaned on her more and more. The Uniserv rep from DUU began to fill her head with more and more ideas to help out our members/secretaries in the same position, which led to Veronica running for president of the union.

From 2019-2023, Veronica served as the president of DAEOP. Veronica’s hard work as president paid off during the 2022 bargaining session when DAEOP bargained to raise the stating salary to $21.50, including a raise for the next three years for everyone under DAEOP. Her team also secured improved stipends for Office Supports and Nurse Delegates. She also encouraged Office professional to use their voices for respect and equality, and they believed in her because she did stand behind them through adversity and made sure that the outcome would be obtainable.

Angelica Givler – Golden Apple Award

Dr. Angelica Givler has been teaching elementary school for over 15 years. She has a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education with a focus on literacy from Idaho State University. She has a Ph.D. in Education with a specialization in Reading, Literacy, Assessment, and Evaluation.

During her years as an educator, Dr. Givler has taught in 3 states, 5 districts, and 5 schools. She has seen the impacts of having a strong union, losing bargaining rights as a union, and having no union at all. Because of these experiences, she has always sought out districts with a strong union presence and fought hard to ensure that others knew the importance of their union membership.

Dr. Givler developed a love for reading and teaching at a young age when she would play school and force her younger brothers to listen to her read to them. During her teacher preparation program, she realized that she wanted to be able to spread the joy of reading, and she needed more tools to help struggling readers, driving her to earn additional degrees.

Dr. Givler continues to spread her love of reading through many events, programs, fundraising, and book drives at her school. Through her work with the union, she speaks out against book bans, other harmful school board decisions, and legislation that would make it difficult for students to access education and find themselves in the books they read.

Dr. Givler is a firm believer that the voices of educators are the ones that must tell the story for education and knows the union is the way to make sure this happens.

Naomi López – John M. & Gladys N. Bates Award

Naomi López is a Speech Language Pathologist serving preschool through 8th grade students in Colorado Springs School District 11. She has been a dedicated SLP for 19 years, serving students throughout the Pikes Peak region. She serves as Itinerant Director on the board of Colorado Springs Education Association and is a leader in public advocacy for equity, inclusion and justice. In her advocacy efforts, Naomi has not shied away from stepping forward to call out attacks on public education and injustices towards students, teachers and families at school board meetings, city and county open meetings and through media outlets.

Naomi is a founding member, and Secretary, of the Latina Equity Foundation, a non-profit community development corporation that works to uplift and progress the lives of Colorado Springs Latinas in the areas of education, health and wellness, and economic prosperity. Naomi is also a founding member and Past President of the grassroots, public education advocacy group, Neighbors For Education, which works to address systemic barriers within our public school systems that impede equitable and just academic outcomes for all students. Naomi’s commitment to her community extends to her current candidacy for El Paso County Commissioner, district 3, where she hopes to continue exemplifying that educators and women of color can lead the way towards a more inclusive and empowered future.

Naomi is the mother of an amazing 7th grader who is her inspiration for all she does in her community, and a dog mom to their standard poodle, Vixen. Naomi is serving her first term on the CEA Equity Council for Race and Culture.

Donna Raught – Lion Advocacy Award

Donna J. Raught has been involved in education all her life. She grew up with both her mother and father who were teachers. Both parents were members of the Education Association and were leaders in their local and state organizations. Her parents encouraged her to speak up and advocate for the rights of others. Donna has fond memories of attending association meetings, conferences, and conventions with her parents as she grew up.

She began her teaching career in Northern New Mexico where she taught Special Education at all grade levels. She taught for 9 years as a Special Education teacher advocating for her students and fighting for funding and services to meet the needs of her students. During that time, Donna became President of her local union. Donna and her bargaining team bargained the first negotiated Agreement in New Mexico as a NEA local. Shortly thereafter, she was hired as an organizer for NEA-NM. She later became a UniServ Director for the Northeastern UniServ Unit and worked in Santa Fe and represented 17 locals for 6 years. Donna was later inducted into the Hall of Fame of NEA- New Mexico for her leadership and advocacy for public education.

Donna was recruited to apply for the UniServ Director position in Pueblo. She was interviewed and was hired in March of 1993. She has been the UniServ Director in Spanish Peaks UniServ for 31 years. During that time, she has represented hundreds of members through grievances, arbitrations, dismissals, and Fact Findings. She has organized new bargaining units in Pueblo 70 and Trinidad for the classified employees where she organized and worked with the local bargaining teams to bargain their first CBAs. Donna has organized Early Childhood Educators, Security Guards and Community Advocates to join and be recognized under the PESPA. She has also organized bus drivers to be recognized under the ACME. Donna has worked with her leaders to maintain and strengthen the negotiated agreements. Donna along with her leadership and bargaining teams of PEA and PPEA took hundreds of employees out on strike for five days for the first strike in Pueblo. She along with the teams bargained a settlement to return with no harm or loss of job or pay.

Misty Hart – Lion Advocacy Award

Watching her Dad slap a CWA bumper sticker on the Governor’s limo during a telephone company strike and starting a rebellious underground newspaper in the 7th grade are two memories Misty links with her journey as an Association leader and later, UniServ Director. She knew early in life that she was going to be an educator. In junior high, Misty focused on her love of playing and teaching music that resulted in a 21-year career as a music educator.

During her 16 years in Academy District 20, Misty engaged in various Association positions from being an Association Representative, Vice-President and two different stints as President of AEA, and also as Secretary and Unit Chair of Pikes Peak Education Association. When the second UniServ Director position in PPEA opened, Misty was encouraged to apply and spent a wonderful five-plus years in that role.

In 2006, Misty came on board with the Front Range UniServ Unit as a Uniserv Director. She loves the challenges and opportunities of FRUU, whether it’s the thrill of working with emerging leaders who want to organize for recognition, supporting a local with a school board elections, being at the bargaining table with amazing leaders, or advocating for an individual member’s rights.

Misty recalls the most salient moments of her work: Watching brave individual Canon City ESP members walk down the high school auditorium aisle, up the steps to the stage to cast their vote for recognition in front of the HR Director, union representatives and the neutral election judge after a two-year campaign; watching Park County RE2 staff (South Park EA) stand up one at a time in front of a community meeting to publicly commit to strike the next day; listening to educators, many in tears, at the first organizing for recognition meeting in Clear Creek County tell their story about why they came to the meeting, and then a year later attending the Board of Education meeting when the Board voted to recognize CCCEA as the sole bargaining agent; being at the table the first time Cherry Creek bus assistants joined drivers to bargain following the assistants’ campaign for recognition.

Jefferson County Education Association Bargaining Team – Mickelsen Diamond Award

The JCEA Bargaining team has won big for members over the last four years. In the 2020-2021 school year, in the middle of a pandemic, the team re-visioned how it would bargain. Under the leadership of Negotiations Chair Michelle Moehlis and JCEA President Brooke Williams, the team flipped the script on bargaining to create a more democratic process rooted in the voices of members by implementing an article bargaining model.

Under this system, the team brought in educators directly affected by specific issues who wrote initial language that would address their needs. Then those members sat at the table to tell their stories and help negotiate the ultimate contract language.
By doing this, the JCEA bargaining team accomplished concrete wins that have benefited members. There are now articles in the negotiated agreement that provide CTE educators with more of the rights of other educators. The team won supports for mental health and Title 1 teachers, and most notably, the team won an article fighting for equity for educators and students of color.

Changing this process not only grew the union’s wins, it created community among members by allowing union leaders to hear the experiences of fellow educators. For example, members had no idea that Warren Tech educators were having to do more work for the same pay, and few people understood the challenges in Title Schools.

The JCEA bargaining team built power and solidarity, and in the process brought members together to fight for language that improves working and learning conditions across the district.

Ang Anderson – Hazel F. Petrocco Leadership Award

Ang Anderson is a high school Social Studies teacher at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, CO where she currently teaches AP Economics, Psychology, and AP Human Geography. She received her B.A. in History Education from the University of West Florida and her M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governors University. Ang has served as an NEA Director representing the state of Colorado since 2021, and serves as Mountain Region Director for the National Council of Urban Education Associations. She also currently serves as the JCEA Secretary.

For the past ten years, Ang has been a passionate advocate for our educators, our students, and our profession. Whether lobbying in Colorado or Washington D.C., testifying in state committees, speaking at school board meetings, working with legislators on policy, or speaking at rallies, she has called for a great public school for every student. She has advocated for safe and just schools, especially for students of color and LGBTQ+ students, increased mental health supports, overhauling our evaluation system, improved funding, supports for educators of color and LGBTQ+ educators, and educator pay and respect.

As a woman in these spaces, Ang knows how challenging it can be to speak with passion and strength while continuing to be heard as a positive voice. She also knows the barriers and lack of information women face as they seek to be heard in these spaces. Because of this, Ang actively encourages opportunities for educators to use their voices, especially marginalized groups such as women and educators of color. She has been a mentor for the CEA Fellowship which provides CEA members with opportunities to elevate issues they see impacting their students and fellow educators and to advocate for change in these areas. The women leaders that have come from this group are now building leaders, board members, and advocates in the local and state.

Ang has also worked on numerous campaigns to get strong women elected to public office that have helped to move forward priorities for women such as medical autonomy, fair treatment in the workplace, and gender equity.

Ashlee Hoppe – Robert H. Johnson Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Ashlee Hoppe will be finishing her 11th year teaching middle school Special Education at Summit Ridge Middle School in Jefferson County. She grew up in Littleton and attended Jeffco Public Schools for 7-12th grade.

From a very early age, Ashlee knew she wanted to be a teacher and help students with higher needs. While attending University of Northern Colorado (UNC), she pursued her Bachelor’s degree as a Special Education Generalist, graduating Summa Cum Laude. During this time she began her first foray into CEA by attending a leadership conference for college students. Over the years, Ashlee has added endorsements in elementary education, language arts, middle school math, and a certificate in culturally and lingually diverse education.

During her teaching career, Ashlee has worked to create a positive and impactful experience for her students and coworkers. She works with all students to create a welcoming environment where students can reach a higher potential and learn. She has also supported fellow teachers through working as the Communications Action Team Chair in JCEA, attended Delegate Assembly, and continues to advocate for education.

Ashlee has always been a lifelong learner and wanted to get a Master’s Degree. With this scholarship, she will be able to continue this journey working on Curriculum and Instruction at Western Governors University.

Julie Friedemann – Silver Apple Award

Julie Friedemann began her teaching career in 1975 at Alameda High School in Jefferson County, where she taught a complete mathematics curriculum to all levels of high school students. In 1998, she transferred to Green Mountain High School (also in Jefferson County) where she remained for a total of 23 years, then retiring in 2012 after a successful 37 year career in teaching. At both schools, she was pleased to serve as a CU-Succeed Gold Instructor of Mathematics.

In Jefferson County, she held leadership positions and was a member of numerous committees, including, Chairperson of the Math Department, Instructional Leader, Supervisor of Student Teachers as well as the District-wide Leadership and Communications Budget Work group. For several years, she enjoyed being a Junior Class Sponsor at Alameda.

Julie has been a dedicated member of JCEA and CEA for 49 years. As an active JCEA member, she served on the Negotiating Team, as a Building Association Representative, as a Legislative Liaison and as a member of the JCEA Board of Directors and the CEA Board of Directors. She was also a member of the Teacher Rights Committee and the Compensation Study Committee. Julie’s work was recognized with the JCEA Diamond Award, the JCEA Award, the JCEA Jeffey Award, and the JCEA Lion Award. Julie’s involvement has continued in retirement; most notably as a Vice President of JCEA Retired and as a Committee member of the nonprofit Jefferson County Good News Coalition. Additionally, she is an elected Trustee of PERA representing retired educators. This year marks the eighth year of her service as a PERA Trustee.