DANVILLE -- Kimberly Gilles, a teacher at Monte Vista High School, won a top award for teaching excellence from National Education Association Foundation.

She won the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000 during a NEA Foundation's Salute to Excellence in Education Gala on Feb. 7 in Washington, D.C.

During the gala, the foundation granted nearly 40 awards to outstanding educators and supporters of public education.

A veteran teacher in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and a member of the San Ramon Valley Education Association, Gilles was nominated for the award by the California Teachers Association, which is a labor union affiliate of the National Education Association.

She was chosen by her peers to win the award because "she has attained the highest teaching standards, as illustrated by her exemplary instruction, advocacy for the profession and staunch support of public education," said Harriet Sanford, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation.

Also she shows a commitment to diversity in her teaching, Stanford said: "In her classroom, she shares a passion for social justice to inspire students to lift up their own voices through reading and writing."

-- Joyce Tsai, Staff