TEACHERS LIKE TOM

Tom Joyner, the first DJ to actually be cloned, is also a good friend of education through the Tom Joyner Foundation, duly noted by the National Education Association’s 2006 Friend of Education Award. He joins good company, including previous winners Thurgood Marshall and Christa McAuliffe. Full release in the jump.

WASHINGTON–Radio listeners across the country know Tom Joyner for his ability to generate belly aching laughter on his daily morning show. Education, however, is no laughing matter to this radio personality. For his constant commitment and dedication to quality public schools, the National Education Association is awarding the Tom Joyner Foundation its 2006 Friend of Education Award.

The Friend of Education Award is NEA’s highest honor, and recognizes a person or organization whose leadership, acts or support have significantly contributed to the improvement of American public education. The award is presented each year during NEA’s Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly. This year, it was held in Orlando, Fla. from Friday, June 30 through Wednesday, July 5, 2006. More than 9,000 delegates debated and voted on critical issues facing public education.

“Tom Joyner is dedicated to giving back to the community and improving the lives of students,” said Reg Weaver, NEA president. “He strikes a balance of entertaining and educating on his morning show, but that desire to inform resonates beyond the airwaves. He does this not because he has to, but because he cares. Students and educators across the country are the beneficiaries of his kindness.”

The Tom Joyner Foundation was established in 1998 for the purpose of helping students continue their education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation. The foundation has raised more than $35 million to date for this single cause.

In January 2005, NEA and the Tom Joyner Foundation began a partnership to help minority teachers become fully certified. Funded by the foundation, the program pays for examination fees and offers specialized workshops, coursework, materials and individual tutoring.

“We started this foundation for the sole purpose of helping students to stay in school,” said Joyner, whose nationally syndicated four-hour, drive-time radio show is the nation’s leading morning entertainment show. “We’ve never lost sight of that goal, as well as the need to make sure that teachers have the skills they need to prepare our students to help them pursue their dreams.”

Previous Friend of Education Award recipients include former Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton; Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; former NAACP Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins; U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley; Senators Edward Kennedy and Hillary Rodham Clinton; and the late Christa McAuliffe.

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