Veteran Viking teacher wins award

Courtesy photo Center Consolidated Schools educator Susan Banning earned the outstanding service to public education award from the Colorado Education Association (CEA) at the CEA Awards banquet in Westminster, Colo. on April 22.

CENTER — A teacher for 36 years, Susan Banning received recognition at the Colorado Education Association (CEA) Awards banquet on April 22 for her outstanding service to public education. CEA bestows the honor on one of 36,000 CEA members each year.

In her acceptance speech, Banning said, “This is a humbling honor as working for a small local school, you cannot very well nominate yourself.”

Banning thanked Sharon Stanford for nominating her and finding people to write letters of support. For the first time in more than 18 years, a rural educator from the San Luis Valley received the award. Among different categories, recognition for “outstanding service to public education” is the highest honor from CEA.

Not long after she started teaching at Center Schools in 1993, Banning attended meetings and became involved with different organizations, starting with the San Luis UniServ Unit (SLUU) Membership Cadre. During her first SLUU meeting, after she took a restroom break, she returned to her seat and learned she was elected representative of the CEA Cadre.

In 1996, Banning attended her first National Education Association (NEA) meeting as a rural representative. Two years later, she was elected to the CEA Board of Directors. She represented Colorado at the NEA resolutions meetings for six of her nine years serving on the CEA resolutions committee.

A devastating car crash put Banning in a wheelchair, and she attended her first CEA meeting five months after the accident. She helped update the bylaws to create board alternates when members are unavailable for an extended period. Still, Banning only missed three board meetings over the course of the year after the wreck.

For the past 12 years, Banning has served as SLUU chair or co-chair. She continues to work with educators in the Valley and across the state, in addition to teaching younger Vikings on campus.