Illinois Teacher Surprised with $25,000 Award

Share Article

Stratford Middle School 8th grade instructor, Kathleen Nikides, was the grand prize winner of California Casualty's "Wherever Your Journey Takes You...We'll be There" Sweepstakes. Kathleen was surprised with a $25,000 check during a school assembly November 16.

Superintendent William Shields, Tom Tully of the IEA, Winner Kathleen Nikides, California Casualty’s Kathy Smith, Michelle Couturier IEA, and Stratford Middle School Assistant Principal Allison Moe

Thanks to member benefit partners like California Casualty, we feel valued, and that value is very appreciated right now.

Kathleen Nikides is recovering from a state of shock after being surprised with a $25,000 check during a school assembly Friday morning. Kathleen, an 8th grade English instructor at Stratford Middle School in Bloomingdale, IL, is the grand prize winner of California Casualty’s “Wherever Your Journey Takes You…We’ll be There” Sweepstakes. She learned about the contest in an email from the Illinois Education Association (IEA).

“I’m still flying high, I can’t believe I won. My husband and I will take some time the next few days to figure out what we will do with the money,” she said.

Teaching for 35 years, 30 years at Stratford Middle School, Kathleen loves advocating for students and helping them reach their full potential. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and I still love every minute of it. It was great that my students were so excited when they learned that I had won.”

Kathleen is the co-president of the Carol Stream Education Association, which is an affiliate of the IEA, and is thankful California Casualty supports education associations. “With public education under attack these days, it’s more imperative than ever that we stand together with the IEA and NEA and be united in our effort to protect our profession. Thanks to member benefit partners like California Casualty, we feel valued, and that value is very appreciated right now,” she said.

California Casualty, provider of the NEA Auto and Home Insurance Program, works with educators across the country. The Journey campaign was created to remind educators about the importance of having the right insurance for every stage of life’s journey. The initiative stressed the necessity of updating and understanding policies to avoid a financial crisis after a disaster, such as a hurricane, violent tornado or intense wildfire.

More than 52,000 school administrators, instructors and education support professionals across the country heard the message and entered the sweepstakes.

Educators are invited to enter California Casualty's $7,500 School Lounge Makeover contest at

About California Casualty:
Headquartered in San Mateo, California, with Service Centers in Arizona, Colorado and Kansas, California Casualty provides auto and home insurance to educators, firefighters, law enforcement and nurses across the country. Founded in 1914, California Casualty has been led by four generations of the Brown family. To learn more about California Casualty, please visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Mark Goldberg
Visit website