For Immediate Release
Mark Goldberg, 719.532.8436

New Jersey School Secretary Answers the Call for California Casualty's $7,500 School Lounge Makeover Contest


San Mateo, CA, December 15, 2014 … Colleen Leslie took a break from answering phones and typing correspondence at Apshawa Elementary School to attend a staff meeting last week. That's where she got the exciting news that she had won the latest $7,500 School Lounge Makeover from California Casualty. She read about the contest in an email from the NJEA. Her name was picked from more than 30,000 entrants.

"This is the best thing to happen to our school in a long time!" she exclaimed.

Colleen has been the secretary at the school in West Milford, New Jersey for eight years. She said the staff has been her support during a very difficult year. "I wanted to win this for them, to thank my family," she said. "It's a holiday gift to all of them."

Principal Stephanie Primavera said Colleen is the perfect person for this award. "She's the mom at our elementary school who takes care of everyone else before thinking of herself. She's the first to arrive in the morning and one of the last to leave at the end of the day."

Recognizing the lifelong impact of educators and the current financial strain on public schools, California Casualty created the School Lounge Makeover contest. Twice a year, one randomly drawn winner receives a transformation of the primary space at his or her school that teachers and staff can go to rejuvenate and recharge. Apshawa Elementary is the ninth school to receive a School Lounge Makeover.

Colleen can't wait to see an organized room with bright, soothing colors and new tables and chairs to replace the lounge that she described as the cluttered dumping ground of old appliances and second hand furniture. "It will be the shining spot in our otherwise gray and cream colored school."

California Casualty has been proudly serving educators for more than 60 years and gives back with other programs that benefit schools and students such as:

Entries for the next California Casualty School Lounge Makeover are now being taken at  A contestant must be an active employee of a K-12 public school or school administrator and a member of NEA or ACSA, COSA, NASA, KASE or OAESA. Should a school administrator win who does not work on a school campus, he/she will have the option of choosing the public school to receive the makeover. All members at the school may also enter, thus increasing their school's chances of winning. Complete rules are available at

Headquartered in San Mateo, CA, 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. Celebrating 100 years of service, California Casualty has been led by four generations of the Brown family. To learn more about California Casualty, or to request an auto insurance quote, please visit or call 1.800.800.9410.

Winner Colleen Leslie surprised by California Casualty's Alina Fayerman

Winner Colleen Leslie surprised by California Casualty's Alina Fayerman

Winner Colleen Leslie

Winner Colleen Leslie