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The NEA Foundation Names Germantown Educator to Receive National Award
Germantown, Tennessee August 28, 2019The NEA Foundation today announced that JESSICA MINTON, a STEM/Science teacher at Houston High School in Germantown, TN, is one of 45 public school educators who will receive the prestigious California Casualty Award for Teaching Excellence at the NEA Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Education Gala next February in Washington, D.C.

The California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence awardees are nominated by their peers for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.

Jessica Minton exemplifies the spirit of the award.  A former Germantown Teacher of the Year, Minton works tirelessly to create a great learning experience for all of her students.  She is a regular fixture at professional development conferences both as a presenter and an attendee.  “It took me by surprise.  I just want to do right by my students,” said Minton.  Learning outside of the classroom is key, she believes because, “becoming a stronger teacher is one way to better serve my students and model life-long learning”.  The focus of much of her professional development over the last two years has been in student equity.  “I want to be known as the teacher that is there for all of my students,” she said.  Minton herself struggled in school with a hearing impairment and uses that as a teachable moment in her science classes.  “Mistakes are proof you’re trying,” Minton told us she tells her students.

“She does everything!  Every time I turn around there’s another group that wants to benefit from her expertise,” said Principal Rob Taylor.  He is consistently amazed with the work she’s doing in her Biology A/B class (for students with disabilities).  “I’m not surprised, but very proud that Ms. Minton will represent Tennessee and Houston High School at this national event,” he said.

Beth Brown, the TEA President, nominated Germantown Municipal School District’s Jessica Minton for the award. In a statement, she wrote:
American author Ralph Ellison said that “education is all a matter of building bridges.” Mrs. Minton, a high school science teacher, is the embodiment of Ellison’s sentiment. She helps her students build bridges between the abstract and the concrete, between their potential and their achievement, between their dreams and their successes.

Of the 45 state awardees who were nominated by their National Education Association state affiliate, five finalists will be announced at the beginning of the school year and receive $10,000 at the gala. The nation’s top educator will be revealed at the gala on February 7, 2020 and receive an additional $25,000. The gala will be livestreamed at

The NEA Foundation and the National Education Association jointly present the awards. Find more information about the awards and a gallery of this year’s awardees.