Justin Minkel, Arkansas State Teacher of the Year 2007

Justin Minkel, Arkansas State Teacher of the Year 2007


Justin Minkel, Arkansas State Teacher of the Year 2007

I played an instrumental role in bringing about the proposed Teachers at the Table Act, federal legislation to create a permanent committee of Teachers of the Year to advise the House and Senate Education Committees.  The one-page proposal I drafted was incorporated into legislative language for Senate bill 1137 and House Resolution 2624, with multiple co-sponsors including then-Senator Barack Obama.

I also helped to draft the 2007 Teachers of the Year’s list of ten proposed changes to No Child Left Behind, contributing the one-pager on the need for a growth model.  The 51 Teachers of the Year who signed this document delivered it to their Senators and Representatives in March 2008, with resulting legislative action that included bills to incorporate a growth model included bills to incorporate a growth model in meeting Annual Yearly Progress requirements and to expand the window of time for English Language Learners to be exempt from standardized tests from 1 to 3 years.

At the state level, I proposed a network of Arkansas Teachers of the Year and Milken Educators that led to the creation of the Arkansas Exemplary Educators Network, which advises the Arkansas Department of Education.

I am currently working on scaling up the idea of home libraries as an intervention for at-risk readers at a school, district, state, and national level.

Justin Minkel teaches 2nd grade at Jones Elementary in Northwest Arkansas, a school where 85% of the students are English Learners and 98% live in poverty.  Justin is the 2007 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, a 2006 Milken Educator, and a 2000 Teach For America corps member.

He is a 2011 National Board Certified Teacher, with an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Masters in Elementary Education from the University of California at Berkeley.  Justin has taught kindergarten through 7th grade in New York, California, Arkansas, and Senegal, West Africa.  He is the author of the children’s book Clubhouse Clash.


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