The Howard University alumna was also commended by Christina Grant, the state’s Superintendent of Education for her use of innovative techniques and mentoring other educators.
DC educator Jenelle Bryant took home one of the top teacher recognition awards on Thursday, $25,000 and praise from Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Oprah Winfrey at a Milken Educator Award meeting at Seaton Elementary School on Thursday.
Bryant, a specialist in reading recovery, received the award for her work helping her K-1 students master the necessary reading skills.
She is the only educator in the District to receive the honor this year, and rightly so.
Nearly 90% of students who complete Bryant’s classwork will no longer need her support by the end of the school year.
The awards group added that Bryant’s “dropout rate” — how many students no longer need her help with reading — is 88%, “significantly higher than both DC Public Schools and the nation.”
The reading specialist was surprised when she accepted the award and asked her students to squeeze her “because I feel like I’m in a dream!”
“My family is made up of immigrants and I am my grandparents’ dream,” Bryant said. “You can do anything you want, just like I do what I want to do.”
Look what Oprah had to say:
The Howard University alumna was also commended by Christina Grant, the state’s Superintendent of Education, for her use of innovative techniques and mentoring other educators.
“Jenelle’s expertise is vital to a strong recovery of our students after the pandemic,” Grant said. “Thank you, Jenelle, and congratulations on receiving the Milken Educator Award for the District of Columbia.”
Jane Foley, the senior vice president for educators awards, presented the award to Bryant in front of her school’s students, along with district staff and school principal Suzie Jacobs. Foley praised the trust and respect the students feel from Bryant and their families.
“Learning to read proficiently is one of the greatest gifts a teacher can give to her students,” Foley said. “Jenelle Bryant works with young learners to instill confidence at an early age so they can be successful throughout their education.”
“I hope this recognition empowers me to do more and use my voice to give these children what they deserve and need.”#MilkenAward winner Jenelle Bryant @SeatonDC @dcpublicschools @mk3815 @OSSEDC @DCSuptGrant @Milken_jfoley #DCPS #DCLovesTeachers #OSSELovesTeachers pic.twitter.com/9tOePOoDHo
— Milken Family Fdn (@Milken) May 12, 2022
Bryant received her bachelor’s degree in human development from Howard University in 2012, and graduated a year later with a master’s degree in early childhood education. She chairs Seaton Elementary’s stock committee, leads professional development and anti-bias training, and mentors other reading specialists in the region through the DC Reading Clinic.
More than 60 teachers nationwide received the Milken Educator Awards this year. The Milken Family Foundation has been recognizing educators since 1987.
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