Helena Park Elementary teacher Jenna Dean awarded $25K Milken honor

Published 11:19 am Thursday, February 9, 2023

There’s no doubt that Jenna Dean is one of Nederland School District’s hometown heroes.

A fourth grade teacher at Helena Park Elementary School, Dean graduated from the district herself, then returned home to teach the community’s next generation of young learners.

READ THE COMPLETE STORY: “Ms. Dean — it is an honor to be here today” — Nederland educator, community react to $25K award, special moment.

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For her innovative work in the classroom and leadership in the community, she was surprised at a vibrant school assembly earlier today with the nation’s preeminent education award – the Milken Educator Award – and a check for $25,000 to spend however she wishes.

Milken Educator Awards Senior Vice President Dr. Jane Foley was joined by Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath to present Dean with the prestigious recognition in front of the school’s students, colleagues and administrators as well as state and district leaders.

“Whether they’re making s’mores at school, conceptualizing their ‘dream home’ or planning for a trip to NASA, Jenna’s students learn through hands-on applications of math and science in the classroom. What a wonderful way to make education come to life!” said Dr. Foley, who is herself a 1994 Indiana Milken Educator. “Jenna is truly a light in her community: from student, to graduate, to teacher and community leader, she has made her corner of the world a better place, and for that, we honor her today.”

Created by Lowell Milken, the Milken Educator Awards inspire and uplift with the unique stories of educators making a profound difference for students, colleagues and communities. The specific states and schools on this year’s winners’ list remain a closely guarded secret until each Award is announced.