The 2019 Minnesota Teacher of the Year has been chosen, and it's a math teacher from South St. Paul.
Jessica Davis, who teaches at South St. Paul Secondary School, has been named the 55th recipient of the award and the first from the South St. Paul District, Education Minnesota announced on Sunday.
She has been teaching for 13 years, first starting at Harding High School in St. Paul before moving to her current school in 2009.
Her own education history includes an undergrad degree at Minnesota State–Mankato and a masters from Hamline University.
As well as teaching math, she also teaches computer science and is an advisor to an African American student group, working to connect students of color with professionals in the business world.
Luke Olson, one of Davis' colleagues who wrote a letter of recommendation for her, said: "One measure a person can use when judging another is, would you trust your own children with this person?
"When my son was studying to become a teacher, he needed a mentor teacher, and asked me for advice…. I suggested Jess, because she exemplifies everything that I hope my son would become as a teacher."
After being named Teacher of the Year at a ceremony on Sunday, MPR reports that Davis said she hopes to use the accolade to "push people to have some conversations" around equity and the education system.
She added that the award means "I can keep doing what I am doing with confidence and validation."