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ACTE Announces Minnesota Manufacturing - Engineering Teacher as National Award Finalist


September 25, 2017 

Contact: Jarrod Nagurka 
jnagurka@acteonline.org, 703-683-9312 

ACTE Announces Minnesota Manufacturing - Engineering Teacher as National Award Finalist

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Today, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Jill Johnson, Manufacturing – Engineering Teacher of St. Paul Johnson Aerospace and Engineering High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, as the 2017 ACTE Region III Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes the finest career and technical teachers at the middle/secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities. The Teacher of the Year Award is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals.

Discouraged by the lack of diversity in the engineering field, Jill Johnson left her career as a research and development controls specialist to become a teacher. As an engineering, manufacturing, and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) teacher at Johnson Senior High School in St. Paul, Johnson helped implement the school’s highly regarded Aerospace and Engineering program. On a day-to-day basis, her students can be found designing and launching rockets, building robots, computer programming, creating projects on the laser engraver and 3D printer, and flying in the school’s flight simulators. As of 2017, 582 students are taking classes in the program, 88% of whom are minorities and 35% of whom are female. “Ms. Johnson has opened doors for me and many others,” says former student and current transportation generalist, Cesar Avalos. “She is a true inspiration to everyone that she works with.”

Each year, Johnson coaches for Real World Design Challenge in aerospace, and also helps eight different FIRST Robotics teams find local engineers to serve as mentors; one of these teams has gone to world championships seven out of the last eight years. In 2010, Johnson established a two-week STEM summer camp for 200 middle school girls fully funded by corporate sponsors. She has been awarded over $70,000 in grants for her robotics program and recently coordinated a five-year, $3 million grant to implement engineering classes in all St. Paul public high schools and middle schools. Johnson has served on the SKILLS@WORK panel formed by the Governor’s Workforce Development Council, been an active member of the STEM Equity Pipeline MN, and served as a reviewer at the state and national levels for the Next Generation Science Standards. She teaches additional courses online and at Normandale Community College; her high school students receive dual credit through articulation agreements with several four-year and two-year universities and colleges across Minnesota. Johnson has received numerous national awards and local honors for innovation in education.

Johnson is one of five finalists for the 2018 national title. The national winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place on Wednesday evening, December 6, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Awards Banquet is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, the US Army, CareerSafe, Stratasys, and International Baccalaureate. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit our webpage.


About ACTE
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.

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ACTE is committed to enhancing the job performance and satisfaction of its members; to increasing public awareness and appreciation for career and technical programs; and to assuring growth in local, state and federal funding for these programs by communicating and working with legislators and government leaders.



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