Jason Kamras received the 2005 National Teacher of the Year award at a White House ceremony held in the Rose Garden last week.
A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard University’s graduate school of education, Mr. Kamras is a math teacher at the 390-student John Philip Sousa Middle School in Washington.
Mr. Kamras, 31, joined the staff at Sousa in 1996 through Teach For America, a private, nonprofit organization that places recent college graduates in disadvantaged urban and rural schools for two-year teaching commitments. He has continued teaching at the school for eight years.
President Bush presented the award to Mr. Kamras and praised him for his tireless commitment to students both during and after school.
“Because he chose to stay [at Sousa],” Mr. Bush said, “countless students have better lives, and they have a better future.”
Over the past several years, Mr. Kamras has instituted curricular changes at the school that have led to a drop of 40 percentage points in the number of students scoring “below basic” on the Stanford-9 achievement tests, according to officials who oversee the award.
At the White House ceremony, Mr. Kamras acknowledged four of his students who were attending the event.
“They are the reason I love teaching,” he said. “They inspire me every day with their intelligence, their humor, their creativity, and their resilience.”
Mr. Kamras is the 55th recipient of the National Teacher of the Year award, and the first from the District of Columbia.
The annual award is given by the Washington-based Council of Chief State School Officers, and sponsored by New York City-based Scholastic Inc. and the U.S. division of the global financial institution ING.
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