The Gold Coast Room at the famed Drake Hotel in Chicago was abuzz with anticipation as dinner guests waited hear which of the national finalists in the 2019 Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Model Teacher Challenge would be named the winner. Moments earlier, there was a surprise announcement that the top prize in the annual challenge would now be known as the Steven J. Mariotti Teacher Award, in honor of NFTE founder Steve Mariotti.
As the names of the national finalists were called out, the teachers made their way to the stage to collect their awards. Seven took the stage and were recognized for excellence in teaching.
There was a slight pause, then it was announced, “The 2019 Steven J. Mariotti Teacher Award goes to, Joan McCoo of Bryan Adams High School, in Dallas, Texas!” The room erupted into applause.
McCoo, a veteran entrepreneurship teacher from East Dallas, received a $15,000 cash prize for herself and an additional $5,000 cash award for her school. Throughout the coming school year, she will be meeting other NFTE teachers and sharing best practices with her peers, doing her part to help equip classroom teachers with the tools they need to inspire and instill the entrepreneurial mindset in their students.
“I have truly loved being an NFTE teacher for the past 12 years, and it’s an honor to be recognized by NFTE as a model teacher,” said McCoo. “Every child has an entrepreneur inside of them just waiting to be brought out. That is why I’m so passionate about teaching the NFTE curriculum in my classroom. I’ve witnessed the impact it has on my students, helping them succeed in school and in life.”
The Model Teacher Challenge was made possible through the support of the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation.