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NEA honors Mark Dayton with America's Greatest Education Governor Award

Educators recognize Minnesota governor’s commitment to education

WASHINGTON - July 03, 2012 -

The National Education Association announced today that Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota is this year’s recipient of the America’s Greatest Education Governor Award. The annual award recognizes and honors governors who have made major, state-level education strides that improve public schools.

“Gov. Dayton has repeatedly stood strong for Minnesota’s students and schools,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “He has kept his promise to make education a top priority of his administration by increasing education funding and focusing on our earliest learners. We are pleased to honor Gov. Dayton with the America’s Greatest Education Governor Award. We are grateful for his continued commitment to students and the education professionals who work in schools and classrooms.”

“I am very honored to receive this award from educators across America,” said Gov. Dayton. “As a former public school teacher, I know how challenging their jobs are. I promised that my administration would make education and jobs my highest priorities. This award shows we’re making progress.”

This past May Gov. Dayton signed an education policy bill that includes a provision to require school districts to pay teachers, on military leave, their full salary. Previously, school districts reduced the pay of teachers on military leave in order to cover the costs of a substitute teacher. The provision was enacted after Matt Reuter, a teacher and NEA member at Goodview Elementary School in Winona, Minn., was required to pay $11,000 for a substitute teacher while he served in Afghanistan in 2011.

"Gov. Dayton understands that investing in the education of our children is critical to Minnesota’s future success,” said Education Minnesota President Tom Dooher. “He also understands that the road to a better Minnesota begins by working with people in our classrooms every day and by supporting our educators who also fight for our country."

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel presented the award to Gov. Dayton before nearly 9,000 educators who are attending NEA’s Representative Assembly in Washington, D.C. Dayton is the fifth recipient of the prestigious award.

Mark Dayton is Minnesota's 40th Governor. He was born in Minneapolis and raised in a house in Long Lake, where his father still lives today. He has two grown sons and currently lives in St. Paul. He graduated, cum laude, from Yale University. After college Dayton taught 9th grade general science for two years in a New York City public school.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing
more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Celeste Busser  (202) 262-0589,