2018 Outstanding Teacher of America
Jason Lee Morgan
Dominguez High School
Jason was born and spent the first part of his life in south central Los Angeles. His first grade teacher recognized how interested he was in learning because his mother worked with him before he got to school. He entered the first grade ready and eager to learn. The teacher told his mother he would get a better education if she agreed for him to be bussed into the Northridge area, which was an hour from his house. Jason remembers the long bus rides each morning and afternoon; but, more importantly, he recognized he was lucky to receive an excellent education.
Jason's family eventually moved from south central LA to the Riverside area, where he attended high school. During that transition, he wondered what happened to all his neighborhood friends who did not get bussed and who did not have an opportunity to get a "good education." When he realized how unfair it was, he began to develop a desire to become a teacher to do what he could for kids like him who did not had an equal opportunity for a quality education.
Jason attended Stanford University, where he majored in Economics and earned his BA in Economics. Shortly after graduating, he was hired as a long term substitute teacher at Dominguez High School where he taught Algebra to ninth grade students and used a new curriculum called "Story Math," which required students to apply each math unit to real world translations utilizing Math based scenarios and the new foreign language "Mathenese." Jason found this to be a very effective approach to teaching Algebra. His students were actively engaged in the process and routinely outscored course-alike peers across the district on benchmark and state exams; his honors students consistently outperformed and/or met the state averages, which was unheard of in his district. Consequently, Jason was asked to serve as the Algebra I Professional Learning Community Chair, supporting a cohort of teachers with meeting oversight, sharing of best practices, data analysis, common assessment development and college support.
Eventually, Jason was hired full time at Dominguez where he has continued to teach basic math to very low level students, Algebra I and Honors Algebra. His second year as a full-time teacher, he was assigned to teach the AVID elective, which he has been teaching for the past five years. More recently, he took over as the AVID Coordinator and in 2015, because no one else on campus wanted the job, he agreed to take over as the Director of Student Activities to resurrect and oversee student government and campus activities.