Educator Profile    Educators

Justin Minkel (AR '06)


Harvey Jones Elementary School
Springdale, AR

Subject(s) taught: General Elementary
Grade(s): 2

At the time of the Award, Justin Minkel was:

Harvey Jones Elementary School
Springdale, AR

Subject(s) taught: General Elementary
Grade(s): 2

Biographical Information

For many people, English is more than a language-it's a path to living the lives they dream. That's precisely what teacher Justin Minkel has provided for his Spanish- and Marshallese-speaking students at Harvey Jones Elementary School in northwest Arkansas. Teaching in a classroom in which English is a second language for the vast majority of students, he has helped them become stronger readers, writers, and thinkers while also putting critical thinking, creativity, and compassion at the heart of his classroom. Looping with the same class from first to second grade, he puts the delight of reading books that reflect children's identities and experiences at the heart of his approach to literacy. Justin started The Home Library Effect, a project to put books into the hands of children with few books at home, that grew from his own class of 25 students to impact over 7,500 children throughout the region. Currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing for Children at Hamline University, Justin writes a monthly column for Education Week Teacher and is the author of a chapter book about conflict resolution for children in grades 2-4 titled Clubhouse Clash. All this translates into one outstanding educator.

Related Connections

Article: The Long Road Ahead

Article: The Home Library Effect

Milestone: Justin Minkel (AR ’06) Joins Teaching Panel

Justin Minkel Newsletters

We're Thankful for Outstanding Educators
Nov 23, 2016

The Home Library Effect: How One Milken Educator is Transforming the Lives of At-Risk Readers
Jun 17, 2015

Justin Minkel In The News

What's Right With Our Schools?
Education Week  |  Mar 14, 2013  |  Bethesda, MD

Creating 21st-Century Teachers for 21st-Century Students
Education Week Teacher  |  Jul 17, 2012  |  Bethesda, MD

President Obama Honors Outstanding Math and Science Teachers
The White House  |  Jun 11, 2012  |  Washington, DC

Additional Information


2013 Lowell Milken Center Fellow


2004 M.A., University of California-Berkeley

2000 B.A., Cornell University