Press Release

Miami Educator Wins Cash Prize in NFTE Model Teacher Challenge

Hialeah Miami Lakes Technical Magnet School teacher wins first place in national competition, taking home $25,000 cash prize

MIAMI, FL (July 12, 2018) — NFTE (Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship) announced today that Ray Parris of Hialeah Miami Lakes Technical Magnet School in Miami, FL was awarded top prize in the inaugural Model Teacher Challenge, a highly competitive challenge issued to educators across the U.S. who teach NFTE’s entrepreneurship courses to middle school and high school students. The winner was announced at NFTE’s Entrepreneurial Teacher Summit, held July 8-12 in Philadelphia, PA. Parris received a $20,000 cash prize and his school received another $5,000 to fund resources that support entrepreneurship education.

For more than 30 years, NFTE’s award-winning, project-based curriculum has been activating the entrepreneurial mindset in youth from underserved communities. Last year alone, the organization reached more than 35,000 students in over 1,000 schools across the country. The Model Teacher Challenge is a national competition that challenges educators to perform at the highest levels in order to promote consistent student achievement and entrepreneurial mindset growth, demonstrating effective classroom management strategies, sound pedagogical content knowledge, data-driven decision-making, and a belief that growing a student’s entrepreneurial mindset can change their life trajectory.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized by NFTE as a model teacher and I am excited about sharing best practices among my peers in order to equip all teachers with the resources and tools needed to instill the entrepreneurial mindset in their students,” said Parris of Hialeah Miami Lakes Technical Magnet School. “I’m so passionate about teaching NFTE’s curriculum in my classroom because I witness the impact it has on my students’ success in school and in life.”

The Model Teacher Challenge seeks to encourage the development of exemplary teachers through creative incentives and opportunities for professional development and collaboration. The current competition cycle began last fall, at the start of the school year, then the field of competitors was winnowed down through regional semi-final and final rounds over the past six months.

“We’re beyond proud to recognize Ray for his demonstration of NFTE’s core values, instilling the fundamentals of an entrepreneurial mindset in the classroom,” says Shawn Osborne, President and CEO of NFTE. “He exemplifies exactly what NFTE stands for, fostering his students’ growth and development, preparing them for future professional success.”

The Model Teacher Challenge is made possible through the support of the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, a private philanthropy that promotes entrepreneurship education as a driver of economic growth and innovation.

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About NFTE
NFTE is an internationally recognized nonprofit that activates the entrepreneurial mindset in young people. Research shows that the entrepreneurial mindset—skills including innovation, self-reliance, comfort with risk, communication, and problem- solving—prepares young people for lifelong success. Equipped with the mindset, as well as the business and academic skills that NFTE teaches, NFTE students are ready to thrive in the innovation economy no matter what path they choose. NFTE focuses its work on under-resourced communities. Through its nationwide network of U.S. offices, NFTE programs reached almost 35,000 students in over 1000 schools last school year. Partnerships in eight other countries allowed NFTE to serve an additional 40,000 young people internationally. Learn more at