WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Greg Stanton today announced that Arizona’s 2020 Teacher of the Year Lynette Stant will join him as his guest at Tuesday’s State of the Union Address. Each year, members of Congress are permitted one guest to attend the event. 

Stant teaches third grade at Salt River Elementary in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. She is the first Native American woman to earn the Arizona Educational Foundation’s top honor, one of the highest distinctions for Arizona teachers.

“Mrs. Stant is the kind of educator every parent dreams of for their kids. She pours herself into her work, ensuring that her students feel supported and respected during a critical year of school,” said Stanton. “She uses her platform as an educator to promote quality, equitable learning opportunities for her students, taking care to honor their Native American culture and prepare them for high school, college and beyond.”

All 304 students at Salt River Elementary are enrolled members of either the Onk Akime O’odham (Pima) or Xalychidom Piipaash (Maricopa) tribes. Stant herself grew up on the Navajo reservation and attended public school. Both of her parents spoke their Native language and attended boarding schools far from the Navajo Nation.

“What I bring to the classroom is an understanding of the historical trauma that education has played in the lives of Native Americans. Although I can’t change the past, I can affect the future,” Stant told the Arizona Educational Foundation. “As a Navajo woman teaching in a Native American school, teaching Native American students, my goal is to change that narrative.”

Stant is a first-generation college student and Gates Millennium Scholar. She earned her master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Arizona State University.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is surrounded by Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.