Andrea Mystrena, 2014 Distinguished Teacher Award winner

Andrea Mystrena, a gifted & talented teacher at Northern Burlington Regional Middle School in Columbus, N.J., is the Mensa Foundation's 2014 Distinguished Teacher Award winner.

Among the many reasons Andrea was nominated was her willingness to go beyond academics to ease students' stress in the classroom. She also introduced communication technology into her instruction which made asking questions and turning in electronic assignments simpler for students.

Andrea was nominated for the Distinguished Teacher Award by seventh grader and Young Mensan Stephanie M. "Ms. M has made gifted and talented a class that I feel comfortable to be completely myself. I'm not afraid to express myself and raise my hand to state my opinions. She has taught me that you shouldn't care what anybody else thinks and just be yourself. This is the greatest lesson anyone has ever taught me," Stephanie said. "I used to dread going to school, but now I enjoy it."

The Mensa Foundation's Distinguished Teacher Award recognizes a teacher, professor, or instructor at any educational level who's had an especially positive influence on the education or life of a Mensa member. The educators can impact the Mensa members directly or as a result of their influence on the education of a family member. The teacher selected is presented with a plaque and a cash award from the Mensa Education & Research Foundation.