Jesse Bryson is an award winning teacher, but the award he just won might be the biggest yet. Bryson is the Army’s JROTC Instructor of the Year.

Out of the more than 4,000 Army JROTC instructors across the country, Bryson is considered the best.

“This is a great day for the School District of Lee County and our JROTC Programs,” says Lt. Col. Tom Madigan, the Director of Army Instruction for the School District of Lee County. “Jesse Bryson’s performance and his establishment of the “I Will” Mentorship Foundation and work with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to increase STEM skills and employment opportunities for students has made and will continue to make a very positive impact on our community.”

Bryson grew up in Fort Myers and graduated from North Fort Myers High School. After his service in the Army he joined the White House Communications Agency for President’s Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He returned home about 15 years ago with a passion to teach.

Under Bryson’s leadership, the Fort Myers High School JROTC Program has become a nationally prominent STEM and Robotics powerhouse. The robotics team, Invictus, recently won Florida State Rookie Team of the Year at the 2018 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Regional Championship in Orlando and earned a spot in the FIRST World Robotics Championship in Houston, TX.

The "I Will Mentorship Foundation" Bryson founded empowers youth to make positive life choices through Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math (STEAM) based learning and evidence based mentoring programs. The programs focus on increasing academic achievement, strengthening community, and providing exposure to opportunities to improve socioeconomic mobility.

Bryson was a Foundation for Lee County Public Schools Golden Apple Award winner in 2017. His principal at Fort Myers, David LaRosa, nominated him in March for Army JROTC Instructor of the Year. Bryson will be honored at the Florida Army JROTC workshop in Orlando this summer.