Mrs. Jennifer DeBenedetti was recognized for her innovative STEM teaching by the formal naming of an asteroid.

Asteroid honors TGS teacher

Dean of Middle School Students and STEM teacher Mrs. Jennifer DeBenedetti is out of this world: Just ask the International Astronomical Union. Mr. Roy A. Tucker, a colleague of the IAU, was a well known Tucson asteroid researcher. One of Mr. Tucker’s final acts before his passing in March, 2021, was to request that the IAU sponsor the official naming of one of his asteroid discoveries for Mrs. DeBenedetti. Therefore, asteroid 2004 SX55 will now formally and permanently be known as 128882 Jennydebenedetti. 

Dr. Roger B. Culver, Director of the Global Network of Astronomical  Telescopes, wrote of the honor, “We extend our congratulations to The Gregory School for (Mrs. DeBenedetti’s) achievements on behalf of her students, some of whom we expect to become scientists and engineers helping to define the future.”

Along with a plaque and a copy of the Working Group on Small Body Nomenclature Bulletin, in which the naming was announced, The Gregory School also received information on how TGS students and faculty can access a NASA website with technical information on asteroid 128882 Jennydebenedetti, as well as an interactive graphical plot of the orbital position and motion of the asteroid.

"Jennifer is an incredible educator who is deeply committed to her students and the content she teaches,” Head of School Dr. Julie Sherrill said. “That dedication is reflected in Mr. Tucker’s recognition of her work as a teacher. Not only is she helping to prepare future scientists and engineers, she's modeling behavior for our students that demonstrates how pursuing one's passion and dedicating time and effort to an area of interest can result in good things happening!"

Congratulations, Mrs. DeBenedetti!

"Teaching is an invigorating practice. It provides endless opportunities to inspire others and be inspired by others."

Jennifer DeBenedetti, M.Ed.

Jennifer DeBenedetti graduated from the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. She has been teaching in Tucson for 13 years and joined The Gregory School faculty in 2018.


3231 N. Craycroft Road, Tucson, AZ 85712
Phone: (520) 327-6395
Fax: (520) 327-8276
The Gregory School is an independent, private,
non-profit 501(C)(3), coed day school for grades 5-12.