Jenks Public Schools announces Site Teachers of the Year

Jenks Public Schools announces Site Teachers of the Year

Jenks Public Schools has announced its 2020-2021 Site Teachers of the Year.

“The 2020-2021 JPS Site Teachers of the Year exemplify an incredible commitment to public education and a passion for making a difference in the lives of students. Selected by their peers for their outstanding contributions to our students and our schools, the following individuals are to be commended and congratulated for being named Site Teachers of the Year,” the district said last week in a news release.

The District Teacher of the Year for 2020-2021 will be selected by a selection committee comprised of administrators and former JPS teachers of the year. Each teacher is interviewed and asked to respond to questions about teaching philosophy, leadership within their school site, representing Jenks Public Schools, as well as a variety of other issues facing public education.

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2020-2021 JENKS PUBLIC SCHOOLS SITE TEACHERS OF THE YEAR

Wendolyn Holland

East Elementary Third Grade Teacher

“As my students could tell you, I am passionate about how the brain works and the science behind learning. I love teaching students about what happens in their brain when they learn something new. When students learn that their brain grows best from tackling challenging tasks and making mistakes, the classroom comes alive with students that are more willing to take risks and try new strategies. Each year, as my students work towards having a growth mindset, I see their passion for learning explode, not just in the classroom, but in every facet of their lives.”

Casey Mullins

Northwest Elementary First Grade Teacher

“I am motivated, inspired, and driven every day to build and grow a classroom community. I like to think that I have planted a tiny seed in my students to help them become readers, authors, mathematicians, and all-around good humans. I get to make every student feel safe and loved while helping them grow academically, and it is the recipe for the most inspiring job in the world. There is no other job where you can grow future leaders with the bonus of accidentally getting called “mom” at least 10 times a day by my classroom family.”

Aimee Houston

Southeast Elementary Fourth Grade Teacher

“I want everyone I teach to know they have someone in their corner, cheering them on and believing in them. I want to be the person that shows up and loves, even when things get hard. Teaching makes me happy and fulfilled because I get to work with students and educators that inspire me. It matters to me that I do the best I can at this job because it is important work – teaching and loving children and helping them become resilient, kind individuals.

Kim Dammann

West Elementary STEM Facilitator

“There are many rewards in teaching, but my favorite thing is getting to see the world through the eyes of students every day. I love to see them excited about learning. I love the look on their faces when they find success after tackling a difficult task or see something new for the first time. I love to see their creativity, quirkiness, humor, curiosity, diversity, and their unique personalities. They are truly inspirational and have the power to change the world.”

Emily Copsey

East Intermediate Fifth Grade Language Arts Teacher

“My motivation for teaching comes from my students. I was recently told by an administrator about a student who said they only come to school because of my class. Those are high standards to live up to for anyone, let alone someone who has as much influence in someone else’s life as a teacher. It is my job to not only cover the curriculum, but also to make each child that walks into my classroom feel safe, loved, and welcome. Without the love and humor my students bring into my life every day, I know I would not be as fulfilled as I am.”

Sandra Gruszeczka

West Intermediate English Language Development Teacher & Site Coordinator

“I do what I do because I know what it feels like to not speak the language spoken around you, to be unfamiliar to a culture and its traditions, or to feel like an outsider and not know where to begin the seemingly impossible process of feeling comfortable in this new country. Just as teachers made a difference in my life, eased my fears and gave me confidence, I try to dedicate the same time and talents to making a difference in the lives of my students.”

Morgan Brown

Middle School Art & Global Studies Teacher

“The ever-changing nature of this job is my absolute favorite part. I take immense pleasure in pushing students out of their comfort zones and getting them to think and create in a way that they never have before. The moment of clarity and understanding after a period of struggle is the best thing in the whole world. Creative thinking and creative problem solving, which is art in a nutshell, takes practice and continuous struggle. Struggling with these intelligent, silly, and occasionally brilliant human beings that are my students, is a great honor. I truly can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Andrea Tiger

Alternative Center Mathematics Teacher

“I teach because I love helping students learn to love math!  I’m always telling them, ‘Math Is Your Friend!  You can depend on it, just like a great friend!’  You can imagine their expressions and disgust with my enthusiasm.  But then things slowly begin to change. My high school math classroom is no longer viewed as a “modern day torture chamber” and the students begin to believe me! I love helping students comprehend difficult concepts and watching them build self confidence in and out of the classroom.”

Grace Alexander

Freshman Academy Social Studies Teacher

“My students are the reason I show up every day. I love getting to know them. When class discussions become exchanges of knowledge, opinions, and experiences, I’m in heaven. I also truly enjoy learning more information so I can share it with students. They don’t seem to mind too much when I get geeky about history, and I’m grateful!”

Mary Stutsman

High School Special Education History Teacher

“I love challenges and every year, new students walk into my classroom bringing unique needs and issues. It’s motivating to me to find new ways to teach old material. There are always new technologies and strategies to try to help each student understand the work. I love building the relationships that get the students to trust me to lead them on this journey through U.S. History.”

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Kyle Salomon

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