Annually the faculty of the Upper School submit nominations to recognize a colleague with the Excellence in Teaching Award. The purpose of this award is to recognize and honor an Upper School teacher who is committed to the mission of Annapolis Area Christian School, who demonstrates excellence in the classroom, and who consistently demonstrates the love of Christ in word and deed. It is probably no surprise that a number of teachers were nominated this year by their colleagues.
Some of our current faculty have been recognized with this award in years past and their names are displayed on a plaque outside the main office. This list includes Chris Deterding, Chris Hagen, Ruth Hartcorn, Anne Hartman, Leia Joseph, Eric Nebbia, Don Wiley, and Chelsea Woody from our current faculty. Reviewing that list you know that this year’s awardee is in very good company.
This year’s awardee is an exemplary instructor and colleague whose commitment to her students and the profession are exceptional. This teacher is a fairly recent addition to the AACS faculty but she came to us with a decade of teaching experience. She is a content area expert who loves her subject, which she conveys to students daily.
Students respond to her teaching because of the consistent communication of her love for them in word and deed, which stems from her commitment to love as Christ does. Her corny sense of humor endears her to her students, too. This relationship allows her to connect with students and gives her the ability to, when necessary, challenge them to work up to their potential. She is always available to provide some extra help before or after school and also is known to dole out some good advice during those tutoring sessions. As a number of our seniors noted at the Candlelight Fellowship Service on Saturday night, she is a gifted teacher who has a unique ability to make complicated concepts understandable to students, even those who struggle in mathematics.
This year’s awardee is a consummate professional who puts in the long hours of a teacher dedicated to her students, her colleagues, and her craft while also juggling life as a single mother.
The year’s awardee is a valued member of the Upper School faculty at Annapolis Area Christian School and someone who is most certainly worthy of recognition with the AACS Upper School’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Please join me in honoring this year’s Teacher of the Year, Jenny Gravel.
Story by Robert J. McCollum, AACS Upper School Principal