Boston educator is named Teacher of the Year

Audrey Jackson

Audrey Jackson, a fifth-grade teacher at the J.P. Manning Elementary School in Boston, has been named the 2016 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.

The award was announced at the school on Tuesday, May 5 — National Teacher Day.

Two MTA members — David Kujawski, a sixth-grade science teacher at Bird Middle School in Walpole, and Jennifer Ormerod, a second-grade teacher at Palmer River Elementary School in Rehoboth — were among the five finalists for the honor.

National Teacher Day celebrates the nation’s outstanding teachers and is part of Teacher Appreciation Week.

MTA President Barbara Madeloni congratulated Jackson and the other finalists.

“Teachers use their hearts and minds every day to provide students with meaningful learning opportunities,” she said. “We need to guarantee them the respect, the autonomy and the resources to do their jobs.”

She continued, “Teacher Appreciation Week and National Teacher Day offer us the opportunity to reflect on those teachers who made the difference for us and who make a difference every day in the lives of our children.”

Originally from Vermont, Jackson decided she wanted to become a teacher when she worked during the summers of her college years as a teaching assistant at an Upward Bound program in Cambridge. She said she chose elementary education so she could work with students at a young age “and provide them with the academic and personal skills that would help them achieve their goals in the future.”

She said her favorite aspect of teaching “is helping a child realize that she is capable of something that she feared she would never be capable of.”

Jackson’s students surprised her at the ceremony with a handmade “Teacher of the Year” placard and a poster. The poster said Jackson “is compassionate, values our ideas and knows how to meet each and every one of our individual learning needs.”

Her students opened the ceremony with two songs, including “Don’t Stop Believing.”

Asked what advice she has for other teachers, Jackson said that being part of a network of educators has made a huge difference. "Connecting with other teachers has been essential to my own development as a teacher," she said. "It's really helped me to not feel so isolated."

As Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, Jackson automatically becomes the state’s candidate for the national Teacher of the Year program.

She will join with other outstanding educators, including the Massachusetts History Teacher of the Year, the Milken Family Foundation Award winner for Massachusetts, the finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and Teacher of the Year finalists and semifinalists for an awards ceremony at the State House on June 11.

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