Meet Jahana: 2016 National Teacher of the Year

Jahana’s route to teaching began as a student. The first in her family to graduate from college, she was inspired by her teachers who urged her to dream bigger and who believed that she was college material, despite a challenging upbringing.

A veteran history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Connecticut, Jahana also sees herself as an advisor, counselor, confidant and protector. She endeavors to fill the role her own teachers had in her life, guiding students to be their best selves and encouraging them to take ownership of their communities.

“As a teacher, I strive to facilitate learning in a way that engages students by connecting on a personal level and stimulating academic growth, while simultaneously producing contentious and productive members of society,” she says.

For Jahana, being a teacher is a privilege and an opportunity to transform lives and foster a sense of social responsibility in the next generation. As the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and a spokesperson for the teaching profession, Jahana hopes to motivate more people to become educators and continue to carry out this important work.

Jahana has taught for the past 12 years, 10 of which have been in her current role. She earned an Associate’s degree from Naugatuck Valley Community College, a Bachelor of Science from Southern Connecticut State University, a Master of Arts from Saint Joseph University and a certification from the University of Bridgeport.

Learn more about Jahana Hayes, 2016 National Teacher of the Year:

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