Eastside Middle School’s Jodi Grant-Jones has been named 2017 Kentucky Health Teacher of the Year.
“Totally shocked, but so honored” is how Jones described the feeling. She is the only Kentucky health educator in grades K-12 selected for the award.
Jones was honored Nov. 12 during KAPHERD’s fall convention in Lexington and will receive a Certificate of Recognition at the Nov. 27th meeting of the Bullitt County Board of Education.
“I want to congratulate you firsthand for a well-deserved honor,” said Deborah Campbell, President of Ky. Assoc. for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (KAHPERD).
Jones said the award does not belong to her but those who she works with and has known as professional friends.
“Having the support and encouragement of your colleagues such as PE/ Health teacher Dennis Minnis of North Bullitt High School has inspired me to do my best,” she said. “Mr. Minnis has been such a role model who has given me advice, training and resources to point me in the right directions of physical fitness and health. It takes a team to help you get where you want to go and I have this at Eastside and Mr. Minnis.”
“I don’t feel like it is my award,” she continued. “I am very honored. I feel like it is my kids, staff, administration and Mr. Minnis. They are the ones who earned the award. It belongs to them. They are the ones that make me who I am and I don’t think I could earn anything or be part of anything without their help and support.”
Teaching could not be more important to her and there are numerous components to becoming a successful teacher.
“To me, seeing my students succeed is something that is really important,” she said. “The success of even one student, the look of pride on their face…these moments make teaching worth all of my effort.”
In Jones’ classroom, students know they are to never give up. She is happy if they are trying because practice makes perfect is her motto.
“Failing or giving up is not an option in my classroom,” she affirmed. “I am their biggest encourager. I always give positive signals, positive facial expressions, etc. I am constantly cheering on my students in and out of the classroom. This helps me build relationships with my students.”
She wants students to leave her class with a big heart and be a caring person because life is too short.
“Talk things out, be an encourager, be positive, keep a smile on your face, give a thumbs up to people or a Hi. That is my goal,” she said. “Love each other. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. If my kids can learn this, they can do anything they want in their life. It makes learning easier, relationships easier and surrounding yourself with positive people that will give you the support you need to do anything you want.”
Jones cited Chris Rosati who spreads happiness to others while battling ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). “We're glad to make some people smile,” he said, “Because if you can’t impact people, then this whole thing is a waste.”
“I just love the last part,” Jones said. “So true. If my kids can’t impact people, then this whole thing is a waste.
Jones is the 2017-2018 District Middle School Teacher of the Year. She keeps as busy outside the classroom as sponsor of Hoops for Heart, the American Red Cross, KYCID Representative, Lifeskills Trainer/Instructor, Play60 Representative, Relay for Life Team, 100 Mile Club, Too Good For Drug Program (Mendez Foundation) and Bullitt Co Health and Wellness Policy Team.