Angela Jenkins, Maple Grove Middle School

Mar 22, 2023, 3:13 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2024, 11:39 am

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“Angela HATES the spotlight but I want to live very dangerously and share that she just received the Teacher of the Year award for her school. She never seeks recognition but I’m so glad to see her getting some with this.

This is particularly an amazing award because it’s how peers and principals can express gratitude to the teacher they’ve seen go far above and beyond expectations to assist other staff and impact and change the lives of their students.

Angela ALWAYS downplays the things she’s doing but I have a front row seat to the cause of her chronic exhaustion and what she does behind the scenes.

This award is wonderful evidence that her amazing Principal and co-workers are noticing her kindness, skills and efforts.

As this may be my last time to ever be able to do this (may I rest in peace ), I’m going to live even more “dangerouslier” 😁 and share just a couple more things.

Of the hundreds and hundreds of students Angela has taught over the many years (both before and following a 15 year pause to raise our three boys), some of her past students may possibly remember the amazing skills she taught them in math, english, history reading and science – as well as all the fun end of school class dance videos – but they will absolutely ALL remember the emotionally and physically safe and respectful and fun classroom environment she created, nurtured and demanded of them and for them.

Her students will definitely remember the numerous class talks and impromptu discussions and demonstrations of what it actually means to be kind to others as well as to themselves and how to respectfully resolve conflict with others.

There is also a select group of students who will particularly remember how she was there for them during very difficult times and how she showed them love, concern, stability and kindness when the parent(s) for various heartbreaking reasons were not emotionally, or at times even physically present in their lives to do that for them.

Angela steps in to help her principals and peers when needed over the years and is regularly tutoring students, helping train new in-class student teacher pairs, community council delegate and even being asked by her principal this year to create a couple months of lesson plans for a long term substitute teacher – because the regular teacher had to unexpectedly leave.

(Risking my life further now with a little behind the scenes info…)

What most also don’t know is in past schools she played piano, and either directed music and created and/or helped with directing and creating choreography so the schools could have musical programs for the parents.

In a recent brand new school there wasn’t going to be a Christmas musical program for that first year. Wanting the kids to have that experience, Angela spearheaded the creation of something so the kids could perform for their parents that year. She gathered a team to help and ended up being basically being musical director and choreographer and it was a really special program.

Later for the same school she was asked to help compose, arrange and record some music for a few songs in an original school musical because the composer couldn’t finish what they had committed to.

Lastly….

Probably the most demanding parts of Angela’s job that I’ve witnessed is something that actually shouldn’t be part of her job. She is regularly asked to take on students into her classes who have proven to be almost unteachable or uncontrollable in other classes or who have literally been kicked out of other classes. They are often students with severe behavior issues and/or learning disabilities of all types who under normal circumstances would be in specific special needs or behavior unit classes, but the resources just aren’t there to support it.

These many students are assigned to her over the years by the principals knowing she is the Obi-wan-Kenobi – last hope -for these students.

Angela has tremendous ability to connect with these students and after MUCH effort and patience and many behind the scenes tears she consistently shows them that she really cares about them (while somehow still giving full attention to 30 other regular needy students in each class. 200 total students this year). Once they realize she is sincere and isn’t going to back down or give up on them, they begin to show respect and discipline and kindness.

From the outside, she somehow has always been able to just “magically” turn them around, but I see and know what goes on behind the scenes and and this part of the job is something that just can’t emotionally be “left at work”, but I have literally seen these student’s personalities and behavior change.

Lastly before I go prepare my coffin….

Angela truly has become a master teacher. She has always put in the extra time and extracurricular training to learn the skills to master the craft that she has become so proficient in. Often when a provided curriculum wasn’t proving effective, she has actually personally invested in curriculum and programs to supplement and even replace broken and failing curriculum and do what it takes so her students would ultimately learn what they needed to learn and be prepared for the next year.

For the past few years she has spent hours each week in training and has earned a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics endorsement (STEM)
and is currently enrolled in the English as a second language endorsement program.

Other big news is Angela was recently accepted into a Masters Degree program which starts the 1st of April!

Angela gives so much to her family, friends and faith and I’m grateful she is being recognized for the truly life-changing work she is also doing as a teacher!

Angela, you are a SUPERSTAR. You truly are a teacher!”

-Alexander Jenkins

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Angela Jenkins, Maple Grove Middle School