The Denton school district’s 2012 Jostens Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year each drove away with a 2012 Cadillac SRX, a four-month gift from James Wood Autopark, this week.
At a reception attended by more than 250 people Tuesday, Ginnings Elementary School art teacher Kay Adamson and Guyer High School science teacher Mandy Jenkins were named the district’s elementary and secondary teachers of the year.
Adamson and Jenkins also received gifts from award sponsors.
Each will receive a check for $500 upon completing an application for the region and state teacher of the year contests, and Jostens awarded Jenkins a trip to its Jostens Renaissance National Conference in Orlando, Fla., in July.
Also recognized Tuesday were campus teacher of the year award recipients from 31 other schools who moved on to the district competition.
Russ Ellis, a James Wood representative, presented this year’s top teachers with the vehicles at the close of the reception. They will be allowed to drive the vehicles through the summer.
When announced, a wide-eyed Adamson mouthed to Superintendent Ray Braswell, “Are you kidding me?” before hugging Ellis.
“Wow,” she said.
Moments after the announcement, Adamson and Jenkins exited the LaGrone Advanced Technology Complex, embraced each other and checked out their white and red Cadillac crossovers, which were parked in the school’s circle drive. Proudly displayed on the rear window of each was the phrase “Teacher of the Year” and their schools’ logos.
“There’s no key,” Adamson said of the vehicle’s keyless access and push-button starter as she made her way into the driver’s seat.
Once inside, she sounded the horn.
“Oh this is sweet,” she said. “It’s amazing. I’m so excited.”
Adamson called the honor “precious.”
“I love my kids so much,” she said. “I’m excited.”
Jenkins, who was getting familiar with her vehicle, said she was “overwhelmingly humbled” at being named this year’s secondary teacher of the year.
“What a blessing,” she said. “There’s just so many teachers here that are so good and every day all of those teachers work so hard, and being around them pushes me to be a better teacher and better prepared for my students and keeping them engaged. I’m really honored to be selected among such a great group of people.”
For more than a decade, the Jostens Teacher of the Year Award has recognized educators for their “exemplary teaching skills and talents in the classroom,” school board President Mia Price said during Tuesday’s reception.
Jostens, which has a plant in Denton, was added to the award’s name for honoring each campus teacher of the year recipient since 2004 with a donated gold ring, a project valued at more than $20,000.
School administrators said the donated rings are now a tradition.
Annually, a teacher of the year is named at each of Denton’s elementary, middle and high school campuses. Those individuals are eligible for the district award, named by the district’s Teachers Communications Committee.
Vicki Storrie, chairwoman of the committee, called this year’s top teachers “exceptional” and “dedicated to their students, to their subject and to their schools.”
Adamson’s career spans nearly 30 years. Since 1998, she has been an art teacher at Ginnings. Prior to that, she taught 4- and 5-year-old preschoolers at First United Methodist Church Denton for 10 years and was a second-grade teacher at Ginnings in the early- to mid-1980s.
“She’s an all-around good teacher,” Ginnings Principal Missey Chavez said. “She is fabulous in the fact that she gives everything to her students, not only an art education — a social education, life education.
“She’s a blessing for all of us at our campus [and] to the community in everything that she does.”
A 23-year veteran educator, Jenkins has taught pre-Advanced Placement and AP physics at Guyer since 2007. She also has taught in the Coppell, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Allen and Hardin-Jefferson school districts.
Guyer Principal Barbara Fischer said Jenkins is energetic about teaching and it’s not uncommon to find her standing on a lab table to explain a concept to students.
“The kids love her,” Fischer said.
As Denton’s elementary and secondary teachers of the year, Adamson and Jenkins will represent the school district among recipients from 75 other districts in the Texas teacher of the year regional competition, coordinated by the Region XI Service Center in Fort Worth.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.