Jennifer Edwards was named the first Teacher of the Year for Meadow Brook Intermediate. Edwards teaches fifth and sixth grade Leadership, Communications and Gifted and Talented (GATE). She's been with Mustang Schools for six years.
Edwards believes teaching is her purpose in life.
“I truly believe it is what God called me to do,” she said.
The idea of teaching as a profession didn’t occur to Edwards until she was in high school. She was heavily involved in DECA, a high school program focuses on business and marketing. She loved her two DECA teachers and thought it would be fun to teach a similar program, an elective where students choose to be in the class.
She considered teaching but it wasn’t an occupation that was encouraged.
“We were taught we could be anything we wanted to be: astronauts, doctors, lawyers, scientists, but never a teacher,” she said. “Since I loved DECA so much, I decided to major in business college.”
After graduation, Edwards spent the next 11 years in the banking and financial industry but something was missing. She couldn’t shake that idea from high school that teaching might be the right answer. She started the program to become alternatively certified. Seven months after she started the program, she left her job of 12 years “on a prayer” that she would find a teaching position. Edwards thought, based on her background in business, she would teach at the high school or maybe the middle school.
“I never dreamed I would get to the opportunity or spend my teaching career at the fifth and sixth grade intermediate level,” she said. “I love it. I have used my college education more as a teacher in these subjects than in all the years prior to teaching.”
Edwards starting teaching GATE four years ago.
“When I took on GATE, it was such a growth opportunity,” she said. “It has really taught me that we all learn differently and everyone is "smart" or talented in their own way. I am so blessed that I get to teach what I teach and build positive relationships with the students in my building.”
Edwards said she believes wholeheartedly in what Mustang stands for.
“I believe every student can and will learn, and that building positive relationships with all students is important,” she said. “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this my purpose in life. Even on days I wake up not feeling 100 percent, I give my kids 100 percent of me because there of those who I may be the only positive supportive adult interaction they get that day. I love teaching. I'm that weird person who gets bored on breaks and summer who can't wait for school to start again.”
Edwards is married to Justin, a Mustang graduate, and the pair have a sixth grade son.