Greenon teacher among finalists for Ohio’s Teacher of the Year for 2021

Tom Jenkins, Science/Stem teacher at Greenon Middle/High School, was one of four teachers chosen to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award at the Springfield Rotary Club meeting on March 16. He is now one of four state finalist to be recognized as Ohio's Teacher of the Year for 2021. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Tom Jenkins, Science/Stem teacher at Greenon Middle/High School, was one of four teachers chosen to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award at the Springfield Rotary Club meeting on March 16. He is now one of four state finalist to be recognized as Ohio's Teacher of the Year for 2021. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

A Greenon Local Schools teacher is one of four state finalists to be considered for recognition as Ohio’s Teacher of the Year for 2021, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

Tom Jenkins teaches 8th grade Science/STEM at Greenon Middle School, and has taught in the district for the last 20 years.

“I’m one piece of an amazing district that has the opportunity to work with so many incredible students. I hope that this achievement can help to highlight the work our entire staff is doing to create impactful experiences for each student that walks through our doors,” Jenkins said. “I am thankful for the continuous support from parents and our local community, where we have found invaluable partnerships which have allowed for unique classroom experiences.”

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Jenkins, who was selected out of a group of 10 other teachers to become a finalist, said he was nominated in the spring by Brad Silvus, Greenon’s former superintendent.

“In early July, the Ohio State Board of Education District 10 chose me as the year’s winner for our region. A committee of stakeholders at the state level then selected four of the 11 district winners as state finalists,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said teaching during the coronavirus pandemic has been “the most challenging time” of his career, but he is looking forward to the fall.

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“I thrive on direct interactions with my students, so being virtual in the spring forced me to be extra creative while I was developing web-based content,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing my students in person again this year. Teaching hands-on courses like science and STEM are going to be tough, but it’s my challenge to figure it out. I have every confidence that my class can be both interactive and safe, with some extra planning and preparation.”

An Ohio panel of stakeholders will interview the four finalists to select the Ohio Teacher of the Year and the state superintendent will announce the honoree this fall, according to the ODE. The honoree will then represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year selection in Spring 2021.

Jenkins was also recognized for Excellence in Teaching in Clark County in a program sponsored by the Springfield Rotary Club, Ohio Edison, the Springfield Foundation and the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

Each of the four recipients of this award was expected to make presentations on what teaching has meant to them and the importance of being teachers at a Springfield Rotary meeting in March. That presentation was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Recipients are also given a $1,000 check, a recognition plaque, a glass apple, and proclamations from the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.

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