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Teacher of the Year Blog

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Teacher of the Year Blog

Congratulations Laura Potter on being named 2015-2016 Harford County Teacher of the Year!  You are an inspiring and influential teacher to so many.  As my term as Harford County Teacher of the Year comes to a close I have given a lot of time recently to reflect.  In years past, I remember reading about the new Teacher of the Year each spring in the newspaper.  I never gave too much thought of what the honor meant exactly.  Being given the opportunity over the past year to experience the honor, if I had to come up with one word to sum it all up, I would choose rewarding. 

I took the opportunity to revisit my email folder labeled “Congratulations” the other day.  The contents of the folder warm my heart over and over again, no matter how many times I reread the messages.  It was so meaningful to hear from so many colleagues, friends, acquaintances, former teachers, and former students from over the years.  Each and every personal message, whether it contained a paragraph or a line was so meaningful, due to the fact that the individual thought enough of me to take time to send a note.  It was rewarding to have so many meaningful words spoken to me at my school, Edgewood Elementary.  Whether it was administrators, teachers, staff, students, or parents issuing a congratulatory message, one sole idea remained the same.  It was truly a recognition of the school and the work everyone inside of it does each and every day.  My most prideful moment as a teacher extends no further than the banquet itself.  After thinking about all of the accolades received that evening, one stood above the rest.  The fact that I was able to listen to a speech about my impact spoken by my former student Madison Buddenbohn was the ultimate reward.  Madison was in sixth grade at the time, but delivered a message with the poise of a Valedictorian.  In one minute she gave me all the praise I would ever need and reassured me 100% that my job is worth every minute of it. 

I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the wonderful business community of Harford County.  The gifts and monetary donations offered by so many offer a simple resounding “yes” to the question of “does education matter?”  I spent the better part of two weeks taking time to hand write notes of thanks to all that expressed their gratitude for education.  Never in my life have I felt so important as a professional. 

Finally, before I close, there are a few individuals that I must publicly thank.  In life I have discovered that success is certainly derived from hard work, however, you need a lot of help along the way in order to get there.  The folks that have influenced my life are too numerous to list, however there are a few that should not go without mentioning.  First and foremost is my wife, Adrienne Jehnert.  I have the fortune to ride to my job and work alongside the person I love the most each and every day.  Adrienne has made me a better man personally outside of work, but inside of school her impact on me has been immeasurable.  She has influenced me with an emphasis on organization, responsibility, and duty as a teacher.  She has taught at Edgewood Elementary School for sixteen years and has been an invaluable asset.  She does not always get recognized for her excellence but her impact on early childhood education at our school is invaluable.  She inspires me to be the best person I can be on a daily basis and there is no doubt that I would not be the type of teacher I am without her influence.

My son Colby Bransky and daughter Carley Jehnert are without a doubt the apples of my eye.  When I was younger I really did not have any aspirations other than to be a good dad.  My children have made me immensely proud.  I have seen more A’s on my son Colby’s report cards than I saw on mine during my whole education.  He works so hard and shows the desire that I always wished I had.  He is a strong athlete and balances school and sports successfully.  He is growing into such a fine young man.  My daughter Carley has the sweetest heart and in a nutshell, loves to love.  She gives so much to everyone she comes into contact with.  For only being in second grade she has touched so many lives through her charity and generosity.  She has her daddy’s heart, her mommy’s beauty, and the ambition and confidence that I could have only dreamed of.  I am astonished at all of her accomplishments.

Finally, my parents, Bernadette and Larry Jehnert.  My father is as patient as they come as an individual.  He has never been overbearing with his words because he never had to be.  His positive actions were all he needed to set forth to get his message across.  Actions speak louder than words could never be more true.  He is a humble man that did his daily job for almost fifty years without any accolades.  He did not look for any and he did not need any for reassurance.  He achieves his true happiness when he makes others happy.  He is the greatest guy I have ever known and will ever know for that matter.  Superheroes do not always wear capes.  Last, if I could dedicate the award of Harford County Teacher of the Year to anyone it would be to my mother.  She lasted the test of time with me.  I broke her heart over and over when I was younger.  She would work like a dog during the day, putting in close to sixty hours a week.  She would come home to nothing but trouble.  I was ignorant and irresponsible.  She tried so hard with me, but her message just did not sink in.  But guess what?  She NEVER gave up on me……EVER!  She was persistent.  When they said a mother’s love is unconditional and everlasting they were not kidding.    

So, this is it.  I was never sure how many people ever read my blog, but I did hear from a few.  I love to write and I love to share my message to help others learn, so I enjoyed writing these blogs every couple of weeks.  It has been my honor and my pleasure to serve as Harford County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.  I now belong to an esteemed fraternity of educators and for that I am really proud.  Twenty years ago, no one and I mean NOONE who knew me could have possibly predicted this measure of success.  Let’s just say…..I was a project.  This award is a testament to everyone out there who put forth effort towards me and never gave up on me. For all of those that said that I didn’t listen, I did.  It took me awhile to get “it” but I did listen.


Thank you to all!