Jena Ehmann, a reading specialist at Winfield Elementary School and a veteran teacher of more than 12 years, was announced Wednesday as Carroll County’s Teacher of the Year for 2020.
The Board of Education recognized Ehmann at its Wednesday evening meeting. The Carroll County Public Schools system recognized the way she works to build up her follow teachers by leading personalized and group professional development.
“She leads a school-wide focus on including students in goal setting and encourages students to work hard and do their best and plans quarterly celebrations to celebrate their accomplishments,” CCPS wrote in a news release.
In accepting the award via video, Ehmann shared that she decided to be a teacher when she was 7 years old and visited her mother’s classroom at Carrolltowne Elementary.
“I wanted to be just like her and have a classroom of my very own,” she said.
Ehmann finds support and a strong foundation as a "teacher in a family of teachers,” she said, and shared her recognition with her family.
She also expressed appreciation for her colleagues and said she was “in awe of their hard work and dedication” as they work together “to make sure all students achieve.”
Ehmann organizes the school-wide reading activity and celebration Winfield Reads, in which everyone in the building, from students and teachers to maintenance staff, reads one book together. The activity culminates in a celebration for the community at the school. The event “provides meaningful learning opportunities and fosters each student’s lifelong love of learning and reading,” according to the release.
This year, more than 300 families were expected to attend before it was canceled just hours beforehand by a state executive order halting gatherings of more than 250 people in response to the spreading coronavirus.
Principal Katie Purper said Ehmann shows collegiality, leadership and flexibility in the school.
"Her positivity and love of teaching and learning permeate the entire school and add to the positive culture of Winfield Elementary School,” according to the release. “She works tirelessly and selflessly each day with the most important thing at the forefront of all her decisions, the students!”
At Winfield, Ehmann serves as a team leader and school improvement co-chair. At the county level, she works to develop curricula, resources and professional development.
She is also a vice president of the Carroll Reading Council and a member of the National Education Association, the Maryland State Educator Association, the Carroll County Education Association, the State of Maryland Literacy Association, and the Carroll Reading Council. She was named the Winfield Staff Member of the Month and the winner of the Winfield Elementary Leadership Award this year.
She started her career with CCPS after graduating from McDaniel College in 2007, and worked at Cranberry Station and Elmer Wolfe elementary schools before moving to Winfield in 2014. She earned a Master of Science in literacy leadership from McDaniel in 2012.
Carroll’s Teacher of the Year will be considered for Maryland’s Teacher of the Year.
The eight finalists in Carroll this year were chosen in collaboration with the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, from the more than 560 who were recognized through the chamber’s Outstanding Teacher Awards.