Carroll County Teacher of the Year Jena Ehmann, a Reading Specialist at Winfield Elementary School, has been named as one of seven Finalists for Maryland Teacher of the Year.

A panel of judges from key educational organizations that represent principals, teachers, school boards, parents, and institutions of higher education selected from teachers representing each of Maryland’s 24 local school systems. The seven finalists were chosen based on a rigorous set of state and national criteria including: teaching philosophy and results, community involvement, knowledge of general education issues, and desire for professional and instructional improvement.

The 2020-2021 Maryland Teacher of the Year will be announced on Maryland Public Television on October 8, 2020 in a 30-minute special program airing at 8 p.m. on MPT2 and in a livestream on MPT’s channel MarylandPublicTV. The selected Maryland Teacher of the Year will go on to compete for the esteemed National Teacher of the Year Award and spend the coming year as an educational speaker and advisor.

Jena has a total of 12½ years of teaching experience, all in Carroll County Public Schools. Jena earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literacy Acquisition from McDaniel College in 2007. In 2012, she earned a Master of Science in Literacy Leadership, also from McDaniel College. Ehmann was an Extended Day Title I teacher at Cranberry Station Elementary School, an Advancing Early Literacy Tutor at Elmer Wolfe Elementary School, and a classroom teacher for grades 2 and 3 before becoming a Reading Specialist at Winfield Elementary School where she has been teaching since 2014.

Throughout her teaching career at Winfield Elementary School, Jena has delivered personalized and group professional development to staff members and provided model lessons, co-taught, and given direct instruction to students. 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.

Jena also organizes Winfield Reads, a whole-school reading activity that culminates in an evening event for the community. This popular event, which is attended by more than 300 participants, provides meaningful learning opportunities and fosters each student’s lifelong love of learning and reading. In addition to her work as a Reading Specialist, Jena is a team leader and School Improvement Co-Chair. She also collaborates at the county level to develop curriculum, resources, and professional development.

Jena is 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. Awards and recognitions for the past year include Winfield Staff Member of the Month and the Winfield Elementary Leadership Award.

According to Principal Katie Purper, “Jena continuously demonstrates collegiality, leadership, and flexibility. Her positivity and love of teaching and learning permeate the entire school and add to the positive culture of Winfield Elementary School. She works tirelessly and selflessly each day with the most important thing at the forefront of all her decisions, the students!”



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