Jennifer Halsey’s teaching style revolves around one word: relationships.
“Jennifer Halsey is someone who truly understands the importance of relationships. She goes above and beyond to establish relationships with her colleagues, students, parents and mentees," Lauren White, an Ormond Beach Elementary teacher who worked with Halsey for 10 years at Wadsworth, wrote in a letter of support for Halsey's Teacher of the Year application.
Halsey is Wadsworth Elementary’s Teacher of the Year, and for White, she is a model teacher who cultivates relationships with both her students and her peers.
“As a third-grade teacher myself, I am now inspired by my own students when I see them struggle and persevere.” — Jennifer Halsey, Teacher of the Year, Lewis E. Wadsworth Elementary
White said Halsey motivates students academically and socially, and isn’t afraid to welcome students with significant classroom needs. In fact, White wrote, Halsey will seek those students out because she knows how support and guidance will help them grow confidence to succeed, even beyond the classroom.
“This combination of high expectations and relationships is a winning recipe for student growth and success,” White wrote. “Ms. Halsey deserves the greatest level of recognition as she truly is the heart of Wadsworth Elementary School.”
Halsey teaches third grade at Wadsworth and has been teaching since 2005. Her goal, she wrote in her Teacher of the Year application, is to make a difference in each of her students’ lives and to cultivate a passion for learning.
“I am continuously motivated by the relationships I have built with my students, parents and colleagues,” Halsey wrote.
Halsey became a teacher because of her own third grade teacher. Halsey used to struggle in school. Her teacher pushed her beyond her limits, she wrote — setting high expectations while maintaining a loving and safe environment for Halsey.
Now, Halsey strives to create that environment for her students. When she sees her students’ efforts, she wrote, she is reminded how she felt in that third grade classroom with a teacher who believed in her.
“As a third-grade teacher myself, I am now inspired by my own students when I see them struggle and persevere,” she wrote.
And, in turn, her students are inspired by her.
Victoria Pindell sat in Halsey’s third grade classroom in the 2012-2013 school year. Ten years later, she is in college studying early childhood education — because of Halsey, Pindell wrote.
“Ms. Halsey takes the time to get to know each of her students, and instead of pointing out improvements they can make, she finds and brings out the strength in them,” Pindell said.
That compassion extends to her peers, too, White wrote. Halsey advocates for new and student teachers, building up new teachers so that they, too, can be successful, White wrote.
Chris Tincher, Wadsworth Elementary’s assistant principal, wrote that Halsey is one of those true great teachers whom students will remember for the rest of their lives. Halsey loves every student in her class, Tincher said.
“She’s not just the teacher of the year, she’s been ‘The teacher of my lifetime.’” — Victoria Pindell, Halsey's former student
“A student who struggled to be loved by some teachers never has to worry, because Ms. Halsey loves them unconditionally simply because they are hers,” Tincher said.
Pindell wrote that Halsey has shown up for her on many occasions, long after she left Halsey’s classroom.
Halsey is her inspiration for being a teacher, Pindell wrote, and Pindell hopes to be a positive, motivating and compassionate influence on her future students, just like Halsey is.
“She’s not just the teacher of the year,” Pindell wrote. “She’s been the teacher of my lifetime.”