The Presidential Award is the nation’s highest honor for a mathematics and science teacher. I am flattered to have been considered for this award. I have learned from my colleagues and my students that a teacher should be a master of their content, should try to make difficult material seem easy, should be inspiring and challenging, and most especially should be caring. It is amazing to be recognized for this. Teaching is not just a job for me, but rather something that I truly love to do.
Kristen Jahnz has been a mathematics educator at Cumberland High School for 20 years. Her classroom experience ranges from Prealgebra to Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus. She currently teaches Algebra II and AP Calculus.
There is a family-like atmosphere in Kristen’s classroom. Above all else, she wants students to know that she cares about them and that they have a voice in her class. She engages students of all learning levels and encourages students to understand, as opposed to memorize, material. In addition to practicing skills, students deepen their understanding of difficult concepts by working together, having mathematical discussions, completing hands-on activities and projects, and using the graphing calculator for investigation. Kristen works to increase students’ appreciation for the beauty of mathematics.
Kristen has been the Math Team Coach for Cumberland High School for the past seven years. In 2015, she took on the role of on-site coordinator for the Early Enrollment Program. Additionally, she was named the Mathematics Content Leader, where she oversees the department, organizes common planning time activities, and serves as the liaison between the department and administration.
Kristen earned a B.A., cum laude, in secondary education mathematics and a M.A. in mathematics, both from Rhode Island College. She is certified to teach mathematics in grades 9–12.