It is truly an honor to receive the Presidential Award. It is said that teaching is a work of the heart, and mine is filled with gratitude and pride for my students. I am also grateful for the family, colleagues, and mentors who contributed to my success as an educator. This achievement reaffirms my commitment to improving my instructional practices, increasing student engagement and learning, and assisting other educators in their professional development.

Jenny Van Buren Greenville, SC | 7-12, Mathematics, 2019

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Jenny Van Buren is in the 14th year of her teaching career. Currently, she teaches Algebra 2, Transitions to Algebra, and Geometry Honors to 9th-12th grade students at Powdersville High School. She previously taught at T.L. Hanna High School for one year, Clay Virtual Academy for four years, and Ridgeview High School for six years. Jenny serves as a member of her school’s guiding coalition for professional l earning. In 2019, she was recognized by the South Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development as an emerging leader and currently serves as an ad-hoc committee member for the 2020 class of emerging leaders. Jenny’s teaching practice is focused on meeting the needs of all students. She constantly reflects upon her instructional practices and works to increase student engagement. Her instructional approaches include the integration of technology, inquiry based activities, real-world examples, interactive notebooks, and flipped classes. Jenny is also passionate about helping teachers grow professionally and has presented at both the South Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conferences. Part of her doctoral dissertation, titled Culturally Responsive Teaching in an Algebra 1 Class for Repeating 9th Graders, was recently published in the The Reflective Educator’s Guide to Classroom Research. Jenny earned a B.S., summa cum laude, in secondary mathematics education from the University of New Orleans, a M.Ed. in educational leadership from the University of North Florida, and an Ed.D. in curriculum, teaching, and teacher education from the University of Florida. Her certifications include mathematics, middle level mathematics, tier one elementary principal, and tier one secondary principal.