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Jennifer Huhn named Hart District Teacher of the Year

Posted: September 17, 2009 6:54 p.m.
Updated: September 17, 2009 10:00 p.m.

Jennifer Huhn, a special education teacher at Golden Valley High School, has been named Teacher of the Year for the William S. Hart Union High School District.

Jennifer Huhn, a special education teacher at Golden Valley High School, has been named Teacher of the Year for the William S. Hart Union High School District. She will represent the district in the Los Angeles County competition, which is part of the California Teacher of the Year program.

Huhn and 16 other teachers of the year selected by Hart District schools were honored by the Hart Governing board at its Sept. 16 meeting.

Other individual school nominees included Bruce Arnold, Placerita Junior High; Zaid Bakoo, Saugus High; Brady Burrill, West Ranch High; Christine Enns, Valencia High; Mary Gaskin, Bowman High; Jeff Gilbert, Rio Norte Junior High; Jamie Hawn, Golden Oak Adult School; Daren Hoisington, Academy of the Canyons; Jennifer Huhn, Golden Valley High School; Nelson King, La Mesa Junior High; Lori Ann Levy-Holm, Rancho Pico Junior High; Laura Luxmore, Sequoia Charter School; Chris Mansfield, Hart High; Brenda Monteleone, Arroyo Seco Junior High; Mike Motherspaw, Canyon High; Ilona Pennay, Sierra Vista Junior High; and Jennie Siemens, Early College High School.

"These teachers are selected by their peers as outstanding examples of the teaching profession," Assistant Superintendent Rochelle Neal told the Board members.

Huhn is currently in her fifth year as a special education teacher at Golden Valley, where she has taught everything from English and study skills to reading, Career Explorations, U.S. history, Career Visions, biology and earth science. She has also taught special education and intervention programs in the district's summer school program.

Principal Sal Frias noted that Huhn is a product of the Hart District in which she teaches. "She was a student at Hart High School and speaks highly of her most influential teachers," he noted. She is part of the Golden Valley Leadership Team, a district trainer, a special programs instructor, and involved in Golden Valley's accreditation and professional development plan.

"Whether they are in special education or not, students need a teacher who genuinely cares and believes in nurturing their ability to succeed," Huhn explained. "Students see my class as a secure, productive and exploratory environment in which they can develop themselves both academically and personally."

She is proud to note that her students voted her Teacher of the Month last March. That honor was followed in May when the faculty also voted her Golden Valley High School Teacher of the Year. She also was named the school's Teacher of the Month by Golden Valley administrators in 2008.

Huhn believes strongly in family participation in each student's education and makes contact with parents a constant focus. She created and presented a series of family nights for at-risk students in summer school programs and offered training for families on how to provide math and literacy support at home.

"These sessions were incredibly rewarding as parents and (expressed) their appreciation for the information and cooperative environment," Huhn continued.
When students in her Career Explorations classes needed real-world experiences for their future careers, Huhn helped students find internships in areas such as aviation, optometry, chiropractics, firefighting and music production.

"As a teacher, my job is not done when students have learned the content presented in my classroom," she concluded. "My goal is to help them apply the material to realize happy, healthy and independent lives."


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