Cape district Teacher of the Year Jorge Moreno Jaen has created a community in the classroom where students feel their own worth, said Milton Elementary Principal Beth Conaway.
“The teacher of the year is the embodiment of the very best Cape has to offer,” Conaway said. “You make the world a better place one day at a time and one student at a time.”
Cape officials gathered Oct. 13 to honor Jaen and view the virtual 2021 Delaware Teacher of the Year ceremony at a watch party at Lewes Public Library.
Before the virtual ceremony got underway, school officials presented Jaen, a first-grade Spanish immersion teacher at Milton Elementary, with gifts and accolades. Jaen also received a $2,000 grant from the state.
Jaen said he was blessed to be recognized and thankful for the support of co-workers and administrators. He said Cape was an early supporter of a Spanish immersion program when other districts were hesitant.
“You’re transparent, so I feel appreciated and worthy,” Jaen said. “I see this by your actions, and by the way you treat me. You are open to suggestions, and that means a lot to me.”
Superintendent Bob Fulton said he delivered Teacher of the Year signs to building winners earlier in the day.
“The kids were as excited as the staff members,” Fulton said. “That tells me relationships have been built, and students and staff are growing together.”
The virtual celebration honored 20 district and charter teachers of the year who, due to COVID-19 precautions, watched the virtual event at gatherings across the state instead of attending the typical banquet in Dover.
The ceremony included prerecorded welcomes from Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and Gov. John Carney, who said this year, perhaps more than any other year, appreciation has grown for teachers who have adapted to the challenges of teaching virtually and in person during the pandemic.
Candidates were nominated by their districts or the Delaware Charter Network during the 2020 calendar year because of their ability to inspire students with a love of learning, exemplary demonstration of professional traits, and strong sense of dedication and devotion to teaching, DOE officials said.
Kimberly Stock, McKean High English/English learner teacher in the Red Clay Consolidated School District, was named 2021 Delaware Teacher of the Year by Secretary of Education Susan Bunting. Stock is now Delaware's candidate for National Teacher of the Year.