Robinson ES teacher named December Teacher of the Month

Fifth-grade math teacher Jennifer Harwell was teaching her students at Robinson Elementary School how to multiply decimals when she was pulled out of her classroom for a special surprise.

Harwell was named HISD’s December Teacher of the Month for making learning about numbers exciting for all students, even those who may not always enjoy math. As a thank you for her hard work, this holiday season, she will be driving a 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV LT, courtesy Sterling McCall Chevrolet.

Harwell is also a team lead for fifth grade and ensures her team works cohesively and actively collaborates with other grade levels to align instruction and good practices. This year, she has taken on the role of Career Pathways Instructional Excellence Coach and is working to coach new teachers on effective practices and quality instruction for all students.

“I feel really honored that I was nominated and that I received this award,” Harwell said. “Everybody’s really supportive here at Robinson, and so it’s really a family. I don’t feel like it’s just for me. It’s kind of for everybody.”

HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan thanked Harwell for her selfless dedication to her students, despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic.

“I know it’s been extremely challenging for our teachers because not only are you multitasking, you’re teaching in a virtual environment and in a face-to-face environment and you’re trying to keep yourself safe and also your family members safe,” Lathan said. “So, I want to thank you for showing up to work each and every day and giving your students your all and helping them to be successful and getting them prepared for middle school.”

Harwell, who teaches two face-to-face classes and one virtual class, said her focus is making sure students have everything they need to succeed, and her reward is witnessing students make the connections to grasp tough concepts.

“It’s always awesome when you see that lightbulb go off,” Harwell said.

As part of the Teacher of the Month program, HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan and district leaders – along with a rep from Group 1 Automotive – surprise a deserving teacher. Each month, the selected teacher receives a gift basket and a luxury loaner vehicle.

Each of the seven HISD Area Superintendents are responsible for selecting a teacher from their region to be honored from November 2020 to May 2021. Principals who would like to nominate a teacher on their campus should contact their school support officer or area superintendent directly.