On Tuesday, Oct. 17, Jennifer Hibbard, Voyager Elementary fifth grade teacher, was named the 2017-2018 Howell Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Hibbard, who has been teaching in the district for more than 22 years, is known as an innovator who is always looking for new ways to reach her students. She was one of the first teachers in the district to bring flexible seating options to her classroom, and is an early adopter of new technology. She works to deliver differentiated instruction to make sure that the needs of all students are met.
Hibbard was surprised with the Teacher of the Year award by Erin MacGregor, Howell Public Schools superintendent; Mindy McGinn, Voyager Elementary principal; and several central office administrators. Members of Hibbard’s family were also present for the surprise.
“Mrs. Hibbard values each of her students for the unique individuals they are. She recognizes their strengths as well as where they struggle, whether academically, socially and/or emotionally. In seeing her students holistically, she has the unique ability to bridge the gap between strengths and needs. I truly felt like we won the teacher lottery when my youngest was placed in her class.” said Angela Wolcott in her nomination of Hibbard.
“Mrs. Hibbard is very deserving of this honor. Each day she looks for new and innovative ways to help her students find success both in and out of the classroom,” said MacGregor. “She was an early adopter of flexible seating options for students and is always looking for new ways to utilize technology to enhance teaching and learning. Additionally, Mrs. Hibbard empowers her students to think outside the box during Genius Hours and through Project Based Learning.”
“Mrs. Hibbard is a champion for all students. She works tirelessly to ensure that each of her students reaches their full potential,” said McGinn. “If a student does not understand a lesson the first time, she will continue to work with the student and look for different ways to deliver the instruction until she finds one that clicks with the student.”
Hibbard said she was flabbergasted by winning the award and told her students that they are the reason she teaches every day.
A committee of 20 district stakeholders comprised of teachers, parents, a principal, central office administrators and a school board member met Oct. 12 to consider 60 Teacher of the Year nominees. After several hours of reviewing the nominations of these outstanding teachers, the committee selected Hibbard as this year’s winner. She will now represent Howell Public Schools in the Michigan Teacher of the Year competition. The Howell Board of Education will honor Hibbard at a board meeting in February.