• Fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Albert was presented with a Milken Educator award and a $25,000 prize on Thursday. Photo by Julia Roberts/News-Leader

Educator award given to local teacher

Jennifer Albert, a fifth-grade teacher at Emma Love Hardee Elementary School in Fernandina Beach, was surprised Thursday with a Milken Educator Award. The award, “hailed by Teacher magazine as the ‘Oscars of Teaching,’ has been opening minds and shaping futures for over 30 years,” according to a news release.

Winners of Milken Educator Awards “are selected in early to mid-career for what they have achieved and for the promise of what they will accomplish,” according to the foundation.

In addition to a $25,000 prize and public recognition, the honor for Albert includes membership in the National Milken Educator Network, a group of more than 2,700 top teachers, principals and specialists dedicated to strengthening education. 2018-19 recipients will attend a Milken Educator Forum in New Orleans.

Using project-based learning, inquiry-based projects, manipulatives, vocabulary games, peer mentoring and cooperative learning strategies, Albert creates a safe and trusting learning environment where students participate actively and with confidence. She works with small groups throughout the class, meeting each student at his or her level and using data to differentiate her instruction.

“Albert uses Kagan Structures, helping students retain critical information by incorporating movements, motions and other mnemonic strategies into her lessons. She has fun teaching, students have fun learning, and together they deliver great results: In 2016-17, 81 percent of Albert’s students reached proficiency in science and 79 percent in math on state assessments,” according to the release.

“Albert is a trusted mentor at her school and within the Nassau County School District. She is the fifth-grade leader and has built a cohesive team that collaborates to ensure student success. Albert’s classroom is a model for STEM educators throughout the district. The resource library for beginning teachers contains video recordings of many of her lessons, and educators from around the district observe her in action in the classroom. Albert has chaired the BRIDGES (Broadening Regional Impact by Developing and Growing Excellent Schools) committee; served on the school’s Positive Behavior Support Team and STEAM Committee; and worked on the district’s Instructional Leadership Team. She has led professional development and is known as a positive leader who is always willing to help other teachers,” the release states.

“A dedicated educator with a sincere love of learning, Albert builds a bond with the entire family. Parents request her for their children, and she treats everyone with respect, including students, colleagues and family members. A lifelong learner who takes every opportunity to improve her own skills, Albert inspires the same love of learning in her students,” the release about Albert concludes.

Albert earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1998 from the University of North Florida and a master’s degree in educational theory and practice in 2013 from Arkansas State University.

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