Graduates of Liberty University’s School of Education are impacting the world for Christ, starting right here in Lynchburg.
On Monday, the start of Teacher Appreciation Week, Jennifer Lovett, a 2002 elementary education graduate who also received her master’s degree from Liberty as a program specialist in reading in 2008, was honored as Lynchburg City Schools’ Teacher of the Year. She is a reading specialist at Linkhorne Elementary School.
“I love being a teacher, and I am thankful for Liberty University and the love, instruction, and experiences I received while studying to be a teacher and reading specialist,” Lovett said. “Through the care and concern of committed professors, the challenging curriculum, and the field experiences and training, my time at Liberty prepared me well to be able to share the light and love of Christ through teaching.”
Lovett was notified of her recognition on Monday with a surprise visit from LCS Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand (read the related story in The News & Advance).
Michelle Goodwin, associate dean for licensure programs for Liberty’s Teacher Education Department, said Lovett was one of her first students when she started teaching at Liberty in 2001.
“She had a voracious work ethic,” Goodwin recalled. “Effective, exemplary teachers are the educators out there who tenaciously labor and seek multiple ways to meet the needs of their students no matter the situation. When students know their teacher cares for them and will go the extra mile for them to succeed, they will work hard to achieve their goals. Jennifer is this type of educator, and I am so proud that she has been chosen to receive this accolade.”
Goodwin has observed the ripple effect of the school’s outreach expanding each year, with students participating in approximately 1,000 practicums for the 2012-2013 school year with 159 student teaching assignments locally and another 320 externally. Including Liberty University Online programs, there are currently 10,331 students enrolled in the School of Education.
“It’s awesome to see how we are impacting the community more and more with time and growth,” said Beth Ackerman, associate dean of the School of Education.
She said for every elementary education graduate from Liberty, there is an opportunity to impact about 900 children.
“Even more children are impacted by our other programs, such as reading specialists, special education, school counselors, administrators, and secondary teachers,” she added. “With approximately 1,000 students graduating on Saturday in the School of Education, we are sending out Champions for Christ that will impact over 1 million children just this year.”
Another Liberty alumnus, Daniel Rule, was recently named principal at Lynchburg’s Dearington Elementary School for Innovation.
Lovett was the third alumnus to receive the award in recent years.
“Teaching is a significant duty and requires a great deal of effort, but I believe it is also a most precious privilege to play such an important role in the lives of children,” she said. “I feel blessed to work for Lynchburg City Schools. I’m grateful for our leadership, my students, and the teachers that I work with at Linkhorne Elementary.”