English teacher Aayana Kenon has received the honors of being the 2020-21 Teacher of the Year for both Gadsden County High School and Gadsden County School District.
When Kenon got the news that she was Teacher of the Year for Gadsden County High her students past and present shared in the celebration.
“My kids were excited and others in my department texted me saying they must have my former students because they were going crazy in class,” said Kenon.
The school made an announcement on the intercom when she was named TOY for the school. But they had a trick up their sleeve when it was time to announce her as District Teacher of the Year.
Kenon was told she needed to record a video of herself teaching for the school’s website. Though she was upset because it was a last minute request, Kenon put on her game face and began to record the video.
“As soon as I get into my second sentence of teaching everybody walks in with balloons and the camera crew was filming me,” Kenon said.
Kenon had to have a panel interview prior to being selected.
“I went in with the mindset … this is what I do everyday and I love it. I love what I do,” said Kenon.
Growing up Kenon had a passion for reading and writing.
“Writing is my favorite thing to teach,” said Kenon.
Becoming a teacher was an easy decision for Kenon. She spent her childhood giving her cousins worksheets to work on in their spare time.
“I think I always knew. I was the student in class who would explain to the teacher what the other students wasn’t understanding,” Kenon said.
When it was time for Kenon to apply to be a teacher she applied to schools in Gadsden County School District without realizing multiple schools had principals with the last name Jackson.
When she arrived at the then East Gadsden High School unexpectedly they held an impromptu interview and offered her a job on the spot.
“I was in the pharmacy with my then 4-month old when I got the call for an interview,” Kenon said. “All I heard was Jackson and Gadsden.”
Kenon balances being a mom to a four-year-old daughter and teacher well.
“It’s cool because I get to see her develop an appreciation for reading and education,” said Kenon.
In five years Kenon hopes to be out of the classroom while still making an impact with students.
“Hopefully I’ll be an instructional coach so my impact will be a little bigger outside of my own classroom,” Kenon said.
Kenon wants future educators to value their education above all else and remember that they are preparing themselves to make a daily impact on someone else’s life.
“When you become a teacher it’s not because you know everything. You are a vessel to help these kids to get to the information that they need to know,” Kenon said.
- B.A. in English from Florida A&M University
- Currently studying Ed Leadership at Florida State University.
- 2017-2018 Rookie Teacher of the Year for Gadsden County High School
- Serves as Head of the English Department and Ladies of Platinum Dance Coach
Breanna Rittman – Mail@gadsdencountynews.com
Photos by Breanna Rittman