When Bexley Middle School math teacher Janeen Kimble opened her classroom door April 26, she was surprised to see a group of administrators, parents and Bexley Education Foundation representatives on the other side.
The group visited Kimble to recognizer her as the recipient of the 2019 Glick Family Bexley Educator of the Year award.
Kimble said she was "shocked" by the honor but has grown accustomed to the community's support throughout her 22-year tenure with the Bexley City Schools.
"The many years that I've been here, the district is unbelievably supportive of everything the teachers do," Kimble said. "That's probably the No. 1 thing that comes to mind when you teach at Bexley."
Presented annually by the Bexley Education Foundation, the Educator of the Year Award is funded by the Glick Family Endowment for the education foundation at the Columbus Jewish Foundation. The award recognizes a Bexley educator whose leadership, dedication, achievements and commitment to the classroom and the community have made a difference in children's lives, said Pamela Glasgow, executive director of the education foundation.
"Recognizing a teacher at any time is important because it sends a message about how important teachers are; good teachers are for students," Glasgow said. "It's important to recognize the people who work so hard every day on behalf of students. And it's so important for other teachers to see their colleagues being recognized."
In nominating Kimble for the award, colleagues, administrators and students described her as a role model to both staff and students because of her work ethic and compassion. Nominators said Kimble will do "whatever it takes" to ensure students succeed, including coming in early or staying late to work one-on-one with students, and working on weekends and over school breaks.
"Janeen, like so many of our teachers, she's one of those that just puts her heart into everything that she does and cares so deeply about her students," said Superintendent Kimberly Pietsch Miller. "You can see by the students' reaction to her being named, they were thrilled. It's sad for me that we recognize only one person a year -- that we have so many great people -- but Janeen definitely embodies (what we mean) when we talk about being 'Bexley bold' and doing what's absolutely best for students."
A Pickerington native, Kimble holds a bachelor's degree in education from Miami University and a master's degree from Ohio State. She taught seventh grade at Our Lady of Peace School in Columbus and was a student teacher in Wiesbaden, Germany, before joining the Bexley City Schools in 1996.
Kimble attributed her longevity with the district to Bexley's support of the schools and education, in general.
"I have never not had support for anything that we do here," she said. "And the kids, resoundingly, are always going to do their best."
On May 8, Kimble will be recognized publicly and receive a $1,000 cash award and an engraved, commemorative apple at the education foundation's Celebration of the Arts event.
The selection committee for this year's Educator of the Year award was led by education foundation board member Drew Stark as chairman and included members of the education foundation's board of governors and representatives from Capital University and other community members, Glasgow said.