Above photo: (l to r) Elementary Director of Teaching and Learning Tricia Reiser, Assistant Superintendent John Popp, Superintendent Khris Thexton and Riley Student Support Coach Beth Rein surprise Jenna Dreiling (center), first-grade teacher, with the elementary nomination to Kansas Teacher of the Year. (courtesy photo)
Newman alumna Jenna Dreiling is one of the many treasured alumni of Newman University. Within 11 years of providing child education, Dreiling has changed children’s lives and taught them valuable lessons, and has now become the Great Bend USD 428 Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Dreiling graduated from Newman in 2011 after completing an English as a second language (ESOL) endorsement and Master of Science in Education. She now teaches at Riley Elementary School in Great Bend, Kansas.
Dreiling serves on the trauma-informed team at Riley Elementary as well as the English Language Arts committee and a multi-tier system support team.
At the district level, Dreiling serves on the curriculum steering committee and healthy living committee. With a total of 11 years teaching, Dreiling was recognized as Teacher of the Year for USD 428.
“The Teacher of the Year program is a great way to recognize our outstanding teachers and to also showcase to other districts in the state the innovative teaching methods and programs our teachers provide to our students, district and community,” said Superintendent Khris Thexton.
Dreiling explained, “The staff at Riley Elementary nominated me and then voted for me to go on to try for district Elementary Teacher of the Year. I was then given an application where I answered several questions about my teaching. Then at the district level, all applications were reviewed and mine was chosen.”
Dreiling believed that the education she received at Newman University helped prepare her for being a leader in the classroom.
“By taking the classes for my endorsement (at Newman University) they helped me better serve my students and help them be successful. Riley Elementary is 85% Hispanic. Most speak English well but others struggle with language. Those classes that I took at Newman gave me strategies and tools to help my students.”
When in the classroom, Dreiling cherishes the relationships she builds with her students. She prides herself on connecting with her students and teaching them important lessons that go on beyond their year in first grade.
“The one lesson I feel is the most important to teach my students is all lessons dealing with their social and emotional well being,” Dreiling said. “My students come from very different types of homes and endure many types of situations that cause many emotions.
“I feel by teaching my students how to handle these situations and emotions is key to their success academically.”