For the love of teaching!

Janene Schneider's strides for greatness have earned her Teacher of the Year.

Teacher+of+the+Year

Staff Photo by Jenna Gagnon

Schneider's enthusiasm for teaching is clearly evident during class.

Sage Cooley, Co-Editor-in-Chief

As 2019 comes to a close, students and staff reflect on their scholastic endeavors. For English teacher Janene Schneider, such efforts culminate in one fantastic accomplishment: recognition as Teacher of the Year. On Nov. 8, admin celebrated Schneider for her excellence in the classroom, effective leadership skills and drive to achieve more. 

Schneider earned her undergraduate degree in communications with a license in secondary education. Initially, she entered college with plans of becoming a physical therapist but later found her calling in teaching. After 15 years, she stepped away from her career and went to Duke University. 

“I loved Duke, but I missed teaching and I knew that’s where I had to be,” Schneider said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world.” 

Schneider taught for 13 years at Franklin Academy Charter School before transferring to Wakefield — this is her third year as a Wolverine. She has cultivated the respect and admiration of many of her former and present students.  

Teacher of the Year
Staff Photo by Jenna Gagnon
Mrs. Schneider works with some of her students.

Junior Matthew Jones took Schneider’s English I and Speech I classes his freshman and sophomore years, respectively. 

“I enjoyed her enthusiasm and how easy it was to approach her,” Jones said. “She liked it when you asked questions.” 

Claire Williams, currently a sophomore enrolled Speech I, appreciates the learning environment Schneider creates. 

“I just know that whenever I go into her classroom, I’m going to have a great time,” Williams said. “I’m going to be welcomed.” 

As a teacher mentor, Schneider speaks to a number of personal qualities and instructional techniques. She stresses having empathy for students and their situations because each child brings his or her own, unique experiences into the classroom. In her teaching, she tries to appeal to all kinds of learners: visual, auditory, tactile, etc. Most importantly, though, successful teachers need to love what they do. 

“[Students] know the difference between a paycheck and a passion,” Schneider said. “You’ve got to have passion: that’s hard to teach in college.”

Assistant Principal Beth Keefer identified the selection criteria for staff members who voted on Teacher of the Year, then chose the finalists. She praises Schneider’s thoughtfulness and motivation to improve in her career. 

“It’s striking the amount of reflection she shows as a practitioner,” Keefer said. “She’s able to assess her strengths and weaknesses and really challenge herself to grow.” 

You’ve got to have passion: that’s hard to teach in college.”

— Schneider

Jones recalls Schneider having several ideas for the school.

“She’s always striving to do more,” Jones said. “She wants to [implement] a communications class (nonverbals, how different genders communicate with each other, etc.) [and] a debate club at our school.” 

Schneider hopes her students will believe in themselves, regardless of the grades they earn in her classes. 

“I love the students here at Wakefield [and] I just want [them] to realize that we’re here for them,” Schneider said. “My number-one priority is them.” 

Teacher of the Year
Staff Photo by Jenna Gagnon
Mrs. Schneider poses for her Teacher of the Year photo!