The gymnasium of Mt. Washington School was buzzing as one of its standout teachers, Tracy Jennings, led a “crew” assembly, a pep rally meant to unite students around habits of success. As she began, Jennings pointed out how cool it was that the entire school was together for one program.
Little did she or the other teachers know, however, that the assembly’s real purpose was to celebrate her being named this year’s Woodward Trust Distinguished Teacher by the Cincinnatus Association.
At a particularly exciting moment during the assembly, Principal Debbie Klein popped up behind Jennings and announced the big news with flowers in hand:
“Congratulations, Ms. Jennings, you have been named the Cincinnati Teacher of the Year!”
The room roared with celebration, not just from students, but from teachers as well.
The Woodward Trust Distinguished Teacher Award recognizes the exceptional efforts and contributions of a teacher in Cincinnati Public Schools.
“When we heard there was an award for the best teacher in Cincinnati Public Schools, we immediately thought of Ms. Jennings,” said Dr. Amy Murdoch, a professor at Mount St. Joseph who taught Jennings during her graduate studies. “When I think of someone who deserves an award for being a great teacher who is not only smart but is kind and willing to help others, [Ms. Jennings] is our teacher.”
Dr. Murdoch was joined by Professor Beth Corbo and Dean of Education Laura Saylor, all three of whom kickstarted the nomination process for Jennings. Once the ball got rolling, it didn’t take long for Mt. Washington faculty members to write letters in support of Jennings to the Cincinnatus Association.
Principal Klein and Dr. Murdoch highlighted Jennings’ warmth as one of her shining attributes, but her kindness is only the start of what sets her apart. “She will do anything it takes to meet the needs of any child,” Principal Klein shared. “She is so kind and knowledgeable, always thinking outside of the box in ways that promote integrity and trust. She is a natural leader, one that keeps us challenged in the best ways.”
Jennings was quick to credit the great faculty of Mt. Washington for her success: “The thing is, they should be the ones getting this award, because I couldn’t do it without them. This is a hard job, but I think the way everyone on this staff works together just makes it so much easier to do what I do.”
Ultimately, more than 10 teachers and administrators wrote letters of support for Jennings. Although she was very grateful, she says that the support says less about her and more about the culture of Mt. Washington: “We are a crew here, and that’s not restricted to just the teachers, but the amazing student body we have. Everyone works so hard, but we do that hard work together. It’s an amazing feeling.”
To learn more about all the exciting things happening at Mt. Washington School, check out https://mtwashington.cps-k12.org/.