Bridgeport, CT - Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim on Wednesday presented University of Bridgeport (UB) School of Education alumni and recipient of the prestigious 2016 National Teacher Award, Jahana Hayes with the “Key to the City”. The Council of Chief State School Officers awarded Hayes with the title of National Teacher of the Year this past spring, and President Barack Obama honored her at the White House in May. Hayes was chosen for her ability to inspire at-risk students to seize academic and civic opportunities. She currently teaches government and history at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Connecticut, where she was raised. Hayes earned her Sixth-Year Degree from UB in 2014.
“Jahana Hayes goes above and beyond for her students and her community, and is a shining example of what an educator should be,” said Mayor Ganim. “I am thrilled to award her with a key to the City of Bridgeport, where she received her own education at the University of Bridgeport to launch her successful career as a teacher. We know that she will continue to be an inspiration to both students at UB and to the teachers we are honored to have in our own public school district.”
University of Bridgeport Dean of the School of Education, Allen Cook said, “Jahana Hayes is the kind of teacher young people remember long after they’ve graduated. Her dedication to her students’ success–profound and inspiring—has made her a transformative force in the classroom. She exemplifies the best of the profession, and we are immensely proud that Mayor Ganim will honor her accomplishments with the ‘key to the city’.”
Mayor Ganim’s gifting of the “Key to the City” to Hayes represents a succession of positive recognition for the city of Bridgeport and its educational institutions. President Obama also recently awarded Elizabeth Capasso, a mathematics teacher at the Jettie S. Tisdale School, with the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) for 7-12th graders. Ms. Capasso was also recognized at today’s event.
In addition to Bridgeport-affiliated educators being acknowledged by the White House, Mayor Ganim’s office recently released standardized test results that exhibited a remarkable improvement of Bridgeport public school students. The National AIMSweb test results showed an overall improvement of 11% for mathematics and 8% for oral reading comprehension, demonstrating the collective hard work of students, teachers, and parents in the community.