The Teacher Feature blog series celebrates our faculty’s passion for education and their joy in the journey of building our students’ futures. In this series, we will get to know these beloved educators. Just like our students and families, our instructors matter here. To learn more, visit our website.
When Ms. Jenna Knoke was in Kindergarten, she cried for the first few weeks of school each time her mom dropped her off.
“I would hold onto my mom so tightly that the buttons would rip off of her shirt! I just would not let go,” Ms. Jenna admitted.
Who knew that several years later, she would become a Senior Kindergarten teacher herself!
“It is really funny now that I’m a Kindergarten teacher,” she laughed.
Ms. Jenna began her career mentoring children working at an area summer camp with Academy’s current Summer Camp Director Ms. Barbara Soule.
“This is my 10th or 11th year with Ms. Soule,” said Ms. Jenna, “All through high school I worked as a Kindergarten camp counselor. I really like that age.”
After high school, Ms. Jenna attended the College of Charleston in South Carolina. When it came time to pick a major, she had a decision to make: go into business or become a teacher.
“I took one or two business classes and decided it wasn’t for me,” Ms. Jenna said. “Then, I took Intro to Education and that is when I really decided that this is what I wanted to do. It is something I always knew I would be good at.”
During her summer breaks in college, Ms. Jenna came to Florida and worked with Ms. Soule at Summer at the Lakes here at Academy. That is how she fell in love with the school.
“I just really enjoyed the children that came to camp. It thought it was a neat school,” Ms. Jenna said.
When Ms. Jenna graduated from college with her degree in Early Childhood Education, she immediately contacted Academy at the Lakes to find out about job openings.
“It worked out really well for me,” Ms. Jenna said with a smile, “Once I came here and taught a lesson during my interview, I decided this is what I really wanted. I really love the school.”
Ms. Jenna is inspired by her own 3rd Grade teacher that she had in elementary school.
“She was so kind, positive and warming as a teacher,” Ms. Jenna explained, traits that she brings to her classroom every day, “Even when I am correcting behavior, I try to make it into a positive thing, rather than a negative thing: ‘Next time what are we going to try and do?’”
This is Ms. Jenna’s 2nd year as a teacher at Academy. Her first year she taught Junior Kindergarten, and this year she is teaching Senior Kindergarten.
“I got to move up with about six of my students from last year. Seeing the growth that they’ve made in two years is unbelievable.”
Teacher Tidbits: Get to Know Ms. Jenna
Animal: Horses! I grew up riding horses and have been riding since I was 5 years old.
Kind of Music: I enjoy a lot of different genres including Pop, Hip Hop and Alternative.
Food: My students can tell you my favorite snack is hummus and pita chips. I also love quesadillas.
Villain: Gru from Despicable Me.
Superhero: When I was in kindergarten and first grade I would pretend to be Wonder Woman.
Finish the Sentence
My favorite subject in school was …math.
When I was in Kindergarten, I wanted to be a …horseback-riding trainer.
I love when my students … say they love being at school and wish they could stay all day! They have a very positive attitude towards school and learning.
I love teaching at Academy at the Lakes because … it is a learning community where every student, family, and teacher feels valued. Academy at the Lakes has a caring and loving school community where each student’s gifts and talents are celebrated.
When I am not at school, I like to…go to the beach, ride horses, and spend time with my friends and family.
The best advice anyone ever gave me was… if you set your mind to it you can achieve it.
In the movie of your life, what actor would you want to play you and what would the movie be called?
I would want Natalie Portman to play me in a movie called The ABC’s of Learning.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
If you could interview anyone, alive or dead, real or fictional, who would you interview and what would your first question be?
I would interview Beezie Madden. She is an American show jumping competitor and Olympic winner. I would ask her what it is like to have the opportunity to travel across the world showing horses.
If you could have any artist (alive or dead) draw a picture of you, who would you choose?
If you could go back in time, where would you go and what would you do?
If I could go back in time I would go back to Kindergarten. I cried and refused to let go of my Mom everyday for two weeks. I think it would be funny to be able to go back and tell myself that one day you will be a Kindergarten teacher.
If you could live the life of any fictional character, what character would you choose?
I would like to be Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. Who wouldn’t want to be a wizard?
We had Ms. Jenna’s students answer one question: What is your favorite thing about your teacher?
These are some of the responses: