Lynn Camp Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Jodie Carnes has made her way to the teacher’s top ten list.
Carnes was announced as a semi-finalist for the 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year award. Carnes is one of ten teachers that were chosen based on their scores from the award’s first round of judging, which was conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators. Applications included nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences, involvement in their respective communities, and letters of recommendation.
“It was an honor just to be nominated for Kentucky Teacher of the Year, and making it this far has been icing on the cake,” said Carnes.
“It honestly makes all of the hard times and long nights of projects and all of the extra things I do with my students feel validated. I wouldn’t be here if it was not for my students who are all rockstars.”
From baking cakes in the school’s food lab to costume design for school plays in the fashion design lab, Carnes creates meaningful opportunities for her students at Lynn Camp. They can be seen making child-friendly masks or catering during athletic events. For Carnes, the lessons in the classroom go beyond the standards to be taught.
“Having good relationships with my students is a vital part of having a successful program at Lynn Camp Schools. In so many cases, students just need to feel like they have someone they can go to and talk to when they are struggling in some aspect of life, not just a class, and somehow that person is me,” said Carnes.
“Whether it is just a hug or advice, I always listen and will talk them through their issues, even if it is something they don’t want to hear. Students appreciate honesty. Regardless of what students’ test scores are, if they feel respected and heard by a teacher, they will rise to the occasion no matter what you throw at them.”
Carnes was once that student sitting in a family and consumer sciences class that found her path to teaching the subject.
“My senior year of high school changed everything. I took a class with my FCS teacher called Teachers in Preparation (TIP). I enrolled in the class so that I could get college hours as it was a dual-credit class. Little did I know that I would fall in love with teaching, but I did and I haven’t wavered since. This class, my involvement in FCCLA (the student organization for students enrolled in family and consumer science pathways), and some pretty amazing mentors helped to shape the career I have now.”
Every year she says that she has students ask her the same question, “why did you decide to become a teacher?”, and every year she continues to have the same response.
“When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. You wake up excited every day to go to work and see your students learn and grow. As a teacher, that is one of the most fulfilling experiences and I get to witness it daily.”
The pandemic never stopped Carnes from finding meaningful ways to connect to her students and make a difference in her school. When classes resumed in-person in the fall of 2020, Carnes was already prepared as several of her students were already back to the classroom making masks that had kid-friendly designs.
“Even through trying times we have all experienced in the last decade, I have continued to stay connected with my students and the community.”
Carnes spoke about the recent shortage of teachers and the image that is sometimes cast upon the profession.
“There is NO shame in being a teacher. There is NO shame in majoring in education. If your intuition is calling you to teach, go for it,” she said. “Ignore the stigma that society has placed on this profession. The stakes are high, but the rewards are higher, and the compassion you will hold for your students is worth every minute of stress.”
Carnes also passed along advice to her colleagues in education. She wants to remind them to take care of themselves and to remember why they answered the call to teach.
“We know this job is not about the money, that “summers off” is a completely false statement, yet we make the best of what we have and keep moving forward. You are making a difference in kids’ lives!”
A virtual presentation and interview with each of the 10 semifinalists will result in the selection of the 2022 Elementary School, Middle School and High School Teachers of the Year.
The finalist with the highest cumulative score will be named the 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. That individual will go on to represent Kentucky in the 2022 National Teacher of the Year competition.
Valvoline is a partner with the Kentucky Department of Education in the award program. The company will present the 24 recipients of the Teacher Achievement Award with a cash award and certificate during a virtual awards ceremony set for September 9. The three Kentucky Teachers of the Year also will receive custom-designed glassware commemorating their accomplishments.