Kristen Jones, 44, teaches sixth grade at Cowherd Middle School, 441 N. Farnsworth Ave. in Aurora.
Updated: August 30, 2012 6:06AM
Kristin Jones, 44, teaches sixth grade at Cowherd Middle School, 441 N. Farnsworth Ave. in Aurora. Originally from Villa Park, Jones has taught for 20 years, four of them at Cowherd. For the past seven years, Jones also has lived in Aurora.
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northern Illinois University, specializing in ESL and language arts
Inspiration for becoming a teacher: “My inspiration for becoming a teacher came from my wonderful mom. She always encourages me to follow my dreams. I am also grateful to all of my former teachers from District 48 and District 88 in Villa Park. Thank you for your dedication and inspiration.”
What keeps you teaching: “What keeps me teaching is my desire to empower the next generation to better their lives through education. I enjoy the satisfaction I receive seeing students grow and develop into happy and successful young adults. I want to inspire change.”
Craziest thing a student said: “I always say I am going to write a book about all of the crazy things students tell me. The one I get most at the beginning of every school year is students calling me mom.”
Favorite moment: “Seeing former students graduate from high school. A lot of the time they are the first person in their family to graduate from high school, and it is a great accomplishment.”
Best advice: “Take advantage of every positive opportunity that comes your way. Make every day count and learn something new every day. Dream big!”
Favorite topic: “I love to read, so I am very passionate about teaching my students the importance of it. Reading is important to help students function successfully in school, and later in society. I tell my reluctant readers that I can always find them a book that they will enjoy reading.”
Interesting project: “During our biography unit, my students create ‘biography boxes.’ They read a biography about someone who interests them, and design a (cereal) box around their life. I find that students choose people they can relate to, and feel a connection to them through this project. It also encourages students to experience literature from a genre that they might not have otherwise chosen. It is exciting to see my students incorporate their newfound knowledge and display it creatively on their boxes. This past year, students read biographies about Jackie Robinson, Michelle Obama, Princess Diana and Helen Keller.”
Recent accolades: “TEAM” Award, Spring 2011
Personal note: “I have four wonderful kids: Samantha, 19; Zak, 15; Dylan, 13; and Peyton, 2. I have been married for four amazing years to my wonderful husband, Danny. I love to garden, read, see movies, and most of all, watch our kids in their many different activities.”
Who nominated her: Kathaleen O’Brien, bilingual shel English teacher at Cowherd Middle School, said Jones has worked diligently to provide each student with the feeling that they are valuable and cared for. “Enter Mrs. Jones room and you will feel the energy. Students’ work covers the walls and ceiling. She combines the perfect amount of softness with a firm nature and has her students learning every minute of everyday.” Also according to O’Brien, Jones has nothing but positive words for her coworkers and smiles all the time.