Top National Educator Honored

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Imagine Discovery Charter School Teacher Jennifer Brumbalow 

Named 2012 Imagine National Teacher of the Year

L to R: Imagine MD Region Director Pat Crain, Imagine Discovery Teacher Jennifer Brumbalow, Imagine VP for Education Eileen Bakke

ARLINGTON, VA (JUNE 6, 2012) — During a character assembly at Imagine Discovery Public Charter School in Woodlawn, MD, Music Teacher and Specials Leader Jennifer Brumbalow received the surprise of her life when national Imagine Schools leaders appeared to announce her selection as the 2012 Imagine National Teacher of the Year.

In presenting the award, Imagine Schools Vice President for Education and Co-founder Eileen Bakke remarked, “Jennifer Brumbalow’s energy, dedication, passion for character and passion for integrity epitomize what we look for in an Imagine Schools educator. As a member of Imagine Discovery, Jennifer makes everyone better.  She represents all Imagine teachers well, not only on this campus but also across Maryland and throughout the United States.”

Brumbalow began her teaching career in 1994 as a Choral Director and joined the Imagine Discovery staff in 2008. With music as her primary focus, she integrates grade level unit themes into her music lessons. Beyond the classroom, Brumbalow is a role model for students and colleagues through her leadership in many school activities, including the science fair, literacy nights, the character education essay contest, and the PTA Reflections program.

Several hundred Imagine Discovery students, parents, and staff cheered as their top educator became the center of the assembly. Upon receiving the Teacher of the Year Trophy and $1,000 check, Brumbalow responded, “I am honored and very humbled to receive this award and to represent Imagine Discovery. This is where my passion is; this is where my joy is. This is my family away from my family. I could not do what I do without all the wonderful teachers, administrators, and students at Imagine Discovery.”

Imagine Discovery Principal Mark Harris noted, “Jenny’s passion for teaching and tireless enthusiasm inspire all of us at Imagine Discovery. She is the definition of living our shared values, and her exemplary teaching skills and ability to connect with students and parents make her a role model for the rest of the staff.”

Imagine Maryland Region Director Pat Crain highlighted the significance of this award for the charter school and the state. “We are very excited for Jennifer to be named National Teacher of the Year — she certainly deserves it. And we are very proud that a teacher from Maryland was chosen for this prestigious award for the first time. The award goes to Jennifer, but it also belongs to all of our teachers, students, and parents who make Imagine such a great place to be.”

The Imagine Teacher of the Year national review team had a tough assignment in selecting one winner from among the five national finalists, each of whom had won their school and regional level teacher of the year competitions. The 6-member review team traveled across the country to see the best of the best Imagine educators in action; reviewing portfolios, observing a classroom lesson, and conducting interviews with each finalist, as well as their colleagues, students, and parents.

The remaining four Imagine Teacher of the Year finalists also received recognition for their positive contributions to the education of students within their schools and state. Imagine Charter School at Broward, FL, teacher Lori Rosenberg was selected as the runner-up and received a trophy and $500 check. Lucas Stricker, an art teacher at Imagine School at Evening Rose in Tallahassee, FL, was honored with the Character Education certificate and $100 check. Arizona’s Imagine Schools at Coolidge teacher Bryon Howard received the Academic Achievement certificate and $100 check. Imagine Cleveland Academy, OH, teacher Adrianna Joy Chestnut was awarded the Shared Values certificate and $100 check.

The annual Imagine Teacher of the Year competition provides an opportunity to highlight, reward, and praise outstanding educators who work daily to change students’ lives. These top Imagine educators are not only helping students grow academically but also putting them on the pathways to lifelong success by teaching leadership, character, and service. Additionally, the Teacher of the Year process enables educators from across the nation to learn best practices demonstrated by these phenomenal teachers and share them across the network of 75 Imagine campuses.


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Imagine Schools is a national family of 75 public charter educating over 40,000 students in 12 states and the District of Columbia. Imagine Schools partners with parents and guardians to educate their children by providing high quality schools that prepare students for lives of leadership, accomplishment, and exemplary character.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Lori Waters
[email protected]