Jefferson Junior congratulates math teacher on award



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Math teacher Kathy Steinhoff wore an orange wristband that read the net amount of money she made as the recent winner of the highest NEA Foundation award: $34,900, or $100 less than the $35,000 she won for the NEA Member Benefits Award and the Horace Mann Award.

As she stood in front of a crowd at the Jefferson Junior Media Center, Steinhoff said she learned never to bet against herself. She handed off a $100 bill to fellow math teacher Kevin Schroeder to settle a wager she made with him over winning the NEA Foundation award.

Jefferson Junior High School welcomed Steinhoff back on Wednesday, Feb. 16, after she went to Washington, D.C., for the NEA Foundation awards ceremony. Jefferson Junior held a reception Wednesday after school in its media center, where clips from Friday night’s ceremony were played. The reception was a surprise for Steinhoff, who said she thought there was only a regular faculty meeting scheduled.

Former and current teachers, school district administrators and school board members came to congratulate Steinhoff on her award.

“I really think it reflects the whole school and town,” retired science teacher Betty DeLoughery said. “We have a lot of really good teachers and we don’t always get the recognition.”

Ninth-grade student Jessica Klein, who is in Steinhoff’s honors geometry class, played in the jazz band at the reception. Klein said Steinhoff often puts in extra hours to help her students. Even on the school’s snow days, Steinhoff held online sessions to review the material with students who had questions, Klein said.

“We knew she was going to win because she’s a great teacher,” Klein said.

When Steinhoff came back to school on Wednesday, her students wanted to hear all the details of the awards ceremony. Steinhoff said she showed some photos and retold the story.

“The whole day, excitement was in the air,” Steinhoff said.

View Steinhoff’s acceptance speech from the NEA Foundation’s YouTube page:


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