An educator with more than two decades of experience was honored yesterday by Howell Public Schools.

Voyager Elementary fifth grade teacher Jennifer Hibbard was named the 2017-2018 Howell Public Schools Teacher of the Year on Tuesday. District officials say that Hibbard, who has been teaching in the district for more than 22 years, is known as an innovator who was one of the first teachers in the district to bring flexible seating options to her classroom and is an early adopter of new technology.

Hibbard was surprised with the Teacher of the Year award by Howell Public Schools Superintendent Erin MacGregor and, Voyager Elementary Principal Mindy McGinn, along with several central office administrators and members of her family. Hibbard, who said she was flabbergasted by winning the award and told her students that they are the reason she teaches every day, was nominated by parent Angela Wolcott. Wolcott said Hibbard, “values each of her students for the unique individuals they are” adding that she, felt like they “won the teacher lottery” when her youngest was placed in her class.

“Mrs. Hibbard is very deserving of this honor. Each day she looks for new and innovative ways to help her students find success both in and out of the classroom,” said MacGregor. “She was an early adopter of flexible seating options for students and is always looking for new ways to utilize technology to enhance teaching and learning. Additionally, Mrs. Hibbard empowers her students to think outside the box during Genius Hours and through Project Based Learning.”

A committee of 20 teachers, parents and district officials met Oct. 12 to consider 60 nominees before selecting Hibbard, who will now represent Howell Public Schools in the Michigan Teacher of the Year competition. The Howell Board of Education will honor Hibbard at a board meeting in February. Pictured from left to right; MacGregor, Hibbard and McGinn.(JK)