Bobbi Jo Kenyon, an Ottawa Hills High School biology teacher, was named Michigan Teacher of the Year (MTOY) in an announcement by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan on May 17. The announcement was made during an all school assembly at Ottawa Hills High School.
“On behalf of the Grand Rapids Board of Education, our entire district, and the Grand Rapids community, I want to congratulate and thank Ms. Bobbi Jo Kenyon for being the best of the best!,” said Teresa Weatherall Neal, Superintendent for Grand Rapids Public Schools. “Ms. Kenyon exemplifies what we know our teachers do day in and day out to support student achievement. GRPS is fortunate to have a larger number of teachers, principals, and support staff, like Ms. Kenyon, who go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure all children can reach their full potential.”
Ms. Kenyon declared at a very young age that she was going to be a teacher, having been influenced by her father, a 37 year science teacher. There was no other career interest for her. As a kid, Bobbi Jo set up classrooms to teach family, friends, and the neighborhood kids about science. Her goal was to inspire students, just like her father, by taking advantage of every opportunity possible to play the role of a teacher. Ms. Kenyon graduated from Cadillac High School with a 3.99 GPA and was offered various scholarships to enter into programs such as engineering or medicine, but for her, teaching was her calling.
Ms. Kenyon calls teaching, “not a job for me, but a way of life”. She thrives on being able to help others through teaching and loves to hear students say to her, “I love your class”. Teaching and learning are the essence of Bobbi Jo Kenyon, who just finished her 16th year of teaching, 14 years of which have been at Ottawa Hills High School, and she is still very seriously dedicated to the profession. She is passionate about her work every day and continues to strive and push herself through educational programs, teacher blogs, and professional development opportunities. She is a teacher-leader at Ottawa Hills, having been a Co-Chair of the Science Department and Instructional Leadership Team and currently facilitates the work of the New Teacher Training Program. Ms. Kenyon knows that she makes a difference every day in the lives of her students at Ottawa Hills High School and believes to the core that the students she serves deserve to have a great teacher.
Ms. Kenyon is a graduate of Central Michigan University and has a Master’s Degree from Grand Valley State University. Bobbi Jo is the daughter of Robert and Jennie Bray.
Some of the duties of the MTOY include: serving as an ambassador for Michigan teachers; giving inspiring keynote addresses and leading professional development sessions; being a role model for innovation in education; learning about the Michigan Department of Education and meeting with management staff; serving the State Board of Education by attending meetings, providing a monthly report, and representing teachers in policy discussions; serving as a positive spokesperson; maintaining a blog; and attending the National Teacher of the Year Conference.
The MTOY program is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), the State Board of Education (SBE), and MEEMIC Insurance Company. For more information about MTOY, visit www.michigan.gov/mtoy