After a challenging year for educators, a Wading River teacher is being recognized for her dedication to her students and for overseeing a fun educational classroom.
Jennifer Demeo, a Kiddie Academy educator for two decades, won the academy’s 2021 Teacher of the Year award for the northeastern region for her performance during 2020.
“I was completely shocked and overwhelmed,” Demeo of Bellport said within an hour of receiving the news. “I was really surprised that I was even nominated. This is such an honor, and I’m so grateful because teaching is my passion and I’ve been doing this for so long.”
“I just feel so lucky that I get to do what I love to do every single day,” she added
Demeo has taught at the Wading River Kiddie Academy for 19 years. She runs a preschool classroom comprised of 3 and 4-year-olds. Throughout her time, she has proudly watched some former students grow up to become teachers at the academy themselves.
Teachers who go above and beyond in “all areas associated with classroom instruction as well as child interactions, professional behavior and overall program quality,” earn the award, according to a Kiddie Academy press release issued Thursday.
“Over the past 19 years, Jennifer has shown continued levels of commitment, compassion and dedication toward her students, classroom, staff and the school as a whole,” Christina St. Nicholas, the director of the Wading River Kiddie Academy, said. “Jennifer continuously enriches the minds of her students on a daily basis by using new, innovative and engaging activities that make learning the curriculum a fun experience for all of her students.”
‘A Broadway production’
Looking back on 2020, Demeo said she is most proud of keeping her children safe and comfortable, while adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
She also wanted to retain a fun atmosphere in her classroom, which she achieves through music.
“I love to teach them songs and poems, so my classroom is full with music all day,” Demeo said. “We incorporate it into every single thing that we do, we do it for math, we do it for science, we make songs up for everything and the kids love it.
“We have dance parties all the time and our circle time, I say it’s is like a Broadway production,” she added. “They learn everything through music, and it helps them really understand and remember the things that I’m trying to teach them.”