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Lamar CISD Secondary Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Harper

Jun 17, 2021 | Community Relations

Jennifer Harper is Lamar CISD’s 2021 Secondary Teacher of the Year.

As the Algebra I team lead at Terry High School, Harper is tasked with laying a foundation of strong math skills to carry her students through high school and beyond.

Immediately after earning a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas, Harper reported for Naval Flight Officer training. After spending eight years in the United States Navy as a Naval Flight Officer, Harper returned to school, earned a secondary math teaching certificate and joined the Lamar CISD family in 2014.

Harper uses her military background to display how skills used in her class can be applied in the real world. She starts by explaining that adults are seemingly always in a state of problem solving. As a former Navy Officer, Harper is able to teach her students the benefits of understanding math thoroughly at a larger scale.

Using her piloting experience, she compares a plane's glide path to the slope of a line. She can show her students the parabola used to calculate fuel usage and its importance in preventing tragedy. She demonstrates how an 18-year-old flight engineer, whose job it is to calculate the plane's weight and balances, uses math daily to keep his crew safe. Providing her students with these relevant and interesting examples keeps them engaged and shows them that math transcends far beyond the numbers on the worksheet in front of them.

When students come to Harper’s class with a belief that they can't do math, she quickly assures them otherwise. She is patient, tactical and full of analogies to make her material more relevant and applicable. She ensures no student is left behind and won’t move forward with a lesson if any one student is struggling. She emphasizes the importance of teamwork and doing whatever it takes to find a solution to the problem at hand. Harper is a true inspiration and beam of positivity at Terry High School and we appreciate her commitment to education.

Congratulations to Lamar CISD’s 2021 Secondary Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Harper! Harper will advance to represent Lamar CISD at the regional level. The Region 4 Secondary Teacher of the Year will be announced later this summer.