Students at Dominion High School in Sterling gathered in the gymnasium this morning to hear a surprise announcement from Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam that one of their favorite teachers also is one of the best in the commonwealth.
In April,Jennifer Rodgers was named Loudoun’s Teacher of the Year. Now she is the Region 4 finalist for the top honor statewide.
Rodgers has taught social sciences and global studies at Dominion since 2005. Among her achievements is creating the Loudoun International Youth Leadership Summit in 2012. Under her direction, the summit each spring brings more than 100 students from 24 countries to Loudoun for 10 days to study world issues. Rodgers has secured more than $40,000 in grants for the program.
“I’m really thrilled to hear that I’m one of the finalists. It’s really humbling, such a great honor,” she said after the ceremony.
“Really, my drive is that students should have perspectives beyond just here in Sterling, Virginia and beyond just Virginia and beyond just the United States. The problems facing the world today are global problems. They are going to require global solutions and the students to collaborate with students all over the world,” Rodgers said. “My wheels really got turning on this early in my teaching career. I had this kind of naive idea of, why don’t we just bring students here from around the world. Long story short, I was lucky to teach in a community where that really took root. People embraced it. The students, especially, got so excited about it. The rest of us just couldn’t say no to making it happen.”
This year will be the ninth annual youth leadership summit, with about 180 foreign students visiting in March to participate.
For Rodgers, the award is a validation of the community’s efforts and of the value in expanding the global perspectives of students, preparing them to tackle the problems of the future.
Only two other Loudoun teachers have been selected as regional finalists. Harper Park Assistant PrinciplePatricia Herr was a finalist in 2009 when she worked at Broad Run High School, and history teacher Dan Kent represented the region in 1997 and was selected as Virginia’s Teacher of the Year.