By Samantha Solliday

    One teacher’s birthday came with a big surprise this month at a Killeen ISD elementary campus.

    The staff of Cavazos Elementary School, along with KISD Human Resources and Education Foundation representatives was overjoyed to celebrate Jennifer Arey, a teacher known for going above and beyond for her students.

    The group of guests walked up the stairs to where the teacher was monitoring a classroom. The crew packed the room, cheering the teacher’s name.

    Principal Joe Gullekson expressed why the special teacher had been honored as the Elementary Teacher Spotlight for the Month.

    “You have a no fail attitude,” he stated. “You are able to build these amazing relationships with your students and you push them to be the best that they can be.

    “You are an amazing teacher and you can tell that because your students love you.”

    The teacher stood in awe as she received her gifts.

    “I always knew that I wanted to teach,” said Arey. “I always loved being around students and having a positive impact on them.”

    Moving from Kansas, where she taught, to Killeen, due to her husband’s job in the military, Arey has been at Cavazos for six years.

    “I love the people that I work with, the administration here is amazing, they actually allow us to teach,” she said smiling.

    Arey enjoys getting to see all of the results of her students’ hard work and dedication, when she sees them succeed during STAAR testing, even though she feels like she never has enough time in the day.

    “It’s definitely a challenge,” she said. “I try to meet all the needs of my students, but I wish I had that extra hour in the day.”

    Wanting to teach more than just academics in the classroom, Arey wants her students to learn that making mistakes is OK, and to treat each other with kindness.

    “I make mistakes in front of them all the time because I want them to know it is ok,” she said. “I encourage them to help each other when they see another classmate struggling.

    “We have become a close-knit group and we have built those family relationships to support and help one another.”

    The teacher thanked the group around her as her students surrounded her with smiles on their faces.

    “I want to thank my team, administration and my students,” she said. “I love my job. It is my calling.”

    May 15, 2018

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