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Give Every Student A Voice! Meet Jahana Hayes: National Teacher of the Year!

National Teacher of the year, Jahana Hayes, seems to be everywhere! Last week, a video of her went viral, after a fun exchange with Barack Obama at the White House event honoring the nominated teachers. Because of this, America got to see firsthand, the passion and excitement of this amazing teacher. Check out the White House video below!

Jahana’s story is incredible. It is proof that giving every student a voice in the classroom can impact the lives of our kids. In fact, Jahana was one of the students. Growing in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Connecticut, Jahana was surrounded by drugs and violence. Pregnant at seventeen, it was Johanna’s teachers who gave her the courage to keep moving forward. They encouraged her to overcome adversary, and continue her education. She has dedicated her life to giving that same gift back to her students.

During the White House Event, Barack Obama had this to say about Hayes: “Our Teacher of the Year here stands as proof that you can’t set expectations high enough for our kids. There’s magic in those kids. We just have to find it.”

Jahana has been a teacher for thirteen years, eleven of them at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Connecticut. She has taught a wide variety of subjects, which include: World History, U.S. History, Civics & Geography, Roots of American Citizenship and African American History.

During the ceremony, Jahana’s passion and enthusiasm was seen by the world. “I see myself in every one of those students. I have to seize every encounter as an opportunity to create a positive memory for a child. I remember vividly the teachers who created those memories for me and encouraged me to challenge myself.”

We applaud Jahana for all the things she does in the classroom. From after school activities, to facilitating dreams, to being a positive role model, Jahana is the epitome of our mission at KleenSlate. Every student deserves a voice. Because every child deserves the chance to be heard and make a difference.


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