by Lorie Lewis Ham
Teachers have a tremendous influence on the lives of our children, and yet they so seldom get the recognition that they deserve. Now and then here at KRL, we like to focus the spotlight on one of those many teachers–this time it is on Reedley High School English teacher Jennifer Moore.
Born and raised in the Fresno/Clovis area, Jennifer didn’t decide that she wanted to be a teacher until she was in college taking a criminology class. “I went to juvenile hall in Fresno and talked to some of the kids who were there. After I left, I couldn’t stop thinking about the one commonality that I was hearing from the kids I spoke with there, which was that they didn’t feel like anyone (adult) believed in them. That is when I knew that I wanted to believe in young people.”
Jennifer first came to teach at RHS 20 years ago because of Juan Garza, who was the principal at the time. She liked and respected him. The biggest change that she has seen during those 20 years is in the amount of students. “We have a big population of wonderful kids here. It seems to grow and grow.”
Jennifer has taught grades 9-12 English and English Language AP. A typical workday for her is nonstop. “I am involved and participating with students and staff from 7:30 [a.m.] until about 4…and then I do a couple hours of reading and grading most nights.”
“I have occasion to walk by Jennifer’s room during my prep,” said RHS Math teacher and leader of the Students For Peace Club, Don Friesen. “Her door is always open and I often am intrigued by what I hear and occasionally stand and listen to the way she engages her students. Students interact easily with her and it is clear how much respect they have for her, and how much she cares about her students.”
Jennifer is also one of the cosponsors of Students For Peace and has helped them plan and carry out several projects. “Her contributions to our discussions are always insightful and reveal her broad intellectual background,” shared Don. “Her enthusiasm is infectious and motivating.”
“For me, Jen has been a teacher, colleague, mentor, and friend,” shared Alex Busch, a Social Science teacher at RHS. “She brings a mindset to the classroom which dares students to expand their potential. She lives by this mantra; the meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be and being alive is the meaning.”
“Jennifer has the happiest spirit I know,” said RHS Spanish Teacher Renee Johnson. “She’s fun. She’s spunky. She’s strong. She’s beautiful inside and out. She has this rare and incredible quality of inspiring the people to be the best person they possibly can…Reedley is lucky to have her. I am lucky to have her as one of my very best friends.”
According to Jennifer, the hardest part of her job is making sure that she does her best every day for each individual student. “I don’t ever want a student of mine to go through their day at Reedley High School without knowing they were seen, acknowledged, and cared about.”
“Having her as a teacher was such a wonderful experience,” stated RHS student Cameron Calvillo. “I never knew what she was going to say next, but every single time it blew me away and taught me not only the magic of literature and beauty in writing, but also how to be a better human being.”
“Ms. Moore was perhaps the most innovative teacher at RHS,” shared former RHS student D.J. Reimer. “She had no intellectual boundaries which stimulated everyone in a very unique way. There was never a time when she wasn’t pushing boundaries and that’s what makes her so special to all of her students.”
During her rare free time, Jennifer has many interests, including sports–she loves rooting for all of the RHS Pirates teams. She also loves to run, read, write, listen to live music, climb mountains, and to spend time with the love of her life, Jason.
The best part of the job for Jennifer is working with all the amazing kids, and she hopes to keep teaching for a very long time. “Teaching makes me happy. I would like to be a teacher for a long time; for the rest of my working days.”