Jeanie Cook Named Finalist For Missouri Teacher Of The Year
August 4, 2012
Pleasant Lea Elementary Teacher Is Eighth State Finalist Since 2002
Jeanie Cook, a kindergarten teacher at Pleasant Lea Elementary, was named one of six finalists for Missouri Teacher of the Year on Aug. 1. Mrs. Cook, who was selected as Lee’s Summit R-7School District 2012-13 Teacher of the Year on May 2, will interview with the other finalists on Aug. 6 in Jefferson City. State officials plan to announce the Missouri Teacher of the Year next week.
Lee’s Summit R-7 teachers have been especially successful in the state recognition program with eight teachers selected as finalists and two staff members being named the state’s top teacher since 2002. Kristen Merrell of Lee’s Summit Elementary was named Missouri Teacher of the Year in 2011, and Susanne Mitko of Campbell Middle School was Missouri Teacher of the Year in 2009. In addition, Marcia Ritter, who was a teacher at Pleasant Lea Middle School before retiring several years ago, was Missouri’s Teacher of the Year in 1994.
Before Mrs. Cook began teaching at Pleasant Lea Elementary, she taught first grade at Westview Elementary and kindergarten,first and second grade at Underwood Elementary. She also taught in a Kansas City Public Schools early childhood center. In addition, she operated her own Lee’s Summit area preschool for several years. In all, she has workedfor the R-7 School District for 18 years and has a total of 22 years of experience in education.
“I feel very strongly that teaching children, now more than ever, involves educating the whole child,”Mrs. Cook said. “I believe that teaching involves building relationships with children and their families, getting to know what is important intheir lives, considering their emotional needs and a thorough understandingof current best practices and research in education.”
In nomination forms, Mrs. Cook was praised for her positive attitude, ability to make learning fun and her focus on meeting the individual needs of each child.
“She goes above and beyond in her partnership and communication with parents,” added a Pleasant Lea Elementary parent. “She also uses technology in unique and exciting ways that keep the kids interested and entertained while they learn. Whether its music, a video or a game, she always has something fun for every student.”
Mrs. Cook has received several Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation PEAK (Promoting Excellence and Knowledge) Grants,including a grant that helped her initiate a school-wide postal system at Underwood Elementary. Throughout her career within Lee’s Summit R-7,she has been involved in numerous school and district teams, including holding several leadership positions.
She has helped facilitate the Partners In Education program at several elementary schools, has served as a member and officer in the Lee’s Summit Reading Council, served as her school’s Reading Week chairperson and served on her school’s Positive Behavior Support Team.
Mrs. Cook has shared her knowledge through presentations at Pleasant Lea Elementary, at the district level and at regional conferences on topics such as reading, writing and positive behavior.
Within the community, Mrs. Cook has taught youth at her church, served as a Girl Scout leader and as a school PTA officer. She has also tutored students in the areas of reading, writing and math.
A long-time Lee’s Summit resident, Mrs.Cook earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Central Missouri and her master’s degree in elementary administration from UCM.