‘I know I still make a difference:’ Avondale first-grade teacher wins Silver Apple Award

Silver Apple is sponsored by Arizona Bank & Trust
“I’ll just do a little investigating and figure out what makes them happy, and how can I actually make them enjoy coming each and every day," she says.
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 10:04 AM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AVONDALE, Ariz. (3TV/CBS 5) -- Jennifer Jones-Bryant has been teaching first grade at Centerra Mirage STEM Academy in the Avondale Elementary School District for 26 years. She says her secret to keeping all her students interested and excited about learning is getting to know each one of them personally.

“I’ll just do a little investigating and figure out what makes them happy,” Jones-Bryant says, “and how can I actually make them enjoy coming each and every day.”

Mrs. Jones-Bryant was nominated for the Silver Apple Award because of those special relationships. And Arizona’s Family recently visited her classroom to surprise her with the award presentation.

“I enjoy everything about it,” explained Mrs. Jones-Bryant when talking about her job and career. “There isn’t a day that I don’t love it. Even if it’s a difficult day, I know I still made a difference.”

Crystal Perez and her son Samuel nominated Mrs. Jones-Bryant. She read the letter she wrote to the nomination committee to the teacher.

“Both of my boys have been in her class, and she is so patient and understanding. She knows how to meet their needs, the needs of all her students, whether it’s academically or even emotionally. I can’t imagine a more caring and compassionate teacher.”

When we asked Samuel what he loved about his teacher the most, he said, “She’s nice to me and she gives me a lot of work,” which he enjoys.

Arizona Bank and Trust also honored Mrs. Jones-Bryant in a big way. Michele Miller presented to the elementary school teacher with a $1,000 check. “We admire you and your passion for teaching,” Miller told Jones-Bryant, “...and on behalf of the bank, we want to present you this $1,000 all for you. We know that you give so much back to your class, but this is truly for you.”

Then, in the best way first graders know how to show their appreciation, Mrs. Jones-Bryant’s students all gave her a group hug. “I’m grateful for each and every one of them,” said Mrs. Jones-Bryant, “because I am who I am because of them. They make me.”

Mrs. Jones-Bryant tells us she’s retiring in December. So this was the perfect way to top off what has been an outstanding career in the classroom.