Braxton Citizens' News, Schools

Hefner named Braxton Teacher of the Year

By Shirley Shuman

The Braxton County Board of Education announced at a recent meeting that BCHS instructor Jami Hefner is the county’s Teacher of the Year. Hefner teaches students in a special education self-contained classroom, and she emphasized that she enjoys her job.

“The best thing about teaching in the self-contained classroom is that my students love relationships. I’m able to form relationships not only with my students but also with their families,” she noted. “I’ve had the opportunity to have some of my students for 12-plus years,” she added. “I try not to focus on negativity; I concentrate on what I can do.”

Hefner was quick to note the importance of others who contribute to her teaching success.

”I could not do my job without the support of my husband and family, and my classroom aides—Sandy Fisher, Shelly Campbell, and Marie Armentrout. These aides  are essential to what we do in the classroom.”

Asked what she likes least about teaching, Hefner was quick to respond with “Really nothing” and continued, “I feel like every experience and every day is a blessing.”

Hefner has taught in Braxton County for 18 years,  16 of those with self-contained students. Her first two years in Braxton she was an inclusion teacher. She followed that with two years at the middle school in a special education self-contained position. After deconsolidation, Hefner went to Sutton where she taught in another self-contained position for two years. She has taught at the high school since 2014.

This Teacher of the Year received a degree in Elementary Education Special Education K-12 from  Glenville State College. She also has a master’s degree in Reading Education.

Hefner and her husband have two adult children—no grandchildren yet although she is hopeful. Outside of school, she’s also a busy woman. “I love farming , and I enjoy the horses and the cattle. I also teach American sign language,” she said. Here she explained that several students use her room during lunch for Bible study, and some of them wanted to learn sign language. So, she’s been teaching them.

She also has a consulting business in which she consults with parents and students for special concerns and transitions. She stressed that she does not accept anyone from Braxton as clients to guarantee there is no conflict of interest or other problem.

One might wonder how Hefner can have time for even more, but she does. She enjoys crafts, and she writes poetry and short stories. Although she has not yet had anything published, she said, “Publishing is on my bucket list.”

Jami Hefner obviously has a passion for teaching, especially for teaching students in a self-contained classroom.  This can be seen in her statement, “I don’t do what I do for recognition. I feel very blessed,” she said.