Drescher up for award
LAUGHLIN — One of Jenny Drescher’s goals each year is to know all the students’ names and is one of the reasons she’s been nominated for Educator of the Year for the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce’s Community Achievement Awards.
The Educator of the Year Award is given to an area educator with a passion for mentoring, educating and instilling intellectual curiosity, innovation and a sense of competitiveness in students.
“One thing I do that some of the teachers laugh or give me a hard time about is one of my goals each year is to learn every single kid’s name,” said Drescher. “That is very important to me because you need to be able to address them and show them that respect. I find that’s one thing that really builds some rapport between myself and the kids.”
That’s business as usual for Drescher. She didn’t expect to become a finalist for a CAA, but lo and behold she received a congratulatory email from the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce.
“I was shocked when I found out; I felt pretty honored that someone took the time to nominate me,” said Drescher.
She said she doesn’t know who nominated her but wishes she did. She’d like to thank that individual.
Drescher is Bennett Elementary School’s librarian and has been for the last five years. She sees approximately 340 students every week.
She’s been working in the Tri-state for 21 years, she said. She started working in Bullhead City teaching second through fourth grade. She then moved to Laughlin and taught second through fifth grade. For the last five years she’s been in the library and teaching technology classes.
“I think that just working with kids, all kids are looking for the same things — all kids want to be appreciated, have someone to support them,” said Drescher. “They love to learn if they’re given the right opportunities, you just have to find what they’re interested in and give them those opportunities.”
“I do a lot of incentives to get the students reading,” she said. “If you’re not practicing the skill, you’re not going to get any better,” she added.
“I use a lot of analogies to sports because I love sports myself. So I keep telling them ‘you won’t get better at basketball if you don’t practice,’” said Drescher.
She also works with the Elks Lodge 2872 for the Read to Succeed program. Students earn points for reading through the program and can use those points to buy items at the pop-up store.
She teachers literacy lessons, she and the students talk about current events and talk about book choices. These days the library is going more digital, she said.
“We do electronic books, a lot of our lessons are technology based,” said Drescher. “We start really simple — kindergartners learning how to use a mouse, to turn a computer on and then all the way up to fifth grade where they have their own Google accounts and are able to create slideshows and spreadsheets.”
“The kids love the technology and if you just show them a little bit, they’ll take it so far,” said Drescher. “It’s really amazing what they can come up with.”
Drescher taps into her own love of learning to help students.
“I’m a person who loves to learn,” said Drescher. “I find out about something, become interested and end up usually getting a degree in it.”
Drescher has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a bachelor’s degree in special education for kindergarten through 12th grade. She also has a masters in curriculum and instruction and a masters in school leadership.
Drescher has her endorsement as a school librarian and is national board certified as a teacher.
Being in the library gave her the opportunity to work with all the kids, she said. One of her favorite elements as a classroom teacher was getting to read a story to students and connect it to a lesson, she continued.
Library and classroom teaching aren’t the only ways Drescher reaches students. She spends extra time volunteering.
She helps with the 4-H Club’s robotics program and coaches baseball for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Colorado River. She’s also coached Little League in Laughlin and has helped with the Shop With a Cop program.
She does a little less volunteering these days to make time for her family — her husband, Ryan, and her two sons, Bryson and Braxton. Bryson is in fifth grade and Braxton is in first.
She said she really loves volunteering.
“I want kids to have those opportunities,” she said. “It’s also good to see both sides of students.”
The awards dinner is slated for Saturday, Oct. 27. The event begins at 4:30 p.m., dinner is at 6 p.m. and the ceremony is at 7 p.m.