The North Canton Area Chamber, Westfield Bank and Starbucks congratulate Jan Polen, January’s “Educator of the Month” award winner.
The monthly award honors a North Canton City Schools staff member who exemplifies excellence in education in their interaction with students, parents and other staff members.
Polen is a fourth-grade language arts teacher at Greentown Intermediate School, with six years of service at North Canton City Schools. Learn a little bit about her from the Q&A below.
Name: Jan Polen
Town of residence: Hartville, Ohio
Family: I am married to Jeff We have three sons, Zach, 22; A.J., 20; and Joey 17
Education: B.A. Elementary and Special Education, University of Akron
North Canton Patch: When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
Jan Polen: I was fortunate to have positive experiences in school. I realized in high school that I loved the idea of creating an environment where children could be challenged and encouraged.
North Canton Patch: As an educator, you serve as a role model for a lot of these kids, and I wanted to ask who did you look up to growing up, or even now, who do you find inspiration in?
Polen: My fifth and sixth grade teachers pushed me out of my comfort zone. They encouraged me to have speaking roles in school programs and to become a leader. These teachers saw potential in me and that boosted my confidence. I love the look on a student's face when they achieve a goal.
North Canton Patch: What do you like about teaching at Greentown, specifically?
Polen: I knew immediately that Greentown was an exceptional school when I began teaching here six years ago. The staff is talented, professional, and caring. I enjoy planning and sharing ideas with my team. There is great support from our community and parents. The energy and excitement for learning is contagious as you walk through our halls.
North Canton Patch: Your funniest, most embarrassing or most memorable moment you’ve had teaching here?
Polen: Last year, our fun-loving staff competed in "Minute To Win It " games during an all-school assembly. I got so dizzy while spinning around for the mummy wrap I thought I would get sick or pass out. I had to hold on to the wall to get back to my class.
North Canton Patch: What is your favorite childhood book?
Polen: I have so many, but one of my favorites is "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," by Judith Viorst. Reading books aloud to my students is one of the best parts about teaching Language Arts.
During the course of the 2012-2013 award cycle persons from each of the district's buildings will be honored. For the second year the Chamber has partnered with Westfield Bank and the Washington Square Starbucks on the project. Each monthly winner receives a plaque and a Starbucks gift basket, which includes a copy of CEO Howard Schultz’ "Onward" book. Schultz initiated Starbucks’ “Empowering Educators” program to highlight educators and school systems making a difference in the lives of their students and communities.