Jamie Mains Milhorn earns elementary level Teacher of the Year
It didn’t take South Side kindergarten teacher Jamie Mains Milhorn long to know she was in the right place. Almost 11 years later, you can still find her there.
Milhorn was named one of three winners of the Johnson City Schools Teacher of the Year award - along with Jackie Smith (grades 9-12) and Misty Davis (grades 5-8). She said that she fell in love with teaching kindergarteners and she’s been doing it ever since at South Side.
“Watching them grow and building the relationships is what keeps me energized and motivated,” said Milhorn through a smile. “The kids come in here and some of them don’t know how to write their name, then they leave reading. I just get a lot of joy being involved in that process.”
While it is a personal award, Milhorn credited her co-workers with helping her achieve the honor.
“It makes me feel really blessed and I feel like I wouldn’t have been able to get that honor if it wasn’t for my teammates,” said Milhorn, who taught one year at North Side before spending the last 11 years at South Side. “I feel like they believe in me and they helped me sort of go to that next step.”
Milhorn also said that her teaching has made a jump into the 21st century as she has been able to secure enough funding through donations and grants that everyone in her class is able to have an iPad. The students use the iPads so much in her class that she was able to donate the computers that were in her room. And it hasn't taken her long to notice the impact that the technology has had on her student's ability to learn.
“Assessment is a huge thing that changes (with the addition of technology),” Milhorn said. “Having the students work on devices allows me to immediately see how they are working and what type of problems they may be having.”
Students use applications like Seesaw, which allows them to record video, audio or take photos of their work.
“I get to see or hear them explain their thinking, so I know where they are,” Milhorn said. “It helps me get to know them better academically, better than I ever have before.
Milhorn’s students seem to enjoy the technology just as much as they enjoy her teaching techniques. The veteran teacher described herself as an actress, as she teaches with passion and energy.
Another impact that Milhorn is having on the school is leading the Girls on the Run program that she started close to eight years ago at South Side after the suggestion of her former principal Amy Stover.
“I watched a lesson and I just fell in love with the program,” Milhorn said. “It’s a program that is not just about running, it’s about how to develop positive relationships with peers, stand up for yourself and build confidence in young ladies.”