LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jessica McCarthy

Position: Kindergarten Teacher
School: North Star Elementary School
School District: Red Clay Consolidated School District
City, State: Hockessin, DE

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Jessica McCarthy was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

"I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Mrs. McCarthy for a little over a decade," said the nominator. "Her passion and dedication to the profession is unmatched. She returns each school year with a new drive and energy to engage our school’s youngest learners by seeking innovative ways to make learning matter."

A few years ago, Mrs. McCarthy launched a school-wide endeavor known as an outdoor classroom.  She brought her architectural talents and dreams of building a place where students could embrace learning in a natural environment: the outdoors. This idea was well-received by the community, and Mrs. McCarthy immediately took action.  She sought out resources both within and outside of the community to make this dream come to fruition.  She enlisted the help of students, teachers, families, local businesses, administrators, and district personnel.  The outdoor classroom enhances and adds to the limited scope of activities confined within physical classrooms by providing hands-on experiences, physical activity, social-emotional growth through peer interaction, and multifaceted approaches to cognitive development that connect children to nature and maximize their learning outcomes.

Mrs. McCarthy has not only transformed the quality of learning experiences for all children, but set the stage for healthy habits.  Mrs McCarthy continues to seek ways to grow the outdoor classroom by attending national conferences and providing turn-key professional development opportunities.  Most recently, she founded the school's Earth Club when a group of students showed interest in making a difference in the world.  She facilitates monthly meetings that allow members of the club to collaborate and engineer solutions to many of the pressing issues facing the environment.  Notably, the club partnered with a local organization called "Green United Building" to assess her school's energy use and give recommendations on how to better conserve energy.

"She is an absolute inspiration to the learning community, and she's more than deserving of this honor," said the nominator. 


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Comments (5)


Nancy McMann Posted 4 days ago

Jessica has had 3 of my children. The youngest now being in sixth grade, she is still be far our favorite teacher. She embraced all the challenges that accompanied my kids and they thrived under her leadership. She brought them up to full speed and was able to challenge them and direct their energy in positive and productive ways. She has gone above and beyond with the outdoor classroom, making it a fun a small safe learning environment. I highly recommend Jessica McCarthy for this award!

Dan Shields Posted 8 days ago

I've had the good fortune to spend some time in Mrs. McCarthy 's classroom over the last several years, and I must say the passio n and enthusiasm she brings to her profession is remarkable. She has a teaching style that is both whimsical and disciplined, a rare combination that kindergarten students seem to respond very favorably to. She also has a knack for recognizing the different individual needs, especially of those children who might require a little extra attention, while making sure nobody feels left out or neglected. A model of professionalism and passion, Mrs McCarthy has changed thousands of lives.

Kathleen Bugbee Posted 9 days ago

Your serene calmness and understated reflections make her the best K teacher in the district.

Beth Morris Posted 9 days ago

Our family is so fortunate to have a child in Mrs. McCarthy’s class. She goes so far beyond expectations, she is creative, fun and loving to each child. Her love for nature and wildlife is unmatched. Her dedication to teaching is unimaginable. She is so deserving of this award.

Nancy McMann Posted 9 days ago

Jessica has had 3 of my children. The youngest now being in sixth grade, she is still be far our favorite teacher. She embraced all the challenges that accompanied my kids and they thrived under her leadership. She brought them up to full speed and was able to challenge them and direct their energy in positive and productive ways. She has gone above and beyond with the outdoor classroom, making it a fun a small safe learning environment. I highly recommend Jessica McCarthy for this award!