Position: Social Studies Teacher / Girls JV Basketball Coach
School: Herriman High School
School District: Jordan School District
City, State: Herriman, Utah
About the Nominee: Lisa Jensen was nominated by a colleague, Crystal Hansen. Every day, in ways large and small, Lisa Jensen (known as Co-J for Coach Jensen) is a LifeChanger in her community. She is not only a gifted teacher who makes an impact in her classroom, but she is also a supportive basketball coach and school leader.
Co-J helped start a program called the CURE at Herriman High, which is intended to unify the student body and prevent bullying. Through this program, Herriman High has become more cohesive, and the program has contributed to a positive climate. Co-J puts her energy toward making a difference and improving lives.
At Herriman High School, CURE stands for “courage, unity, revolution and empowerment.” Co-J works with faculty members and student ambassadors involved with the CURE program to demonstrate and exemplify kindness and inclusion to their fellow students. In addition to having these student ambassadors lead by example, Co-J has put them to work. She has them do things like organizing inspirational assemblies and sending positive notes to students and teachers. They’ve also done fun lunchtime activities to spread their message, and have even nominated fellow students who are doing great things in the school community to win prizes and receive recognition. Additionally, the CURE ambassadors have used small gestures to let other students know they are loved, such as putting up a heart with every student’s name in the library windows.
Co-J has worked hard to further the CURE program, and students want to follow her lead because they respect her. Her classroom conduct also makes a great impact on her school. It isn’t uncommon to hear students talking in the hallways about how much they love her psychology class. One student wrote this about Co-J as a teacher: “She teaches and instructs with a passion that is hard to find in other teachers. When she is teaching, every ear is tuned in, listening for her next few words....she genuinely cares about educating kids, and that transfers into students’ attentiveness.” A colleague of hers added to that sentiment. He commented, “Lisa is one of those teachers that genuinely cares for her students…She is constantly looking for ways to make a better tomorrow, by starting with our youth today.”
Co-J lifts people up at every opportunity, even under the most difficult circumstances. Her school was struck with tragedy last year, when one of their students was killed in a car accident. This young woman was a member of the girls’ basketball team and had worked with Co-J. She reached out to the family after the accident and has done a great deal to provide them with support and comfort through this unimaginably hard time. She has helped the team work through difficulties and grief as well, encouraging the girls to go on and play their best as a way to honor their lost friend.
These are just a few examples of how Co-J is an outstanding individual and a LifeChanger. Her colleague and nominator, Ms. Hansen, has worked with her for nearly four years and can say that she always has a smile and a hello for everyone. Through the CURE program, Co-J has provided exemplary leadership and encouraged the faculty and student body to build a culture of positivity and caring. In her classroom, she shows her students that she cares about their education, and about them as individuals. Co-J makes a great deal of difference at Herriman High School.