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2013 Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching Winner

Danyelle M. Kensey, Academic Resource Reading Teacher, Johnson Middle School

Danyelle Kensey

Danyelle Kensey comes from a family of teachers, but her mother, who taught pre-K special education at Gage-Eckington Elementary for over 20 years, particularly inspires her. Ms. Kensey would volunteer her time in her mother’s classroom during college breaks. She now teaches in the same neighborhood where her mother grew up, and uses that connection to motivate her students. “I explain to them that my family roots are in the same neighborhood as the school, so I am aware of many of the challenges they face,” Ms. Kensey says. “But I let them know that their challenges must never be used as excuses.” She has been a teacher for 13 years and at DCPS for five.

Prior to becoming a teacher, Ms. Kensey worked for the Smithsonian, but became interested in teaching when she had her own two children. “I was fascinated by how my own children learned, and wanted to foster a love of learning in other children.” She draws inspiration from current events to create literacy lessons that push her class to think and discuss critically, and uses her own passion for performing arts to expose her students to dance education, bringing them to Artistic Dance Academy’s Dancer for a Day workshops. Ms. Kensey is thrilled by “the infinite possibilities of teaching,” and loves having the opportunity to “prepare my students for life and make a difference in our world.”