Jackie Hesse

Ever since I learned to read, books have played a huge role in my life.  When I was in elementary school, I remember walking out of the local library with more books than I could carry.  As an ELA teacher at Excelsior Academy, one of my favorite parts of my job is sharing my classroom library with my students.  I feel incredibly fulfilled when I see that spark light in a student’s eyes; maybe he has connected with a character, or discovered another perspective on an experience from his own life.  I must confess, I also have an addiction to Amazon.com.

My love for my job, however, does not end there.  I am constantly challenged in teaching writing and critical thinking, and I rely on support from my colleagues and students to inform my instructional practices.  I am grateful to be a Teacher Consultant for the Hudson Valley Writing Project, and this year I am co-facilitating a year-long graduate class entitled Leadership in the Teaching of Writing.  I am privileged to work with teachers from all over the Hudson Valley, ranging from kindergarten teachers to college professors.  

The other best part of my job happens outside of the school day.  I enjoy volunteering, and fortunately, so do our students!  Just this year, we participated in the Hudson River Sweep with Riverkeeper, counted glass eels in the Quassaick creek, walked in Habitat for Humanity’s Walk for Housing, helped at the Winter Special Olympics, and hosted a Modern Day Slavery Awareness Fair for the community.  This summer, through a fellowship from Fund for Teachers, Ms. McCartney and I volunteered in Quito, Ecuador and traveled to the Galapagos Islands.  This trip was a combination of research and vacation, because we are starting a program, Global to Local, where we will take students on international service-learning trips.  Upon their return, those students will serve as project leaders for Excelsior Community Impact Projects in Newburgh.  We are super excited about this work.  You can see our blog about this program here.  

My husband and I love to hike, cook, explore other countries, and take road trips with our dog, Misiu.  Spending time outside helps me to unwind, exercise, and maintain my focus even when life is overwhelming.  Traveling allows me to see the world through new eyes, and I am grateful for all of the places I have seen.

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