By EllieAna Hale

This 2021-2022 Frontier School District Teacher of the Year award was granted to Janet Raymer, a seventh-grade science teacher located at Frontier School of Innovation Middle School.

Teaching has always been a pivotal part of Raymer’s life, and it is safe to say that she was born to be an educator.

“I’ve been saying I wanted to be a teacher since I was a baby,” Raymer said. “My parents had pictures of me with a little easel and back then it was an actual chalkboard. I was writing the ABCs with my dolls all lined up. But in high school, I figured out I want to teach science.”

Education has always been a passion of Raymer and she seeks to create a safe, and successful environment for her students.

“You can’t teach anybody anything without connecting,” Raymer said. “And you can’t connect with them if there’s no mutual respect, if there are not those boundaries, and, kids, they’ll fight rules all the time. But when it comes right down to it, they like that structure, they like knowing what’s coming.”

Raymer has worked with Frontier Schools for eight years. This next school year, she is taking on a new role of becoming the assistant curriculum director for the Frontier science department. In addition to the classroom, Raymer has worked with the FSI Middle Schools Science Olympiad team.

”The whole time I’ve been there, I’ve been working with the Science Olympiad,” Raymer said. “I did that as a middle school student, and really, really enjoyed it. Kids need somewhere to find themselves and not everybody is an athlete. Give those kids that don’t fit in with the sports and maybe don’t fit in with some of these other things. Give them a place to go and have some fun.”

This past year was the first time her Science Olympiad team went to the state competition, and Raymer expresses how proud she is to see the kids that she has taught succeed in this way. Raymer seeks to make a connection with her students to support them in the most beneficial way for their academics, but also their home lives. She seeks to curate an environment dedicated to her students’ success.

“For a lot of our students, it’s so prevalent that they come from not what I would consider the standard home,” Raymer said. “For our students, the parents are working two, or three jobs. They’re the caregivers for younger, younger siblings, or they are the younger siblings that have been watched for years and giving them that stability at school is really important. It’s a place where they don’t ever have to worry about being accepted or being valued. Kids come craving that stability and they push and push and push, you just have to be very consistent. And then once you’ve got that relationship and those standards and that routine built, then you can move on because you can’t teach them anything if they’re not ready.”

The Frontier School District Teacher of the Year award is based on nominations, and voting in front of the student body. The award is set in place to honor all staff and teachers in the district, and allow those who stand out to be appreciated for all that they do for the students, as well as, the district itself.

The award process begins when the staff, and student body pick someone from the school that has done an exemplary job, and then move on to a district-wide vote from all of the schools combined.

For Raymer, this award was unexpected and is an award she holds close to her heart.

“I’m used to being the worker bee in the back that never gets any recognition,” Raymer said. “It was very overwhelming to get nominated. Because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I never expected to, you know because I just do my job, I help my fellow teachers and I don’t need the extra if that makes sense.”

The award is allowing Raymer to get well-deserved recognition for the strong connections she has made with students and the staff at FSI.