Barbara Jeweler, director of James Hubert Blake High School's award-winning TV Production Program, internship coordinator, and instructor for media arts, was named Montgomery County Teacher of the Year at the Champions for Children Awards Gala held at the Bethesda Marriott on May 7.
This was the first time the Teacher of the Year was announced at the annual gala, and the first time that four finalists were selected for the prestigious award. The three other finalists are Joe Ballmann, seventh grade English teacher at Robert Frost Middle School; Christopher Kenworthey, psychology and government teacher at Winston Churchill High School; and Virginia Knopf, first and second grade Reading Recovery teacher at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School.
Jeweler will compete with 23 other teachers for the title of Maryland Teacher of the Year, who will then advance to the national competition. She also becomes part of a state network of exemplary educators working with the Maryland State Department of Education on policy and program development.
Jeweler began her teaching career at Wheaton High School in 1970 following her graduation from the University of Maryland. (She later received her master’s in speech and dramatic art, media communications, from the University of Maryland in 1978.) At Wheaton, she taught speech and drama. Jeweler moved to Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) now-closed Peary High School in 1977, where she taught drama, speech, and media production and was forensics coach until 1981.
She left the school system in 1982 to begin Barbara Jeweler Communications - creating video training (teaching) materials and distance learning presentations for government and industry, which she continues today - but returned in 1999 to Neelsville Middle School, where she taught for a year before moving to Blake High School.
Students in Jeweler's television production program have received national awards from professional video competitions such as the Telly, Videographer and Communicator Awards, and from MCPS media competitions. As an adjunct to her teaching, Jeweler also serves as executive producer of Eubie TV, the student-managed closed-circuit station that broadcasts daily to the school community. In addition, she provides video services for other MCPS schools and service groups. Among many other accomplishments, she sponsored the Black Heritage Stamp Project - honored by the U.S. Postmaster General - creating a video highlighting the U.S. Postal Service Black Heritage Stamp series on notable African Americans.
In the area of staff development leadership, she serves as a consultant to Blake teachers in developing video projects and creating student internships; works with digital arts teachers to create pilot curriculum for New Media arts; develops Media Arts curriculum; and serves as a member of the Signature Committee.
Jeweler says that through her project-based curriculum, she teaches a process for successful work. "I believe students of any level should be able to grasp the essence of a process if it can be broken down into clear, sequential steps - and that excellence is always an attainable goal," she says. "I leave a legacy to the future by creating competent, educated members of the next generation. . . .I like to see students surprise themselves with what they can do; their discovery is my job satisfaction."