Highland Park Middle School math teacher Jean Streepey started a YouTube channel around 2010 to help one ill student keep up with lessons.
The channel has since grown to 192 subscribers and become one of Streepey’s favorite projects.
Such creative approaches and hands-on projects helped her get named a Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching awardee.
Streepey is one of up to 108 teachers selected nationally for the award in 2019 and one of only four in the state.
The award is the nation’s highest honor for K-12 science, technology, engineering, math, and/or computer science teaching. Recipients receive a certificate signed by the president, a trip to Washington D.C., and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
“It was totally humbling to (visit) Washington,” Streepey said.
Streepey has been an educator for 13 years and started at McCulloch Intermediate School before joining Highland Park Middle School.
“I always wanted to be a math teacher,” Streepey said. “I think that’s the part I like best… finding out what makes (individual students) understand (math).”
She said the experience of having both her daughters go through HPISD, where she first volunteered at Armstrong Elementary, helped inspire her to go into teaching.
“I’m thankful we have schools here that create a sense of community,” she said. “I think I’ve learned something from everyone in this building.”
Highland Park Middle School Principal Jeremy Gilbert praised her work and leadership with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) instruction.
“She works to improve her program… she’s a positive influence on her colleagues,” Gilbert said. “Because (STEAM) is causing some teachers to think differently, some might shy away from it. It’s classic Jean that she would jump headfirst into it.”
While Streepey embraces technology with her YouTube channel and Google classroom, she says nothing can replace face-to-face instruction.
“You can’t replace hands-on activities,” she said. “It’s about using technology to support students.”
She’s also served as a team lead and a critical friend for the U.S. Department of Education’s Teach to Lead Summits on innovation and STEAM. In 2016, Streepey was the secondary teacher of the year for Texas Region 10, which represents 80 school districts and over 50,000 teachers in the Dallas area. She also served as a project manager for her district’s STEAM design team.