Lincoln Elementary School
USD 475, Geary County
For Jodi Testa, teaching permeates all aspects of her life.
“I am a teacher, a future administrator, a parent, a community member and a civic leader,” Testa said. “Therefore I educate citizens throughout most of the day regardless of the role I am fulfilling.”
In her third-grade classroom, Testa encourages her students to develop the classroom rules, organizes weekly class meetings in which students solve problems they perceive in the classroom and in their school and finds ways to work with each individual student and get to know them.
Wrote one set of parents: “Reading and science are blended into a cooking event; math becomes an art project; social studies, a field trip.”
Their daughter recalled coming into Testa’s first-grade classroom developmentally behind her classmates. By second grade, she was going to enrichment with gifted students and eventually was placed in the gifted program.
“Mrs. Testa was the turning point in my education, and I credit her with bringing me from the bottom of my class to the top,” wrote the young woman now in college.
One former student recalled his dread of the school’s Halloween celebration, which allowed students to wear costumes at the end of the day. This student’s family chooses not to celebrate Halloween.
“Mrs. Testa explained to my classmates why I did not have a costume and then allowed me to share what my family and church does during the fall. It was fun and the students learned why I was different but did not treat me different. Mrs. Testa has a way to make all of her students feel special, no matter the circumstances.”
A graduate of LeRoy High School, Testa was named a 2011 Kansas Regional Teacher of the Year. She earned an associate’s degree from Cowley County Community College, her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kansas Newman College, completed the dual language program at Kansas State University and is working toward her master’s degree in education leadership at Kansas State.