Connecticut history teacher named US Teacher of the Year

A Connecticut high school history teacher chosen as the National Teacher of the Year says she was surrounded by poverty, drugs and violence as a child but imagined other possibilities for her life with help from educators.

Jahana Hayes teaches at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury.

The honor by the Council of Chief State School Officers was announced Thursday. Hayes will be recognized by President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on Tuesday.

The 44-year-old Hayes grew up in a Waterbury housing project and became a teenage mother while still in high school. She says the influence of her own teachers taught her that a school’s job sometimes overlaps with the job of parents, and she wants her students to know there are no dead ends.

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