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Posted May 1, 2014

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Mid-School Teacher Channels Indiana Jones in the Classroom

Daniel Kennerly, the latest Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month, leads his students on adventures through reading, writing and storytelling.

Daniel Kennerly may not be Indiana Jones, but he is an adventurer in the classroom, where he loves sharing tales of ancient history with sixth graders at Hoover Middle School.

"I jokingly say this is the closest I can be to Indiana Jones without having to dodge boulders," said Kennerly, the latest Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month. "The curriculum I cover is diverse; inevitably; we reach a topic that piques each individual student’s interests. I believe watching a passing interest grow to passion for each student is the greatest reward."

Kennerly taught a year at John Baker Elementary, then followed his students to Hoover where he's been teaching for the past six years. "I genuinely enjoy seeing my students and colleagues each day," he said. "I try to maintain a positive rapport with each one."

Kennerly said one reason he became a teacher is because he struggled with learning as a child. "In middle school, I had a teacher tell my parents I probably would not make it past high school. I felt this to be a personal challenge. I worked hard to graduate high school, and I set my sights beyond high school. Today I have two college degrees, one of which is a graduate degree. As a regular education teacher, I see myself in students that come into my class struggling. Guiding these students to success gets me through the day."

Kennerly said being named Teacher of the Month was an unexpected honor.

"I have never thought of myself as extraordinary. The secret to greatness is to surround oneself with greatness. I am a reflection of the students I teach; the colleagues I train. I never place limitations on the capabilities of my students. Students should be guided to find their own greatness. With my staff, I train and delegate responsibilities.  Only through the teamwork of others do I stand strong."

Pepsi, in partnership with the APS Education Foundation, is recognizing APS teachers for their outstanding contribution to the classroom, school and community.  The Foundation randomly selects one APS school each month, and that school’s principal or staff chooses a teacher to be honored. The teacher receives a $100 check from Pepsi and acknowledgement on the APS website, Facebook page and electronic billboards at Cibola, Del Norte and Eldorado high schools and Wilson Stadium.

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