Sydney Jensen believes in growing students academically, socially, and emotionally. Jensen, the 2019 Nebraska Teacher of the Year, is a ninth-grade English teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska. She believes that teaching is a passion built out of curiosity, discovery, and the desire to never stop learning, which is why she is constantly in pursuit of improving her craft through observing other teachers and practicing authentic self-reflection. She achieves this by recording herself teaching on a regular basis and using this growth to be a change agent in her building. Jensen has embraced cooperative learning in her classroom and enjoys sharing the strategies that she finds effective with colleagues in her building and throughout her school district. In addition to her classroom experience, she is an Instructional Coordinator and certified Trainer of Trainers for the Classroom Instruction that Works model.

These opportunities have helped her grow in her understanding of formative assessment and student engagement. When you enter Jensen’s classroom, it is typically not a quiet environment. Students are talking about their understanding, asking questions, and engaging in collaborative project-based learning. She builds students’ capacity to engage with their peers through teaching academic discourse and gratitude with intentionality. Students leave Jensen’s classroom better equipped to live, work, and advocate for themselves in a diverse society.

Jensen holds a Bachelors in English Education from the University of Georgia (2013) and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Doane University (2020).

Ms. Jensen continues to teach ninth grade English at Lincoln High School. Additionally, she travels to speak to current and future educators, administrators, and educational policymakers. Her goal is to inspire and facilitate deep reflection in those she serves.


"Sydney’s combination of positivity and authenticity is invigorating. Her ability to vulnerably share her experiences results in inspiring educators while giving them practical strategies to focus on making themselves better than they were yesterday. Sydney is a captivating speaker, as she connects the everyday challenges in the classroom with a strength-based approach on what educators can do to truly support each and every student." -- Janice Eldridge, BARR Center

"I have invited Sydney Jenson to speak to multiple student candidate and graduate teacher groups at my institution about supporting students experiencing trauma. I am always impressed with her work! She is a dynamic speaker and focuses on pragmatic and relevant solutions to supporting students. Her speaking style is dynamic, and she shares her own experiences supporting middle and high school students to illustrate the content she is sharing. She is able to weave her personal experiences with complex and emotionally hard subjects in a way that resonates with her audiences. She is rated highly by my classes who often request that I invite her to return to share her insights." -- Donna Wake, University of Central Arkansas

"As the Director of the Secondary Education program at Doane University, my goal continues to be to find inspirational speakers to work closely with our pre-service teacher candidates. Sydney Jensen rises to the top of my list for most powerful classroom speaker. She brings a strong combination of both inspiration, knowledge and skills that student teachers can immediately take back to their classrooms. I'm fortunate that I get to work with pre-service teachers over several years, and the speaker that they continually refer back to is Sydney Jensen. Her dedication to her classroom, her school and her individual students is incredibly evident in her presentations. I've asked Sydney to speak many times over the past few years and she is always enthusiastic and quick in her response back to me. She clearly feels a sense of obligation to give back to the profession and I cannot recommend Sydney enough for current and future teachers." -- Emily Griesh, Doane University

"A great keynote and breakout sessions! We received a lot of great feedback throughout the afternoon from our teachers and staff. Our last keynote speaker was a bust, so we really needed to redeem ourselves and bring someone good in for our professional development day. Sydney was exactly that person." -- Marshall Public Schools