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 Coach 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 and is currently pursuing a Masters in Educational Leadership from Doane University.

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.


"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