Jessica Ciokan posing with her Yay of the Day swag bag.

YAY JESSICA CIOKAN! Jessica Ciokan, innovative learning coach at Douglas S. Freeman High School, is one of today’s “Yay of the Day” honorees. Superintendent Amy Cashwell honored her recently at DSF.

YAYWORTHY— She had an amazing eight nominations.

Nominator Carter Reilly said: “She is selfless, extremely diligent and wicked intelligent. Jessica is an incredible innovative learning coach who is a master problem-solver and would give the shirt off her back to help someone. She completes daunting tasks with zero expectation of praise, and everyone at Freeman admires and adores her. She made house calls during the pandemic to help teachers set up their technology spaces and hand-delivered computer monitors.”

Katie Thayer said: “She has been our rock during virtual learning. She got approval from my principal for a subscription to an online tool that I had used previously, without me asking — and my students love it! She has given countless hours of training for teachers. She has worked tirelessly to organize resources for virtual learning for teachers in a way that is easy, straightforward and concise, without overloading us. In other words, I wouldn’t be nearly as successful at virtual teaching without her help and support.”

Beverley Steele said: “Without her hard work, dedication and ingenuity, Freeman would have had a very difficult time making the transition to virtual learning. She is always ready and willing to take on new challenges and does so with humility and patience. Throughout this period, she has risen to meet all technological and instructional challenges as they have arisen and continues to push forward to find more innovative and effective ways to deliver virtual instruction. She is now on the forefront at school and county level, leading professional learning to prepare teachers for parallel hybrid teaching. Jessica is the greatest! She is currently partnering with Drew Baker [education specialist for staff development], leading the professional learning charge to get teachers prepared for success with the new parallel hybrid model.”

Sarah-Henning Snellings said: “There is absolutely no one in Henrico County who is working harder to ensure successful learning for our teachers, our students and administration. There are too many instances to name them all, but one moment that stands out is before the start of school this year: she spent her Saturday driving to our houses to deliver anything — cords, learning tools, etc. — that we might need to implement virtual learning to the best of our abilities. I would not have been able to facilitate online learning successfully without her willingness to help and her support. There is no question of this.”

Angela Rhodes said: “She is a ROCK STAR! She is the literal backbone of our school and is so helpful and kind and PATIENT! It is a luxury to have her in our building!”

Wiley Hunnicutt said: “Without her, we would be lost. One example: She is always there, helping get monitors or problem-solving Schoology assessments or anything she is asked.”

Chris Spencer said: “She is always there to help anyone who needs help. She walked me through how to best use Microsoft Teams and all of the other programs I’ve needed to use for online teaching.”

Lauren Lightfoot Clare said: “She is able to explain anything technological to each of our staff members, in a way that we understand. She is always ready to help when there is a question or a ‘crisis.’ She taught our faculty about parallel hybrid learning and how we can implement it in our classes. Everything that Jessica does has a positive impact on our students, faculty and the Freeman community.”

Thank you for all you do to make a positive difference and move HCPS forward!