West Allis teacher will be honored as Distinguished Educator

Jordan Pollard, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School in West Allis, Wisconsin, will be honored as Ripon College’s Distinguished Educator for 2022 at Commencement May 15. He was nominated for the award by Lindsay Wigand ’22.

Pollard is from West Allis originally and received his degree in elementary education with a minor in math from Carroll University in Waukesha. He says he chose to work with elementary school students because he had very positive experiences in school with influential teachers when he was that age.

Franklin Elementary is based on project-based learning, which focuses gaining knowledge by actively exploring real-world challenges and problems beyond the classroom. A recent example is where students learned math skills and through sustained inquiry, applied them in a cooking project. Their math skills were used in creating invitations and planning, cooking and serving a three-course meal.

“This gives them real purpose behind their learning,” Pollard says. “It gives them an over-arching reason about why it’s important to learn those skills.”

In addition to classroom teaching, Pollard also has been on the theatre directing staff for the West Allis School District since 2010 and a director since 2016, working with students at the intermediate and high school levels as well as the elementary school level.

He says he really enjoys building relationships with students and their families, having an impact on them and making sure they have the most positive school experiences that they can.

“Kids are our future,” he says. “Aside from their families, teachers are the people who get to impact children the most.”

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