Jennings: 'Every student has a different story'


Nancy Jennings


By Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Nancy Jennings was dedicated to helping her students excel at Sheep-Harney Elementary School for the last 36 years. Jennings retired from her position as a Pre-K teacher in December.

“I just loved working with the children,” said Jennings.

Jennings has a longtime association with the school. She attended Sheep-Harney as a student and her two daughters also attended the school. Jennings said her own mother attended Sheep-Harney as a student when Hattie Harney, who is one of the school’s namesakes, was employed as principal of the school.

“I am really blessed I went there,” said Jennings.

Jennings said she retired in December to help take care of her mother. Jennings said the school gave her a “surprise farewell” on Dec. 18 which her husband and daughters attended, and the Pre-K team of teachers gave her a surprise dinner on Dec. 19 at a restaurant.

Jennings began her teaching career as a teacher assistant at the school in 1980. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Elizabeth City State University. She credits her husband, Zenas, for being “very encouraging” when she went back to school.

Jennings passed down her love of teaching to her two daughters. Avery Jennings is a 6th grade math teacher at Elizabeth City Middle School and Brittany Jennings is a math teacher at J.P. Knapp Early College High School in Currituck. While they followed her footsteps toward careers in education, Jennings said they gained their passion for math from their father.

Jennings said she has witnessed many changes in education over the years. The integration of technology and iPads in literacy and math was incorporated into her Pre-K lessons.

“I think it gives them a head start,” said Jennings.

Pre-K is beneficial to students to help with socialization and preparation for kindergarten, according to Jennings.

Jennings said she enjoyed introducing her young students to new concepts and watching them learn.

“Each student has a different story to tell,” said Jennings.

After close to four decades of teaching, Jennings said she has taught the children of her former students. It brings Jennings joy when she is able to interact with her former students and see their accomplishments as adults.

Jennings is a Sunday school teacher for toddlers at Corinth Baptist Church. Her retirement plans include reading books and learning how to crochet.

Jennings said one of the best aspects of teaching was watching her students grow and bloom. Jennings said she misses her students and their parents and working with the team of teachers at Sheep-Harney Elementary School.