Kolenich, Gaines, Jones take MCS district’s top honors

MADISON –Kristin Kolenich, Jessye Gaines and David Jones received topmost, district-level awards for teacher and staffer for Madison City Schools.

MCS leaders announced their selection at Institute Day in July. The three honorees each received a $5,000 check for their dedicated work with Madison children and youth.

Kolenich, a reading specialist at Heritage Elementary School, was named MCS District Elementary Teacher of the Year. Describing her teaching philosophy, Kolenich believes “relationships are key. It is so important to get to know a student’s heart, their passions and foster that connection.”

“Once you have established a positive relationship, you can find ways to tap into how they learn,” Kolenich said.

Kolenich earned a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in 2005 and a master’s degree in instructional leadership in 2018 from Samford University. Her husband Daniel works for the Department of Defense. They have two children – 11-year-old Aubrey and 9-year-old Ben.

Gaines, an engineering teacher at Bob Jones High School, is the MCS District Secondary Teacher of the Year. “My teaching philosophy is relevance, application and service. If we can communicate to students the ‘why’ behind the content, (let them) apply content outside the classroom, and remind our students that working hard to make the world a better place is our job as global citizens, students will be inspired to care about the content,” Gaines said.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Auburn University. Jessye’s husband, Luke Gaines, works as an engineer for Shape Fidelity Inc. They are parents of two daughters — Kay, 7, and Glenne, 5.

Also from Heritage elementary, Jones was named MCS District Staff Member of the Year for 2020. Jones is a CNP worker in Heritage’s cafeteria. Previously, Jones owned his own restaurant, Just Divine Catering, now his catering business.

Jones served eight years in the U.S. Navy as Mess Specialist, 3rd Class, stationed four years in Pensacola, Fla. on the USS Lexington-16. He also served two years in Rota, Spain and two years in the U.S. Reserves.

“I think life is about serving others. You have to get involved to make a difference — if you want others to help you,” Jones said.

In dealing with older students, Jones sees “our teenagers as our future. If we teach well and let them lead the way, they become our leaders of tomorrow. Madison City Schools has some of the brightest students of today.”

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