ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – An elementary school teacher was surprised with an award Friday for her work in Southwest Allen County Schools.

Jennifer Peeper, who currently teaches fourth graders at Covington Elementary School, was given the Teacher of the Year award.

A release from the district said Peeper started teaching at SACS in 2013 after teaching in Maracaibo, Venezuela and Cape Town, South Africa.

A few years into working in the district, Peeper realized many students were coming to school with limited exposure to the community, according to the release. She worked with Haverhill Elementary to organize optional trips around the city on Saturdays called “2nd Grade meets Fort Wayne”, which brought students and their families to apple orchards, pumpkin fields, downtown markets, the zoo, and the ice-skating rink.

Peeper also organized Spanish lessons for her class by partnering with Homestead High School seniors taking Spanish courses to teach the second graders basic Spanish words and phrases.

If want my students to be invested in what I’m teaching, I also need to show that I am invested in the things that interest them. This year I organized a new event at Covington called the Imagination Fair – encouraging students to share something that makes them excited, without the traditional restrictions from a science fair. Watching 50 students dance, sing, and invent without limits is something I look forward to continuing to grow next year.”

Jennifer Peeper, SACS Teacher of the Year

Peeper will also be nominated for the 2024 Indiana Teacher of the Year.