by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentor Committee co-chair

Congratulations to the three JEA mentees who have been named as JEA Rising Stars for 2012 – Jody Evans, Evelyn Lauer and Jessica Young. What a great way for the JEA Mentoring Program to enter the New Year.

The Rising Star program was established to recognize “teachers with one to five of journalism teaching and/or advising experience who demonstrate a commitment to journalism education and show promise as up-and-coming advisers.”

Jody Evans

Jody Evans, Hillcrest High School, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Why do you enjoy being a media adviser?
I enjoy being a media adviser because I get to help students tell their stories in their words through their eyes. It is making history and touching the future at the same time.

How has your JEA mentor (Marie Parsons) helped you?
Marie was my greatest cheerleader. When I thought I was at a dead end with my program, she encouraged me to keep at it. She pointed out that I was breaking ground and blazing a new trail with my program. She believed in me when I often doubted what I was doing.

From Marie Parsons, Jody’s mentor: What is special about Jody?
I came away from meetings with Jody, buoyed by her enthusiasm and energy. She is not only a teacher of English, creative writing and broadcast.  She also is a communication professional who continues to write from a Christian perspective for a local family magazine. She has it all together professionally and personally.


Evelyn Lauer and her students presented "Top 10 things to know about going online" at the JEA/NSPA convention in Minneapolis. Photo by Randy Swikle

Evelyn Lauer, Niles West High School, Skokie, Ill.

Why do you enjoy being a media adviser?
My greatest enjoyment in advising comes from my ability to work with students as colleagues. In a journalism/news production classroom, I see us all as equals, working together to produce a quality news medium. It’s not about grades and learning targets and tests; it’s about working together to accomplish goals. I love the energy the students give off, working hard to update the website daily. I also love preparing students for the new world of journalism, mass media, and social media by providing them with a platform to practice 21st Century skills.

How has your JEA mentor (Randy Swikle) helped you?
Randy has been such a great resource — to talk to, to seek advice from, to express concerns. I am grateful for the JEA mentoring program for given me guidance thus far during my first two years as an adviser. It is reassuring to know that Randy is always just a phone call or email away.

From Randy Swikle, Evelyn’s mentor: What is special about Evelyn?
Evelyn is an exemplar in teaching students competence and ethics. She empowers students in a learning and performing environment that balances freedom and structure. In their first year of operating an online publication at Niles West High School, Evelyn’s students won two top prizes in scholastic journalism: NSPA’s Pacemaker and JEA’s Best of Show. What a testament to her innovation, inspiration and guidance!


Jessica Young (on left) and Konnie Krislock (on right) with Jessica's staff at the Newspaper2 Workshop.

Jessica Young, Orange Glen High School, Escondido, Calif.

Why do you enjoy being a media adviser?
I have the best job on campus–there is no doubt in my mind. I get to spend my days working with creative kids, who are motivated, passionate, dedicated and hard working. I have the privilege of introducing them to an incredibly exciting field and for many of them, helping them uncover talents they didn’t know that they had.

How has your JEA mentor (Konnie Krislock) helped you?
Konnie continually demonstrates to me what it means to be an effective teacher, as she guides me through my own challenges and coaches my staff and I through our struggles and celebrates our successes. She pushes me, and my students, because she knows what we are capable of–even when we aren’t aware of it ourselves.

From Konnie Krislock, Jessica’s mentor: What is special about Jessica?
Jessica Young teaches at a high school where her principal, Tom Allison, is a strong support person for the journalism program. That is the first requirement for a great program, in my opinion. Her kids are my kids; they surround me at national conventions (yes, she takes as many as she can afford to national conventions) to tell me all about it! Everything Jessica does is relevant, informative and positive. She is building a program at a minority high school that is a model for others.

In creating the JEA Mentoring Program, we followed best practices from the New Teacher Center, a leader in new teacher induction. A goal of the New Teacher Center and of our program is to not just to help new teachers survive their first years but to become educational leaders.