Howell named MVT

Cactus Valley’s Jennetta Howell honored as Most Valuable Teacher by Denver Broncos
Jennetta Howell
December 22, 2020

When Cactus Valley Elementary music teacher Jennetta Howell opened up her email from the Denver Broncos, just before school let out for break, she wasn’t expecting much.

She thought it was an acknowledgement of her submission of a video for fan appreciation week. Instead it was notice that she had been selected as an MVT - Most Valuable Teacher - through the Denver Broncos and Delta Dental of Colorado Touchdowns for Teachers program.

“It’s a big deal,” said Howell, who is new to Cactus Valley Elementary, but not new to teaching.  “I had been sitting in my office with our kindergarten class that had been transitioned to online learning. It’s hard to keep students engaged in music virtually. When I opened my email, I wanted to cry.”
“There are so many teachers that have been in the District forever and are so deserving of this acknowledgement,” she added.  “It just came at the right moment. It felt amazing.”

The Touchdowns for Teachers program honorees are chosen based upon nomination letters submitted through the website. Honorees are selected based on the amount of involvement in the school and/or community (ex: volunteering, coaching, after school programs, etc.), the degree of positive impact on the school and/or community, demonstration of a strong commitment to education in the school and/or community and making extraordinary efforts to educate, inspire and encourage their students.

Howell’s credentials checks all of those boxes.

As a child growing up in the Roaring Fork valley, Howell grew up in the Defiance Community players. She left the valley for New York and California to pursue her dream of becoming a professional singer and actor.

“That was one of the best moments of my life to move from tiny Glenwood Springs to New York City when I was 17,” said Howell. 

After receiving her professional education at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy she spent nine months touring the world as a singer/dancer on the Princess Cruise lines, making her way to off-Broadway and spending time in California in the entertainment industry.

Even while making a name for herself in as an entertainer, she had one foot in the world of education, returning in the summers to work at summer theater camps, honing her teaching skills at the Glendale Center Theater in L.A. and returning to the valley to teach theater through Jennetta Howell Theatricals, directing/choreographing musical and dramatic performances for Coal Ridge High School, substitute teaching in the Roaring Fork School District and now, teaching music at Cactus Valley.

“I tell my students, you should find a job that you love because I got to travel the world to sing and dance and get paid to do it.  I got to do a lot of really cool and amazing things,” said Howell, and now, she is sharing her passion with her CVE students. “I left a job and I didn’t want to work in an environment that wasn’t a team. I wanted to do my passion. I wanted to be creative. To be a part of this family and a part of CVE is so amazing.”

Howell was nominated by Jacquie Johnston, her mother and biggest cheerleader.

“She has always been a teacher, but not in the formal educational source of the word. Her energy is unbelievable. She’s a pied piper,” said Johnston of her daughter’s passion.

In her nominating letter, Johnston wrote that Howell walked the walk in order to be the teacher she is today. 
“There are teachers all over the world that find their way to teaching in a nonconventional way. Thank goodness that avenue is available for people,” said Johnston. “She’s always on the lookout for that student that doesn’t fit anywhere. I’m really proud of her.  She’s working very hard to give her students a grounded musical education in the environment today.”

Most Valuable Teacher honorees will be presented with a commemorative award and Touchdowns for Teachers Swag Bag. All nominees will receive a certificate of recognition from the Denver Broncos and Delta Dental of Colorado.
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