Obama honors Connecticut woman as Teacher of the Year

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is honoring as National Teacher of the Year a Connecticut woman who has demonstrated through her own life that students can overcome obstacles.

Obama says high school teacher Jahana Hayes’ enthusiasm makes her a natural talent in the classroom.

The 44-year-old history teacher grew up in a Waterbury housing project and became a mother while in high school. She says the influence of her own teachers taught her that a school’s job sometimes overlaps with the job of parents. She says she wants her students to know there are no dead ends.

Obama says Hayes is more than a teacher; she’s also a counselor, confidante and mentor to high school students in Waterbury.

Hayes teaches at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury.

Video by PBS NewsHour