Jim Jordan to Receive Teacher Inspiration Award
Written by Sarah Scott
Congratulations to Jim Jordan! The Journalism Education Association (JEA) named him as the recipient of its 2021 Linda S. Puntney Teacher Inspiration Award. He sat down for an interview with Walsworth Yearbooks shortly after learning about it.
“I had absolutely no idea this was coming,” Jordan shared. He may not have known it was coming, but it’s no surprise to see this honor bestowed on someone who thrives by inspiring others.
“My passion is to help teachers and students reach their full potential, as yearbook kids, as journalists, and their teachers as advisers. I want them to feel the satisfaction of not just creating a yearbook, but in finding their talents and in developing the talents that they know they already had,” he shared, adding that he hopes to help teachers stay in the profession and find the same joy he did working as an educator for so many years.
Jordan served as the Decamhian yearbook adviser at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California, for 35 years. After retiring, he came to work at Walsworth Yearbooks as a Special Consultant. Jordan is no stranger to awards – his yearbook staffs were frequent award winners, he was named the 1996 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and in 2019, JEA honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
JEA 2021 Adviser of the Year Mitch Ziegler, of Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach, California, nominated Jordan for the Teacher Inspiration Award. They met years ago doing a yearbook workshop in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In the nomination letter for Jordan, Ziegler wrote, “One of his greatest qualities is his positivity,” adding that Jordan’s heart is key to his ability to inspire, “because love is what Jim gives to his students and peers, and love is what we return.”
Alyssa Boehringer, the adviser at McKinney High School in McKinney, Texas, also submitted a letter to the selection committee. She wrote, “When Walsworth brought Jim to McKinney for the first time to work with my 2018 staff, we were transformed.” She explained how he asked her editors to explain each decision that went into the yearbook, and by doing so “he forced my staff to re-examine all their choices through the lens of their theme.”
It’s clear to those who know him that Jordan is a teacher at heart.
“To get recognized as a teacher, not just an adviser or anything else is the ultimate validation of my career,” he said.
In his work as a Special Consultant for Walsworth Yearbooks, Jordan continues to find new ways to inspire. He heads the Adviser Mentor Program, regularly meets with yearbook staffs around the country, and hosts the Yearbook Chat with Jim podcast.
“I still get to teach. I still get to work with kids and I still get to encourage advisers,” he said.
And even though this award recognizes Jordan, he closed out our interview with a focus on other people, explaining that he wants to champion the cause of yearbook advisers, make them feel great about what they’re doing, and give them the recognition they deserve.
“I want them to feel valued and appreciated in everything they do.”