Puyallup High School teacher Jamie Mooring had no idea that a group of her leadership students were hiding behind a stage curtain at a May 1 staff meeting.
They were there to surprise her with an announcement that she’d been inducted into the Jostens Renaissance Education Hall of Fame, which recognizes educators making differences in their schools and schools across the country. About one or two educators are inducted every year; Mooring is the first from the Pacific Northwest.
When the curtains finally opened and Mooring saw her students, she was shocked.
“I didn’t know that they even nominated me,” she said.
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Mooring was nominated by former student Kelty Pierce, who graduated from Puyallup High last year and now attends the University of Washington. Three years ago, Pierce enrolled in Mooring’s leadership class. Over the years, Mooring and her class shaped Pierce as both a leader and student, and Pierce received the Jostens Renaissance Student Scholarship last year.
“I’ve seen the impact (Mooring)’s had on the Puyallup community,” Pierce said. “She works hard everyday to make sure every student who walks through these halls are recognized. So I wanted to celebrate that.”
I’ve seen the impact (Mooring)’s had on the Puyallup community. She works hard everyday to make sure every student who walks through these halls are recognized. So I wanted to celebrate that.
Kelty Pierce, Puyallup High School alumna
Jostens Renaissance Education is part of Jostens, a company that sells graduation caps, gowns and other accessories to high schools. Jostens Renaissance focuses on building the characters of students, growing connections between students, teachers and parents, and creating a culture of celebration for achievements.
Three months ago, Pierce sent out emails to parents, students and administration members, asking for letters of nomination for Mooring and sent them to Jostens Renaissance. After that, it was a waiting game.
On April 26, Pierce got a call while at a concert. She found out that Mooring had been selected, and immediately began to cry. Pierce managed to keep the news a secret from Mooring until the surprise staff meeting, where her leadership students and Jostens representatives could surprise her.
“You don’t know how much you have impacted schools across the country,” Jostens regional representative Rick Morton told Mooring. “You lit a fire not only for your school, but (for schools) across the state and even nationally.”
You don’t know how much you have impacted schools across the country You lit a fire not only for your school, but (schools) across the state and even nationally.
Rick Morton, Jostens regional representative
The Hall of Fame award is given to educators that have a vision for the success of students beyond their own school — believing that kids can do anything, Morton said.
Mooring has worked at Puyallup High School for 14 years. While at a Jostens conference in 2013, she developed a seven-year plan to bring Jostens Renaissance core values to Puyallup. She wrote that plan out on a napkin.
“The napkin is framed in my room,” Mooring said.
In 2015, Mooring brought the Association of Washington Student Leaders conference to Puyallup High, which Mooring used as an opportunity to bring Jostens Renaissance core values to other schools in Washington state.
“Jostens Renaissance is about being as inclusive as possible,” she said. “We’re working to make Puyallup feel like a home for everybody.”
Jostens Renaissance is about being as inclusive as possible. We’re working to make Puyallup feel like a home for everybody.
Jamie Mooring, leadership teacher at Puyallup High School
Now, as a Hall of Fame inductee, Mooring will have more of a voice for Jostens Renaissance, and is working to bring its core values to other Puyallup schools.
“She has become a part of a unique core group,” Morton said. “Her passion and help and love for kids has blown me away.”
“This has been a really hard secret to keep,” Pierce said. “I wanted everyone to see, on a national scale, what (Mooring) does day in and day out. I can’t think of anyone more deserving.”