Scout Send Off: Mrs. Jennifer Snell

Scout Send Off: Mrs. Jennifer Snell

Saige Joseph, Editor-in-Chief

Each afternoon, she would come home from school, line up her Barbies, and teach them everything she learned that day. At only five years old, Mrs. Jennifer Snell felt a calling to share knowledge with others. 

As she got older, her love turned into a 30+year career as a math teacher. She will retire at the end of this school year. 

“I just had this feeling, desire, this calling to explain the stuff I was learning and to be able to be the person who could explain it,” Snell said. 

Snell goes above and beyond just teaching to truly take the time to experience all aspects of teaching with staff and students.

“She has an experience of both the history of the department, a history of how the classes have been taught, and an institutional memory that I truly appreciate,” said Mr. Jeffrey Summy, Instructional Director for the Math department.

In 2001, Mrs. Snell came to LFHS, after spending a year at Stevenson, and 10 years at Woodlands Academy. 

Teaching both AAA and Geometry, Snell works with both freshmen and sophomores as they progress throughout the year. 

“How freshmen are in August and how they are in May, they’ve grown tremendously in those months of instruction and learning,” Snell said. “I feel like it’s so incredibly wonderful to be a part of watching that transformation slowly throughout the year. The same thing is true for every class.”

Snell has the chance to see her students improve not only throughout the year but also in their first two years of high school. 

“It’s such an incredible opportunity for me to be part of that transformation and that learning environment so it’s exciting to watch students grow and change,” she said.

I just had this feeling, desire, this calling to explain the stuff I was learning and to be able to be the person who could explain it.”

— Mrs. Jennifer Snell

Senior Lizzie Hardy had Snell two years in a row, which allowed for a chance to build a stronger connection.

“She would always ask me how I was doing or what was going on in my other classes, making the period feel more than just a math class,” Hardy said. 

A teacher that cares about more than just the class curriculum can impact students in a variety of ways. Snell wants to “savor and enjoy every single minute” with her students in her last year. 

“I think what made the two years that I had Mrs. Snell is she was the first math teacher who I felt knew how to teach students in a certain way where not only was math easy to understand, it was engaging,” Hardy said. 

Snell has seen many students walk into her class with so much hatred for Math. But her goal is to help students develop their abilities beyond just the idea of a math class. 

“To have them walk out of here not feeling that way anymore and feeling like they really learned this stuff and confident in their abilities, to me that’s a really big deal. I love that,” Snell said.

Junior Rachel Silvers, who had Mrs. Snell for AAA, said Mrs. Snell “kept pushing me and helping me understand.”

Beyond her teaching skills, Snell’s humor has left an impact on those around her. 

“She makes me laugh. She definitely knows how to be a teammate and make people laugh and be a part of a team,” Summy said.

One way Snell builds relationships with her students is through traditions she uses in hopes it can make them smile. 

“I post the birthday calendar and every kid who has a birthday gets a special acknowledgement that day in class and they get a sticker and if they want us to sing we’ll sing but most of the time they’re like ‘please don’t sing’,” Snell said. 

After teaching at Lake Forest for 21 years, Snell has developed a routine that she follows every day. Since she’s grown so accustomed to it, retiring will bring a big shift to her life. 

“I actually am very routine driven so I will miss the routine of school,” Snell said. “I’m a nerd and even in the summertime by the time I get down to the end of July I’m already looking forward to school starting because I’m a school nerd.” 

Surrounded by students in a classroom on a daily basis, teachers get to know the students beyond just the surface. 

“All of that energy is just super exciting and I’m going to miss being around the kids,” Snell said. 

After working for many years, Snell has had the opportunity to help mentor other teachers along the way. 

“I’ve mentored several and I feel like mentoring is another way for me to share my enthusiasm and passion for the job,” Snell said. 

Her dedication and constant drive for work does not go unnoticed by others.

“Anytime I come into a conversation knowing that it could be a big ask, I don’t ever have concerns about how she is going to feel about that because I know that she is willing to do the work,” Summy said. 

As a teacher, it is her job to make sure that not only the students make the most of the experience but also those that she is mentoring along the way. 

“It’s rewarding because I feel like I’m imparting my passion for this job a little bit on them, at least I hope so,” Snell said.