New Teacher Hopes to Create Her Legacy at Branford High School

Ms. Kordek teaching her attentive students. Photo by Hunter Carden.
Ms. Kordek teaching her engaged students. Photo by Hunter Carden.

By Sam Bailey-Loomis

Students strolling down the A wing in Branford High School will see a smiling, familiar face outside A-20 each day. Laughing, playful, and always looking forward to a great day. Twenty-three-year old Jennifer Kordek, the new Psychology and Civilizations teacher, welcomes all students into her class to learn and grow.

Kordek was born in New Haven, and was raised in Hamden and North Haven with her 15 month younger brother, “Ms. Kordek”, as her students call her, later graduated from North Haven High School. She continued her education at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, she graduated and majored in history in 2011.

“I loved it there,” Kordek explained “it was small, but rather than sitting in a class of a hundred students, you’re in a class of eight. It was very intimate I enjoyed my time there.”

At the time she wanted to decide what she wanted to take up as a career, Kordek had an internship  for about three months in the summer with the National Park Service as a civil war battle field tour guide in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Kordek had to design her own walking tour for guests who would visit various areas of the park. That experience helped her finalize her decision on majoring in history and soon becoming a teacher. Additionally, she spent the summer of 2010 in France studying medieval Europe and the influence of the Dominican Order.

Kordek was hired this school year as the long-term the substitute for Ms. Lippolis, who was on paid suspension before the Board of Education terminated her in November. The school is currently going through the process of hiring a permanent replacement for Lippolis.

Kordek has enjoyed her time at Branford High School so far. “I love, love, love, love, love it [teaching at Branford High School].” When asked about her plans for the future, without hesitation she said “hopefully I’ll still be here, I can definitely see myself here.. I also have hopes of going to get my second masters.”

Kordek described her most defining feature as her sense of humor “I love to laugh. In my civilizations class with my freshman, I’ll say something to them that I think is hilarious, but they look at me thinking ‘that really wasn’t funny’.”

Ms. Kordek encourages, enlightens, and informs her students, and is enjoyed by everyone as a fun-loving, dedicated scholar. “Have a goal for yourself & meet that goal! Push forward and meet every goal you set for yourself no matter what it is… personal, social, educational…” Kordek explains that her students are growing a love for learning and are becoming more and more engaged in their work as she continues “this past fall, a student told me that he went home and looked more information up on a topic we touched upon in class. He was generally hooked on the information. I find more students are taking their time and independently looking up more information on a topic they learn in class. They are engaged in wanting to know more information. It’s great!”

As much as Ms. Kordek loves her students, they love her equally as much. Travis Johnson, a freshman at Branford High School and a student of hers, told the Buzz how relatable she is and how comfortable he has become around her personally and professionally “I definitely think Ms. Kordek is cool. She’s a young, ‘in with it’ teacher who is easy to relate to. My favorite time this year was when we had an advisory day with riddles and jokes and stuff. It was a lot of fun. And her best feature is definitely that she seems easy to talk to if you needed something quiet and personal to talk about.”