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Maple Grove Middle School teacher Jennifer Hairrell wins Fulbright Award

Maple Grove Middle School teacher Jennifer Hairrell wins Fulbright Award

Jennifer Hairrell has been a teacher at Osseo Area Schools for nearly 20 years, most recently as a Maple Grove Middle School (MGMS) Spanish teacher for the past five. Hairrell said she’d spent several years looking for a new professional development opportunity that fit her goals. 

“I was at the point in my career where I felt ready for something big, something that would challenge me and help me grow, as a leader and a teacher, and also as a human,” Hairrell said. 

She said she found that right fit in the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program.

Jennifer Hairrell stands, smiling, with her Spanish classroom in the background

The Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. government and administered by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX.) Participants are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential.

As a winner of this award, Hairrell will receive a year’s worth of professional development, including a fall semester course on global education, a February symposium in Washington D.C., and a multi-week field experience opportunity somewhere in the world next spring. She will remain teaching full-time throughout her time as a Fulbright program participant.

“I know it will be a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it,” she said. “I know it’s going to be transformational, both personally and professionally, and I’m willing to put the time in to make it happen.”

“I’m just really ecstatic - it’s something I’ve dreamed about getting,” she added. “I’m excited to learn from people in different parts of the country and the world, and then bring it back to my classroom and share with my colleagues across the district.”

Hairrell was also nominated as a semifinalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year for 2023. 

“Mrs. Hairrell is a rockstar teacher,” said MGMS Principal Patrick Smith. “The Fulbright experience will allow her to share the wealth of exceptional knowledge she has as a teacher to others not only across the country but the world as well.  Very proud to have her represent MGMS and the Osseo School District.”