Jen Nelson-Coffey

Mrs. Jen Nelson-Coffey Catalayah Elementary Teacher of the Year

Mrs. Jen Nelson-Coffey is the site Teacher of the Year for Catalayah Elementary and teaches Art. 

Mrs. Coffey conveys passion with the art she teaches to capture the mind and imagination of her students and cultivate their individuality. She knows different art forms and styles are like different people and communicates that “different” is okay to her students.    This approach helps students accept their differences and believe in themselves. 

She focuses on empowering students by affirming their strengths, helping them articulate their goals, and encouraging them on the journey. She wants them always to remember that someone (she) believed in them. 

As a retired teacher who returned to education, she hopes to restore that passion in other retired teachers who can be valuable resources for students and new teachers. 

For ten years, she said she supported “her teaching habit” by using her art skills to create original clothing designs and T-shirt patterns for people across the country.  She uses this experience to move Art class from a perception of “playtime” to an opportunity to develop skills that can contribute to a viable future. 

Her mother and aunt's teaching careers fueled her desire to teach. Coffey then inspired her granddaughter, who now teaches Art at Mrs. Coffey’s former school, referring to it as her “greatest reward.”

In 1989 Coffey was the Teacher of the Year for her previous district and the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in Education – Elementary Division winner. 

“This school is the finest learning environment I have ever known. It is a great honor to be in this system of outstanding people surrounding each other and the children,” she told us about being a Zebra.  

Video credits:  Claremore Digital Video Editing Class / ZTV
Teacher:  Ms. Leah Johnson

Graphics credits:  Aubrey Henson, CHS Graphic Design student
Teacher:  Mrs. Cass Huddleston