Coalition of Residential Excellence Names Milton Hershey School Teacher Educator of the Year
When Tiera Reinert was 15 years old, she set a goal to become a Milton Hershey School teacher. She learned of the residential school while working at Hershey’s Chocolate World and was inspired by its mission of providing an exceptional education.
“I knew I wanted to be here,” the fifth-grade MHS Middle Division Math teacher said. “The things you can do here, compared to other schools, doesn’t compare.”
For the past 13 years, hundreds of students and fellow educators have benefited from Reinert’s energy and commitment to mission. Now, she is a model for teachers across the country. In September, the Coalition for Residential Excellence (CORE) presented Reinert with its 2023 Catherine Hershey Educator of the Year Award.
The Educator of the Year Award honors outstanding educators for the quality of their teaching, their professional leadership, their engagement with families and the community, and their potential for even greater contributions to the healthy development of children. It is one of several CORE awards that honor outstanding staff, students, and supporters whose tireless dedication and steadfast contributions exemplify the essence of residential education.
In the classroom, Reinert uses real-world examples to help students learn important lessons. Decimals become less confusing when she explains how they relate to money. Students master volume by learning how it can be used to determine what will fit into a suitcase. Area is important when decorating a home.
“I enjoy helping kids achieve things they never thought they could before. I am constantly telling them that if you work hard, you persevere,” she said.
Reinert loves teaching students math and has an equal amount of enthusiasm for helping them in other aspects of life. She is a Middle Division cheerleading coach and mentor through the Senior Division Mentoring Our Leaders’ Development program. Reinert attends sporting events, visits student homes, and has even helped former students move into college. She also sends students notes of encouragement and decorates their lockers on their birthdays.
“Tiera’s students know she cares because she listens, and treats them with respect, understanding, and love,” said Veronica Kemmlein-Colon, a MHS fifth-grade teacher.
Reinert credits her success to the support she receives from fellow teachers, administrators, and her students.
“Teachers do not feel isolated. Everybody is here to lend a shoulder when you need it,” Reinert said. “All teachers and administrators have the student’s best interests in focus. Everyone is helping you be the best version of yourself.”
Several years have passed since Reinert set a goal to work at MHS, but her enthusiasm for the school and the students it serves has only grown.