Jenny Neal


After 17 years as an educator, ETHS teacher Jenny Neal is retiring at the end of the 2022 school year. Throughout her professional career, Neal has worn many hats, including teaching Spanish and bilingual history, as well as working as the ETHS bilingual education coordinator. 

“I work with all new students coming from overseas, as well as the students that speak another language at home,” Neal explained. “I evaluate them to see if they may need a little help with their English skills.”

Over the years, Neal has dedicated her career at ETHS to helping students learn and grow in different ways. In both her Spanish and bilingual classes, she has enjoyed watching students discuss important questions and expand their mindsets. 

“[I] think the students are the biggest asset [to] the community… the need for social equity, the desire to have a more just society,” Neal said. 

Throughout her career, Neal has created many connections with other teachers and staff. Whether they work in the world languages department or in another area, Neal recalled how the positive interactions have helped her grow as a teacher and the advice she would give to teachers just starting out. 

“I think my colleagues are beyond professional, and it is amazing to be part of that community,” Neal reflected. “I feel humbled by the enormous knowledge that my colleagues have, the intentions to make this a better place and the world in general… Take time to learn from others, and keep your eyes open because there is a lot to learn.”

Besides her dedication to teaching, Neal also enjoys running. For most of her adult life, Neal ran multiple marathons including the Boston Marathon. One memory that stands out about the care and respect that her colleagues have for eachother shined through shortly after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

“I took a sick day at the beginning of my career here, but unfortunatley it wasn’t a sick day. I was running the Boston Marathon,” Neal recalled. “The next thing I know… is I crossed the finish line and the bombs occured. The next day, the first thing happened is that Dr. Witherspoon came and asked me if I was okay, because he knew that I was running [in the marathon].”

In her 17 years of teaching at ETHS, Neal has had the privilege of teaching thousands of students. With every class that has passed through her classroom, Neal felt inspired by each and every student. In her classroom, she motivated students to keep learning beyond their school careers, emphasizing that learning is a lifelong journey. 

“[I] will say that the most important thing for a young mind is to be curious. If you think you have reached your potential, just figure what 50 more years of that will be if you continue looking for new learning opportunities,” Neal explained. 

 In the coming years, she hopes to spend more time with her family around the world. Although she is formally retiring from teaching and will miss learning with her students, Neal does not plan to stop learning any time soon.

“For me, that’s the most exciting environment, when I’m surrounded by people that want to do things,” Neal concluded.