Early childhood teacher Jenny Burrell retires after 18 years


photo by Kailey Calvo

Early childhood teacher Jenny Burrell finds a quiet moment to step away during a hectic preschool day. Currently, the preschool is open four days a week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.

Jenny Burrell, current early childhood education instructor, is retiring after 18 years at the end of the summer. Before beginning her education career, Burrell was a stay-at-home mom and soon began babysitting in New Jersey for seven to eight years. After moving to St. Louis, Burrell began looking for a job and settled on KinderCare. She then moved again to Florida in 1993 and began substitute teaching for Oviedo High School until a spot opened up at Hagerty and was given an opportunity to operate the preschool.

“In those early days, I taught health, family dynamics, and child development. Teaching those classes helped me learn how best to teach childhood education to students,” Burrell said.

Since the early childhood education program was created, it has undergone several changes. When it started, preschool used to only be three days a week, but now is operating every school day except Wednesday. Also, the schooldays are longer from 8 am to 2 pm. When Burrell decided to enter the DROP program, Early Childhood Education I instructor Jennifer Hennessy was brought onto the team.

“We extended the preschool day so that Mrs. Hennessy would get experience in the classroom and see how it worked here because she comes from an elementary school background. Our preschool runs a little differently than an elementary school does,” Burrell said.

Since Burrell began teaching later in life, she had been planning for her retirement for several years before entering the DROP program. After dealing with a hectic preschool schedule for the majority of her professional life, Burrell is ready to relax and enjoy time with her family.

“I hope to be able to do a whole bunch of traveling. And I have five grandchildren that live locally. I’ll be spending a lot of time with them. I really want to spend an inordinate amount of time at the beach,” Burrell said.