American Mothers, Inc. would like you to meet our 2017 Texas Mother of the Year, Jenay Sherman.
Jenay Sherman is a black, Christian wife and mother of four young boys–all under the age of eight years old. Her oldest son has Down syndrome, which is an important part of her family because it allows her children to grow up with a level of tolerance and inclusion that many never are blessed to learn so intimately.
Jenay was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and lived in Ohio and Wyoming before moving back to Ohio to attend Ohio University where she received a B.S. in Communications. After teaching Leadership at Indiana University for a year, she went on to the University of Dayton to earn her M.A. in Communications, studying diversity in organizations while teaching communications courses at the university, and working part-time in marketing at Fifth Third Bank. After graduation, she took a full-time job at the bank, eventually becoming an Assistant Vice President. During her time at the bank, she entered a contest for entrepreneurs by submitting a literacy learning education tool she created and used for her own son, winning over $6,000 of prize money for her concept, design, and business plan.
After her husband’s job moved the family from Ohio to Texas, Jenay stayed home with her four young boys, teaching Public Speaking at multiple campuses of Collin College, and providing marketing services for small businesses. During this time, she also started a popular parenting blog, became a featured writer for Scary Mommy (a leading mommy web community), and publishing a children’s book in an effort to introduce both black and special need’s characters to mainstream fiction. http://interactive.tegna-media.com/video/embed/embed.html?id=2598766&type=video&title=MOM%20OF%20THE%20YEAR&site=287&playerid=6918249996585&dfpid=32805352&dfpposition=embed_preroll%C2%A7ion=home
In 2016, she began teaching Leadership at Lovejoy High School, as well as serving as the JV Cheer coach at the school. She was honored to receive a Teacher Appreciation recognition from one of her students (today!) as a teacher who had made a profound impact in her life.
Jenay and her husband Willie live with their four boys, William, Sean, Dillon, and Austin in McKinney, TX.
Jenay Sherman was nominated for Mother of the Year by her friend Cara Wright who said, “ I am nominating Jenay Sherman as Mother of the Year. She has dedicated her life and professional career to educating others. She is the mother of 4 little boys and one of which is special needs with Down Syndrome. Jenay is a teacher and cheerleading coach. Jenay is also an author who writes young adult, and fiction which is all inclusive of characters with and without disabilities to further educate and empower those on the subject. She is also a blogger and has a niche for writing for all mothers. She has seamlessly balanced being a mother, a teacher, an advocate, and coach while also finding time to volunteer and commit time to her community. She is a part of her church community, as well as affiliated with mother’s groups within her sons’ school districts. She is an active and passionate mother and community leader and I know that she would be an amazing representative as Mother of the Year with your organization. She selflessly and tirelessly improves the lives of all around her.
Jenay Sherman believes the role of parents is threefold:
- To support children in all ways possible to help them realize their own limitless potential. We do this by removing barriers and doing what it takes to secure their future, while also teaching them how to break down walls on their own, and constantly strive toward their goals.
- To instill in our children a vision of a better world, and give them the tools to build that world with their own hands.
- To do better for our children than we had done in our own childhoods so that the legacy might continue to improve over every generation.
I had prepared to be a mother who helped children find success by keeping a steady stream of scheduling: working, tutoring, reading, and extracurriculars, in hopes of creating well-rounded children.
When my first son was born unexpectedly with Down syndrome, I found that God had a different plan for me. I have learned that motherhood is a constant education. I study my children daily (and they evolve just as quickly) to look for learning moments, glimpses of bliss, sparks of excitement, where I can serve as a bridge between them and their goals. Most importantly, I remind myself of my own goal as a mother–to raise children who grow into good, Christian men who are pillars of their communities, and rocks in their homes.
Instead of creating opportunities and pushing my kids towards greatness, I allow them to develop at their own pace–carefully working alongside them to set high standards but being flexible and learning when to change course. I’ve learned that my children do not exist to live out my legacy, but instead to create legacies of their own.
Jenay Sherman is an example to all who know and love her. Thank you, Jenay, for the example you are to so many.