Tosa's Nancy Terrian Named Elementary Teacher of the Year
Eisenhower 3rd and 4th grade instructor turns her classroom into a community, teaching both skills and values.
All students and staff of Eisenhower Elementary School got quite a nice surprise Wednesday morning, but the best news was reserved a lucky group of third- and fourth-graders and their talented teacher.
The school got an unexpected visit from the state superintendent of schools, Tony Evers, to announce that Nancy Terrian has been named Wisconsin's Elementary Teacher of the Year for 2012-'13.
During an all-school assembly, Evers presented Terrian with an award of $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.
“The quality of the educators in our schools is vital to student success,” Evers said. “Teachers who receive this award are recognized by their peers, students, and parents as caring, committed educators. They represent quality educators who make a difference every day for our students.”
“The Teacher of the Year program recognizes educators who strive to help every student succeed,” said U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, who co-sponsors the program through his educational foundation. “Not only are these educators active in their classrooms and schools, they work to improve the profession and contribute to their communities.”
“I believe in teaching students a ‘love of learning,’ a thirst for knowledge, and a sense of curiosity that will stay with them always,” wrote Terrian in her application materials.
Building positive relationships is an integral part of her teaching. “When relationships and trust are built, then real learning and success follow, and students can reach their full potential," she wrote.
One of Terrian’s most popular and successful programs is “Terrian Territory.” “Terrian Territory” is not just a classroom, it is a community where she serves as mayor, and students apply for various jobs such as storekeeper, hall monitor, librarian and dietitian.
The class functions as its own economy. Students learn real-life lessons about earning a paycheck, budgeting, teamwork, responsibility and the benefits of being a productive member of society.
Another successful program Terrian created helps connect families with the classroom. Students are assigned to write a biography of an older adult in their lives. Many students select a grandparent.
Students must complete several steps to complete their biography including interviewing, note-taking, creating a rough draft, editing and finally publishing their biography in a hard-cover book.
After the biographies are published, Terrian invites all of those who inspired the biographies, as well as family members, to an authors’ celebration at school.
Eisenhower Principal Kristin Bowers said, “Nancy is dynamic and works to inspire a love of learning in her students. She is dedicated to providing meaningful learning opportunities for students and is constantly looking for ways to improve student learning.
"No matter what their level, Nancy works to find ways to create success for her students.”
Kristin Flieri, a parent of one of Terrian’s students, admires her dedication to her students and how she helps them build strong relationships with each other.
“It is amazing how she can bring together students from different backgrounds and even countries to appreciate and respect each other," Flieri said. "By taking the time and making the effort to build relationships and trust with her students, she has created a caring learning environment which resembles a community.”
In addition to Terrian’s work in the classroom, she serves as a representative for the Education Foundation of Wauwatosa.
Terrian is a tennis pro, who has played in many Pro-Am tournaments to help raise money for local high school tennis programs. She has also taught tennis clinics to underprivileged children and adults who have never been exposed to the game.
Terrian and her family are active in their church, and she also participates in PTO at Eisenhower as well as at her children’s school.
Terrian holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from the University of Nebraska and a master of art in teaching from Aurora University in Illinois. She has been an educator at Eisenhower Elementary School since 1992.
Evers will recognize Terrian as the Wisconsin Elementary Teacher of the Year during his State of Education address Sept. 20 in Madison.