Grades 3-5Alex Nellie Math

For Alex Nellie, teaching is the most fun when it involves hands-on projects. It’s also what the kids love the most about her elementary class. “They feel like they can make mistakes here. We’re able to laugh while we learn,” she says. She offers a supportive learning environment, and hopes students learn to experiment and feel safe by being encouraged and encouraging others.

Several days a week you might see Alex Nellie riding her bike to school. She teaches mountain biking as well as one of her other passions – puzzle making – during Choice Week. Nellie came to Lopez Elementary in 1997 after getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Washington and a teaching credential from Pacific Oaks College. She was inspired to teach while she worked at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute, a place where she saw children thrive in school despite their hardships. She uses the same concept – taking a difficult moment and turning it into a positive learning experience – in a way that is very powerful for the students.

For Alex Nellie, teaching is all about making sense of the world. “A word is just a word until it has meaning,” she says. “I love to see kids’ eyes light up when they make the connection. I help them find their voice and learn to express it.”

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