Nicole Northrup, FFMS Teacher of the Year
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Recognized by BOE
At its meeting at First Flight Middle School, the Dare County Board of Education recognized Nicole Northrup as First Flight Middle School Teacher of the Year. Northrup worked as a teacher assistant for nine years before earning her BS in Middle Grades education (with a concentration in Social Studies and a minor in Language Arts) at Elizabeth City State University. She is in her ninth year of teaching at FFMS. From left, Board member Dave Oaksmith, Nicole Northrup, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sue Burgess.

Challenged and rewarded with classroom endeavors

Nicole Northrup, First Flight Middle School Teacher of the Year, has an associates degree in Hotel, Food and Beverage Management, and a BS in Middle Grades Education with a concentration in Social Sciences and a minor in Language Arts. Currently she is completing her master's in Instructional Technology. She has worked for Dare County Schools since 1995; she came on board as a teacher in 2005. 

"It is both challenging and rewarding to look for new materials and learning platforms that will make learning interesting and enjoyable for my students," observes Northrup. "I believe I am where I belong because I found a junior high a difficult time. This has created a wonderful opportunity to understand students who are themselves going through similar struggles. It gives me a unique understanding of the challenges they face."

Landra Cartwright is the technology facilitator at First Flight Middle School. "The quality of the instruction in Nicole's classroom is very high as evidenced by the engaged learning and academic growth of her students. Nicole has mastered a behavior modification technique that blends high expectations with compassion and caring. Her positive attitude rubs off on her class and you see the children in her charge slowly change from recalcitrant students to eager learners. They cannot resist her exciting projects and 'cool' instructional activities," says Cartwright. "She uses the Haiku LMS (Learning Management System) at an advanced level to provide instruction that allows students to take responsibility for their learning. She fully implemented the new Social Studies Essential Standards in her classroom last year. She has found online resources including a global learning activity with a university professor who introduced his virtual Roman villa to her students."

Parent Karen Savona says she doesn't know the recipe for Ms. Northrup's success, but she does know that she is demonstrating 21st century teaching and learning at its very finest. "She's energetic, enthusiastic, and holds her students to high standards and expectations. She engages her students by using new technology in creative and flexible ways. Ms. Northrup encourages collaboration, problem solving, and unique solutions. She teaches students to ask the all-important question: Why?"

As for Northrup, she observes that "Middle school learning is unique. Watching students who were passive learners become active, engaged learners is just amazing."