Nickole Lyon – Seward Elementary School
2016 BP Teacher of Excellence
Special education preschool teacher
“None of us get good at what we do without a little help,” said Nikole Lyon. “I work with some of the most dedicated families and professionals I know on a daily basis. I am so thankful to live and teach in a community that is as passionate about teaching the whole child as I am. Thank you for your support and encouragement to grow into the teacher I am today.”
“It was an honor to attend the BP Teachers of Excellence award dinner to honor Nickole Lyon, Seward Elementary preschool intensive needs special education teacher,” said David Kingsland, principal. “Nickole is an excellent teacher, who uses child centered instruction to help integrate students into her classroom and to develop their full potential.”
“This year’s nominees were again, an excellent representation of our staff as a whole,” said Sean Dusek, superintendent. “They are humble, hard-working and student-centered. I was particularly impressed with how all of the finalists have gone the extra mile for their students and make sure every student they work with know that they are loved.”
A graduate of Chadron State College in Nebraska, she achieved her Master of Education in Early Childhood Special Education from University of Alaska Anchorage. She has been a teacher for 11 years, all in Alaska.
As a parent, you know just how much help your child requires on a daily basis. So there’s nothing more terrifying than the thought of sending that child away–being out of sight, saying good bye and letting go–allowing your child to be under the care of someone else, especially if they require special needs.
Imagine the parent’s immense relief to find out Nickole is that someone else. One of her student’s parents says: “She creates a happy, beautiful, organized and enriching classroom for my son and his classmates. They receive amazing one-on-one attention.”
When one of Nickole’s students learned that his military family will be moving to Virginia, she made contact with the child’s new teacher and set up a Skype date so he could see his new classroom all the way across the country.
Nickole says: “At the heart of my instruction is developmental play. At three, four and five years old, play is their driving force. It’s how they develop personality, sense of self and social skills.” Nickole is constantly analyzing their actions during play, evaluating their interests, and emotional, physical and cognitive development to adjust her curriculum for each child, and for the class as a whole. She says, “I’m building their confidence to work outside their comfort zone. Learning is much easier if you’re confident.” She gently pushes them to advance and achieve a measure of independence. “I am a firm believer in teaching the whole child,” she says. “My heart swells with pride when I’m out at some community event with my family and I see former students who once struggled with social skills and communication, outgoing and confident and having fun.”
A mother of two children, Nickole and her husband have also served as mother to foster children. She volunteers for a long list of community and school programs, and mentors at adoption workshops, helping others become parents.
Congratulations, Nickole Lyon, BP Teacher of Excellence.