Teacher of the Year 2015

Mary Nelson!

Congratulations to Mary Nelson - Hamden's 2015 Teacher of the Year! 

Mary Nelson has been a sixth grade teacher at Church StreetSchool for the past three years. Prior to coming to Hamden Public Schools, she taught sixth grade in Bridgeport.

Ms. Nelson grounds her teaching in social justice experiences. She believes that as a teacher, she is a change agent and teaches her students to become active world citizens.  Her students have organized food drives, protested human rights violations, and developed curriculum to teach fellow students about child heroes around the world.

The Church Street Drama Club is another passion of Ms. Nelson's - in fact, she started the drama club at Church Street! She believes that drama provides an additional avenue beyond academics in which students can shine. It’s also a way to connect socially with her students, and get to know them in a different light.  Performing "Seussical Jr." in 2013, and "The Wizard of Oz" in 2014, over 45 students in Church Street's upper grades have participated annually in the productions.  

Ms. Nelson also spends time providing mentorship for pre-service teachers.  She has frequent visitors and interns from universities throughout the state. Demonstrating that you can achieve high standards in an urban classroom is a personal mission of Ms Nelson's.

Even though she was clearly born to teach (!), teaching is actually a second career for Ms. Nelson. Prior to entering the world of education, Ms. Nelson was involved in international marketing for 16 years, where she traveled through much of Europe and Asia. Word has it she loves to incorporate her global experiences into her classroom whenever she can!

Ms. Nelson has an eleven year-old son, Ben, who will be entering middle school this fall.

The Hamden Teacher of the Year honor is an annual award. Teachers in each school nominate and select from their staff one exemplary teacher, who then "competes" among other schools' nominees in front of a district panel.  The committee then makes the final selection for our Teacher of the Year.  

The Hamden Teacher of the Year represents our district at the state-level Teacher of the Year competition.