Nancy Nadel is retiring after 24 years in the field of education. She began her educational career as an enthusiastic parent volunteer in her child’s school. She volunteered so many hours that the principal asked her, “Why don’t you just work at the school?” So, she started as a one-on-one para-educator, became a library assistant and then an English Learner para in Essex. When Nancy met the students coming to Vermont from Tibet, she knew that she needed to become an EL teacher, so she earned her MATESOL degree from Saint Michael’s College.
Nancy found a home at Hunt Middle School and she has been teaching English Learners there for the past 18 years. She says that middle school is a good fit for her. “Middle school students are intellectually stimulating and can be mini-adults one day and like elementary students the next day.” Figuring out who they are on any given day has kept Nancy’s life interesting. Nancy’s sense of humor, flexibility, and professionalism have made her a great middle school teacher who will be missed enormously.
Over 24 years, Nancy has built numerous strong relationships. Many EL teachers did a fabulous job mentoring her in her early years as a teacher, and they continue to inspire her today. Colleagues have helped her to keep balance in her teaching life. She has been an active union participant in BEA meetings and demonstrations. Nancy’s connections with Saint Michael’s have brought dozens of preservice EL teachers into her classroom to learn from her. And most importantly, students over the years have kept in contact with her. As Nancy says of her students, “They need you as an adult in their life, and if they need you, they keep you.”
Don’t forget to advocate for you students. Sometimes you are their only voice.Nancy Nadel
Words from Nancy:
What I will miss: I will deeply miss the interesting students, my congenial colleagues, and being in a stimulating and quick-paced learning environment.
What I am proudest of: It’s hard to pick one topic., but I am most proud of the progress of our EL students. Many overcome numerous challenges just to be present in school every day. I’m very proud of the work over the decades with my talented EL colleagues state-wide, and of the presentations I delivered at state and national conventions. I am also proud of completing this difficult year, and keeping a sense of humor-most days!
Advice to pass on: For future EL educators, the essential message is this: Don’t forget to advocate for your students. Sometimes you are their only voice. In addition, get involved in TESOL and WIDA and keep educating yourself on issues and pedagogy.
Future Plans: I will become more active in climate and environmental issues. I plan to join Jane Fonda’s Firedrill Fridays. https://firedrillfridays.com/ I will continue to plant native species in my gardens for pollinators and wildlife, and will paint the results using gouache, the opaque watercolor. My first career was as a textile designer, so this continuation of painting makes it a full circle.
Words from Colleagues:
Nancy is an amazing advocate for EL students and their families, working tirelessly to ensure they receive the support they deserve, both in and out of school. She is also a great resource for teachers. Early on in my tenure at Hunt, Nancy became a partner in my classroom (and every classroom), showing me everything there was to know about teaching EL students and how best to meet their needs. Her expertise, patience and compassion will be missed. Thank you for everything you have done for teachers, students and families. Cara Sawtell
I first met Nancy when she was working as the library paraeducator at Edmunds Elementary School. Later, she was hired to replace me as EL teacher at Hunt Middle School. We found we had a lot of things in common and share similar interests. I have enjoyed watching Nancy become the EL teacher she is today: incredibly knowledgeable about teaching English language as well as kind and loving toward her students. Nancy excelled at developing academic literacy with middle school students. She also focused on supporting English learners in science. Nancy welcomed student teachers and interns from St. Michael’s College while collaborating with professors at St. Michael’s College to put in practice theories of language teaching. She has had a truly impressive career. More than all that, Nancy is a wonderful colleague: she is smart, positive, and generous. I wish her the best in retirement! Linda Walsleben
Nancy Nadel epitomizes what it means to be an educator. She sets high standards for her students and then helps them attain these goals. She is gentle and patient with those she encounters, yet she speaks up to remind us of what matters most. She has helped so many students in her career. We will miss her at HMS. Laurie Hickey
Nancy is dedicated to helping students be successful and this is evident by her staying after school to help students with their assignments, working with other teachers to support students, and creating engaging curriculum. I have really enjoyed teaching science with Nancy, especially EL science. She often brought her love of art and nature into the classroom. She has made me a better teacher and I will miss co-teaching with her. Michelle Cullen
Nancy’s commitment to educational equity through high-quality academic English instruction is unparalleled. Nancy constantly improved her knowledge and skills throughout her career in expanding her support for ELs. Nancy’s collaboration with fellow educators through materials development, co-planning, co-teaching, sharing resources and ideas, and always being a resource has impacted so many educators and students. Mark Nigolian