To be named “Teacher of the Year” at your school is a superb honor – but to be chosen three times, at three different schools, is amazing.
Jennifer Nunes now holds that distinction, and her selection as American Lakes’ new Teacher of the Year was coupled with even better news Tuesday: She is Natomas Unified’s district Teacher of the Year as well.
Supt. Chris Evans surprised Nunes with the announcement by presenting her a bouquet of flowers in her special education classroom at American Lakes, where she teaches 2nd– and 3rd-graders.
Nunes previously was Teacher of the Year for Natomas Park Elementary in 2012 and Jefferson School in 2007. She has served Natomas Unified students since 2003.
“I’m completely shocked and surprised, I’m speechless, but very honored,” Nunes said of her latest honor.
Nunes was nominated for this year’s NUSD contest by a peer who described her as always ready to help colleagues, never hesitant to share knowledge, and as an organized special education case manager who collaborates and communicates effectively with peers.
“Because of her patience, she is able to bring out skills in her students that show her strength as a teacher,” the nomination said. “She has high expectations of her students and doesn’t let their disabilities get in the way of measurable progress.
“Her students learn with her and are able to demonstrate their knowledge in unbelievable and unexpected ways. Her students have a connection with her because she connects with them.”
Nunes’ nomination also said that she:
· Demonstrates professionalism even when her patience is tested. At the end of a challenging work day, she can still laugh at situations, which makes her a positive addition to any group.
· Goes above and beyond her duties as a teacher (and) is a leader on the American Lakes Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team.
· Brings a positive attitude to our staff and helps plan activities to increase our school culture and staff culture.
· Serves as an expert district-wide. She is often asked to lead workshops for staff across the district on teaching, inclusion, behavior, and special education legal matters.
· Is “one of the very best teachers we have ever worked with and she deserves recognition.”
As NUSD’s Teacher of the Year, Nunes’ name will be submitted to the Sacramento County Office of Education for consideration when it chooses the county’s top teacher.