Educator Awards Spotlight: Tina Nicpan-Brown

Tina Nicpan-Brown is the North Central ESD 171 Regional Teacher of the Year and is a 5th Grade STEM Virtual Educator at Wenatchee Internet Academy in Wenatchee School District

We’re sharing the wisdom of our incredible regional and state Teachers and Classified School Employees of the Year, in their own words. Find more on our Spotlight page.

Enjoy the process of the first year of teaching. There are so many things to learn, fail at and explore. Develop strong positive relationships with your students and their families because they are the base of your support system. Find a colleague that can be a mentor for you as you develop your instructional practice. Seek out someone that can be your sounding board to share your frustrations and celebrations. My last piece of advice, don’t forget to continue to do things that make you feel balanced and happy outside of your new career!

The most important part of my job is to instill curiosity in students. Students need to have choice and take part in creating their learning experience. The students who say they are bored, don’t care about school or show little interest beyond providing the minimum asked of them need to relearn how to be curious. I want students to WANT to learn more about the world around them. That means, I HAVE to change my instructional model. Educators need to create a safe and engaging learning environment that supports questioning, failure, celebration and provides challenges.

I helped to create a virtual academy that provided rigor and hands on expereinces using a flexible schedule. I used Road School, an experience where I traveled and took my students with me all over the United States, as a way to provide enaging conent. Aftering learning at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, one of my students said, “It is so much better than a video. I knew Mrs. Brown and we were there with her. She stopped and found people for us to talk to and answer our questions. You can’t do that on YouTube!”.

A perfect day of learning with my students would include hands on place based learning. We would all be engaged in finding ways to show understanding of the concepts we recently learned. We would work together to apply our knowledge to real world situations as we work with community experts. Everyone would walk away feeling challenged and supported. We would have achy bellies from laughing and notebooks filled with questions and possible solutions. We would be messy and eager to share what we learned. We would fail, celebrate and end our day with a plan for the next.

I am often asked, “Do you always work?”. My asnwer is Yes, I am always working because I am always thinking about my students’ academic and social needs. This includes learning profeessionally, learning about pop culture and making connections with my community. Everything I do impacts my instruction. Traveling leads to new experiences for me that I can see intergrated into lessons. As I try to go to sleep, I am thinking about students who invited me to soccer games, asked for help in getting materials and the students who are so close to achieving a goal.

Learn more about the Teacher and Classified School Employees of the Year on the Educator Awards website.

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Led by Supt. Chris Reykdal, OSPI is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state.

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

Except where otherwise noted, content by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. All logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners.