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Somerset teacher awarded Herb Kohl Fellowship

Somerset second-grade teacher Nancy Andersen was one of 100 recipients of a $1,000 Herb Kohl Fellowship grant. She wanted her photo taken with her students Wednesday, March 19, because in her words “I couldn’t do any of this without them.” (Photo by Sarah Young)

Somerset Elementary second-grade teacher Nancy Andersen’s classroom motto is “don’t just live -- shine.” And shine she does.

Andersen found out in early March that she is one of 100 recipients in the state awarded a $1,000 Herb Kohl Fellowship grant. Somerset Elementary will also receive a $1,000 grant.

“It was a sweet surprise. It’s an honor to be given the award,” Andersen said. “But this is a job I couldn’t do without everyone in the building.”

Andersen was awarded the district elementary teacher of the year at the Somerset Board of Education’s January meeting. Somerset Elementary Principal Darren Kern nominated her for that honor, as well as the Kohl grant.

“Nancy is an outstanding teacher, connects with kids very well and does a lot to help make a difference in the community for students and their families,” Kern said.

Andersen said when she was filling out the required questionnaire for the application, she found it hard to write about herself.

“I didn’t expect to get it,” Andersen said. “I just know that I love people, I love community service, I like serving on committees.”

Andersen had to answer questions on her personal education philosophy, how she tries to raise achievement levels in her students, immediate programs or projects she’d like to implement in her classroom, her commitment to community service, her unrealized goals as a teacher and the positive aspects of education in today’s world.

District Administrator Randy Rosburg said Andersen may use her $1,000 grant and the district’s $1,000 grant for her students within her classroom.

“Typically, other teachers who earned this status have purchased supportive programs or devices to be used by students,” Rosburg said. “Now others are learning what we have always known to be true about Nancy. She is an amazing person and teacher.”

Andersen, who lives in New Richmond with her husband Corey and their two children Nicholas and Abby, has taught at Somerset Elementary for 19 years. She began as a first-grade teacher, then moved on to second grade, then third, then back to second.

“It was really good experience teaching all of the different grades,” Andersen said.

Andersen said she never thought about teaching anywhere else. She likes the small district feeling of the campus and how each school is involved with the other. She especially enjoys her tight-knit second-grade teaching team.

“My favorite part is definitely getting to know the kids and families each year,” Andersen said. “It’s fun watching them grow from mini Spartans into big Spartans.”

Andersen makes a point to keep her classroom as stress-free as possible.

“Another motto we have is ‘no stress, no worries,’” Andersen said. “The kids have so many things on their minds. I want them to feel love and support here.”

Andersen spends much of her time volunteering for such causes as American Red Cross blood drives, fundraising for Grace Place and the district backpack program, ringing bells during the holidays for the Salvation Army and others.

The Kohl Teacher Fellowship program recognizes and supports teaching excellence and innovation in Wisconsin. The grants received help support teachers in the pursuit of their unrealized goals for their classrooms and professional development.

Andersen was recognized at a luncheon in Eau Claire Sunday, March 23, for recipients of the award in Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs) 11, 12.10 and 4.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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