The Fayette County School System has named fourth-grade teacher Natalia Nizker (photo above) of Burch Elementary School as the 2018 Teacher of the Year.
“With a deep passion for impacting young minds and providing students with the necessary supports to succeed, it is no wonder why fourth-grade teacher Natalia Nizker of Robert J. Burch Elementary was named the 2018 Fayette County Teacher of the Year,” said school system spokesperson Nia Washington.
An 11-year educator selected from 26 teachers, Nizker ranked in the top three to earn her place as a finalist in the Teacher of the Year competition. Fourth-grade teacher Angela Sattinger of Fayetteville Elementary and math teacher Richard O’Brien of Rising Starr Middle were the two other finalists. All three finalists were interviewed and observed in their classroom by a judging panel which consists of two retired educators and last year’s winner, Shaylen Dixon.
“I’d like to thank you for believing in me. I’d like to express deep appreciation for the honor bestowed on me by my fellow colleagues. There is nothing more valuable than to be recognized by peers. Thank you for the privilege,” Nizker said at the ceremony.
Nizker, Sattinger, and O’Brien, along with 23 of Fayette County’s finest teachers, were honored at the annual Teacher of the Year ceremony, Washington said.
As a firm believer in developing positive and meaningful relationships, the Teacher of the Year winner understands that her win is not hers alone because “it takes a village to make a good educator,” said Nizker. “Behind each teacher is his/her family that either inspired their educational career or supported and continues to support us in everything we do on a daily basis.”
Nizker said the honor would not have been possible without the continual support from her school.
“Robert J. Burch Elementary has made me a better teacher and because of them I strive to do better every day,” she said.
Although Nizker has been inspired by colleagues, mentors, and family, one of her greatest inspirations comes from her students, who she refers to as her “driving force,” as they challenge her to gain new perspectives each day, said Washington.
“I wholeheartedly believe that the teaching profession is one of the most critical vocations because it lays the foundation for all occupations. Teachers are entrusted with both the futures of the students we teach and the future of all society as we play a deciding role in forming the academic, social, emotional, and character attributes of tomorrow’s world,” Nizker said.
As Fayette County’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, Nizker will represent the school system next year in the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition.