For her professionalism and as a leader in her field, Lovell High School special education teacher Nichole Blain was honored on Friday, April 11, as the Outstanding Educator for School District No. 2 at the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce annual awards banquet.
LHS Principal Scott O’Tremba presented the award to Blain following a video presentation featuring accolades from both students and colleagues at the school. O’Tremba cited Blain’s commitment to her students, to her profession and to learning as reasons to honor her with the award. He said her high expectations for self and students, along with her love of learning, set her apart from the rest.
“Mrs. Blain is a current special education teacher at Lovell High School,” said O’Tremba. “In the past she has also taught English. She demonstrates professionalism at all times. She is extremely responsible, prompt and organized. Nichole goes the extra mile for the district as a special education teacher, as the LHS AdvancEd Literacy Chair and as a District Leadership Team committee member.
“She has attended BIT (Building Intervention Team) meetings to help advise our BIT so we are working hand-in-hand with special education requirements. She has led our staff in many literacy and special education trainings and is currently planning to train us in more for both literacy and common core.
“Mrs. Blain has been asked to train teachers in other buildings, as well. I have attended many school improvement conferences and common core training with her, and she has always been extremely conscientious to attend all sessions and to bring back information gained to our staff and district and then to plan and lead trainings in these areas.”
O’Tremba noted that Blain is very committed to her work. He said she keeps close contact with parents and leads special meetings whenever necessary. He said she frequently goes above and beyond the call of duty.
“While she was on maternity leave she met with her substitute teacher and made sure her students were getting all the services they required,” he explained. “She goes to our teachers and assists them so they are carrying out all IEP’s correctly. She is always finding new resources to help her students and to teach herself how to become better, as well as the rest of the staff.
“The students, parents and other teachers who work with Mrs. Blain see her as an authority on special education, literacy and teaching students. She is part of the team that has always made AYP even in special education. A great deal of the success that LHS has had on the ACT is due to the training she has provided for the staff. Last year she did a great deal of the work for the ACT prep training for our staff and students. She makes sure her students are prepared for these and all other assessments and that they receive their accommodations. Her expectations of herself and others couldn’t be higher. She is extremely knowledgeable not only in what’s best for special education students but for all students, particularly in the area of literacy and the common core but also in math. She team teaches a pre-algebra class, which is extra work for her but was her idea so that students who often struggle in that class get help from a certified teacher.”
O’Tremba said those efforts pay off in that students in her classes “love to learn” and their test results show it.
“They excel in their classes and on standardized assessments, as well,” said O’Tremba. “They are constantly learning and applying what they have learned to many real world situations, too, through the many job shadow experiences she sets up for students. Our students, school and district all benefit in an exceptional way because of the work she does. She meets and surpasses the criteria for this award in every area and in an exceptional way.”
By Patti Carpenter