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Faculty votes Northcutt Teacher of the Year

Zoë Hocker

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Students praise English teacher’s rigor, kindness, sense of fun

Sophomore English teacher Nikki Northcutt was named teacher of the year at an after-school ceremony on Jan. 23. Northcutt said was not expecting to win because she still feels new despite her six years at MAC.

The MACulty has selected Ms. Nikki Northcutt as its 2017 Teacher of the Year. Mr. Baxa made the announcement in an afterschool ceremony today in the library. "I love working here," Northcutt told her peers. "I want to be here until I am 80." Baxa prefaced his announcement by saying the vote margin between Northcutt and fellow finalists Scott Pass and Nick Martin was very narrow. Photo by Dave Winter.

The MACulty has selected Ms. Nikki Northcutt as its 2017 Teacher of the Year. Mr. Baxa made the announcement in an afterschool ceremony today in the library. “I love working here,” Northcutt told her peers. “I want to be here until I am 80.” Baxa prefaced his announcement by saying the vote margin between Northcutt and fellow finalists Scott Pass and Nick Martin was very narrow. Photo by Dave Winter.

“I feel like everybody else is a veteran teacher, so I don’t assume I’m going to win because I still feel like the new kid on the block.” Northcutt said.

Some of Northcutt’s past students, such as junior Tristan Tierney, said that Northcutt definitely deserved the title.

“My favorite thing about Ms. Northcutt is her immense level of kindness and love that she has for all of her students,” Tierney said. “She believes in and cares about every single kid, whether you’re a straight ‘A’ student or just barely scraping by.”

Junior Aydan Urias enjoys how Northcutt pushes her students to think on higher levels about the curriculum.

“You can tell she actually cares about opening up your levels of thinking,” Urias said. “She also has never failed to help me with something I needed assistance with, from recommendation letters to editing to help in the Writing Center.”

Sophomore Claire Caudill said that Ms. Northcutt is a great role model. “I feel that I can go to her for anything whether it be advice or just a good conversation.”

Senior Cal Hurd agrees.

“Ms. Northcutt is my favorite teacher at McCallum,” Hurd said. “She truly cares about her students and makes classes super unique and fun.”

The volleyball team underwent a hour-long dose of crunching, squatting and kick-boxing during fourth period on Jan. 9 in a Zumba routine choreographed by the team. The team suffered all the planning and pain in order to stay in shape and to practice endurance. Coach Northcutt said at the beginning of class: "This will probably last us for the rest of the week." Photo by Brooke Miller.

The volleyball team underwent a hour-long dose of crunching, squatting and kick-boxing during fourth period on Jan. 9 in a Zumba routine choreographed by the team. The team suffered all the planning and pain in order to stay in shape and to practice endurance. Coach Northcutt said at the beginning of class: “This will probably last us for the rest of the week.” Photo by Brooke Miller.

Many of her current and former students said they most appreciated Northcutt’s lighter side. While she can be serious, they said she knows how to make her classroom a fun place to be.

“I love Ms. Nortcutt because she makes the classroom a very fun and safe environment,” senior Atley Brown said. “She encourages creativity in the classroom more than any other teacher I have had a McCallum.”

Brown recalled one class where Northcutt rewarded her class for doing well on a test by doing a handstand for them.

“She’s one of a kind,” junior Charliee Arnold said. “No one else can juju on that beat like her.”

Senior Andrea Janss remembered acting out a part of Macbeth with an airsoft gun in Northcutt’s class.

“I remember her always making every class memorable and every lesson creative; she was a kind teacher and relatable to us,” Janss said.

The other finalists were math teacher Scott Pass and Latin teacher Nick Martin. Northcutt feels that both of those teachers deserve recognition even though they did not win.

English teacher Nikki Northcutt was among the service-minded Knights who participated in the blood drive on campus on Sept. 27, sponsored by PALS. "I [donate blood] every eight weeks, or I try to," Northcutt said. "Why not? Free cookies." Photo by Madison Olsen.

English teacher Nikki Northcutt was among the service-minded Knights who participated in the blood drive on campus on Sept. 27, sponsored by PALS. “I [donate blood] every eight weeks, or I try to,” Northcutt said. “Why not? Free cookies.” Photo by Madison Olsen.

“I love Mr. Martin,” Northcutt said. “He is always coming into my room giving me curriculum that matches mine because he’s into the classics, and we read Oedipus, and we reference some ancient Greek and Roman stuff,” Northcutt said. “So, he’s always sending me articles, and he’s always in a constant state of learning, which is really honorable especially for how busy he is. Mr. Pass just seems like he’s here for kids, and I know he does after-school clubs and stuff, and I’ve heard really good things.”

The announcement was accompanied by cake and a reception in the library on Jan. 23.

“I am incredibly honored to be nominated by my colleagues.” Northcutt said.

“I love working here,” Northcutt told her peers on Jan. 23. “I want to be here until I am 80.”

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Faculty votes Northcutt Teacher of the Year