Nicole Greene: Professional Development Warrior

National Network of State Teachers of the Year; Research Fellow; National Board Certification; Sterne Teacher; Upper Elementary Head.

Sterne School’s newly appointed Upper Elementary Head, Nicole Greene, is busy both in her new role at Sterne and with a number of ancillary programs relating to professional development. We sat down with Nicole to learn more about these programs and her career trajectory in education.

Q: Where do we begin? You’ve got a number of really exciting things on your plate right now.
A: I guess we could start with this past summer when I attended a leadership conference in Las Vegas hosted by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY). The NNSTOY is a membership-based organization for teachers in the U.S. who have been nominated as “teacher of the year”.* Every year the NNSTOY organizes a conference, and this year their focus on Teacher Leadership and Equity in the Classroom was of great interest to me, so I decided to attend.

Q: You’re also doing a fellowship. How is that related to this conference and NNSTOY?
A: NNSTOY along with Empatico, an education app designed to help build empathy in the classroom, jointly established a fellowship and I am one of 22 selected teachers. The purpose of this fellowship is to help discover the most effective ways/channels/methods of expanding empathy in the classroom. For the field work assignment, each fellow is paired with another school for joint activities (via video-chat); My math class has been paired with a school in Honolulu. Our fellowship cohort is responsible for research efforts and we will utilize our collective data to identify best practices in teaching empathy. In addition to the Honolulu school partnership through this fellowship, I’m also using the Empatico app with my Ancient Civilization class.

Q: That’s incredible! We can’t wait to hear your findings from this research project. This is quite a bit of work outside your already busy role as the UE Head at Sterne. 
A: It is! And to top it off I’m pursuing National Board Certification for Exceptional Needs Specialist. This certification is managed through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and is at minimum a year-long process (and recommended as a 2-3 year project). Different from other board certifications that are achieved through testing only, this program requires you to analyze your own teaching. It is very thorough and extensive, but also the gold standard in professional development. I’ve signed up with a class through Stanford whereby we are paired with a facilitator and meet monthly with a small group of teachers pursuing this certification to discuss ongoing research and analysis.

Q: You seem very committed to the field of education. We’re lucky to have you at Sterne.
A: Teaching is my passion and I want to support student learning to the greatest extent I can as an educator.

*Nicole Greene was nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award in 2013-2014 while teaching in New York.