Oct 31, 2011 7:42 PM by Andy Koen
There's no such thing as second best for 2nd grade teacher Tracy Nieves. She not only expects excellence from her students at Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy, but also inspires them to expect it of themselves.
"Excellence will make you stand apart from your peers and you might not have the IQ that somebody else has but you will succeed in life if you will pursue excellence above all else when the other guy is willing to just skate buy," Nieves said.
Living up to that high standard takes commitment. One example of her commitment is the way in which Nieves grades papers. When she is finished, she takes time to compare her students answers to see which concepts need more time and attention.
"I am empassioned about the ones that are harder to reach," she explains. "How can I change, how can I adjust, What can I do to help them be successful?"
To parents like Linda Bentzen, that change is noticeable. She recalls a conversation she had with her daughter Nicole during the first week of school last year when Nieves taught 5th grade.
"She said mom, all the teachers tell us that, but it's the way she said it, it's the way she said it mom, she made me feel like I just want to, I gotta do it for her but she also made me feel like she really believes in me, believes in us that we can really, really do it," Bentzen said.
Tracy credits her faith as the source of her passion and inspiration. She says she prays for each of her students on the way to work every morning.
"It has to do with the way God has gifted me and what he has given me and this is again his calling on my life and because I turn to Him for all the little pieces of it."
For her diligence to use all of those little pieces to make sure every student excels, Tracy Nieves is our October Teacher First award recipient.