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Kofa’s Nicholson named High School Teacher of the Year

Kofa High School culinary teacher Christie Nicholson has always embraced learning.

Years before she entered the classroom, she was cultivating ideas and noticing the things that worked for people giving instruction. She was a culinary professional, being a Career & Technical Education (CTE) teacher wasn’t on her radar yet, more or less being recognized as one of the best in her role as an educator. Christie Nicholson photo by Craig Fry

“Teachers inspire me when they are excited to share something about what they are doing, I love seeing others excited about what they do and what they teach,” Nicholson said. “It is easy to find new ideas when the people sharing them are still in the figuring out stage, I can take what they are starting on and even go a new direction with it to make it mine.”

In April, the Education Foundation of Yuma County named Nicholson its High School Teacher of the Year for 2019 at the annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Yuma Civic and Convention Center. It was likely her innovation and willingness to learn that helped make her the top candidate for the award.

“Christie consistently uses best practices in teaching, and then some,” said Kofa Sports Medicine teacher Kathy Hoover, who was among those to nominate Nicholson. “She has state and national leaders and competitors in her program each year, which involves hundreds of hours each year outside of the classroom. She helped design a state of the art facility for her students to learn in an industry standard facility. She is amazing with embedding technology. When you walk into the room, you can see various ways that her students are learning to be professionals by setting up authentic opportunities for them to cater and present at local events. I haven't seen a teacher more excellent than her.”

Nicholson, who is in her third year at Kofa, moved into the new culinary and hospitality facility last fall. The kitchen includes state-of-the-art equipment and workspaces for her students.

 Christie Nicholson in class

Eric Patten