Congratulations to Alisa Olsen, Nibley Elementary's 2023-24 Teacher of the Year!

 

Alisa Olsen

 

For second-grade teacher Alisa Olsen, helping students pay attention in class is directly tied to captivating their attention with hands-on and entertaining activities. Olsen, named Nibley Elementary’s 2023-24 Teacher of the Year, strives to build a thrilling and fun environment in her classroom to keep students engaged in their learning.

 

A Paradise native and Mountain Crest High School alumna, Olsen’s teaching roots run deep in the Cache Valley. Wanting to be a teacher since she was little, Olsen took a “future teacher class” at Mountain Crest, which gave her hands-on experience teaching in a classroom at Nibley Elementary. After graduating from high school, Olsen attended Utah State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. 

 

Olsen believes that learning is not a passive process, and the more hands-on opportunities students have with the subject material, the better. “You have to make it real for them by giving them chances to do it,” Olsen commented. “It's not a spectator sport. You don't just watch learning, you do it. You get in there and try things out. My job is to give students chances to make mistakes, figure it out, and create a safe place for them. It’s about trying to cultivate a growth mindset.”

 

To foster a growth mindset in her students and encourage increased participation, Olsen focuses on ensuring her students have fun while learning. “Having fun with the kids is important for getting them excited about learning,” Olsen explained. You can have so much fun with kids and have them grow and learn right along with you. It's thrilling to see them grow, share, and learn. The students learn and participate more when it's engaging. I love seeing them love curiosity.” 

 

Alisa Olsen and students     Alisa Olsen and students

Alisa Olsen and students

 

Olsen believes that an essential aspect of teaching is the opportunity to build relationships. “When you build relationships, work is better, life is better, and the students are better,” Olsen remarked. “When kids believe you care about and believe in them, and parents know that you love and support their kids, and your colleagues know they can count on you, it’s better.”

 

In addition to relationship building, Olsen builds confidence and supports her students' success by making sure they know she believes in them.  “Every kid can learn, and every kid can enjoy learning. My job is to find where they're at and help them grow, no matter their background, interests, or needs. Everyone can grow, and our job as teachers is to find out how to make it happen.”

 

Nibley Elementary Principal Cindy King expressed gratitude for Olsen and described her as an invaluable member of Nibley Elementary’s staff. “Alisa Olsen is an exceptional 2nd-grade teacher. She exemplifies the virtues of patience, positivity, and unwavering support for her students, creating a nurturing environment where every child feels valued and capable of achieving their best,” King commented. “Her high expectations motivate students to reach beyond their perceived limitations, creating a culture of excellence in her classroom. Alisa is also an outstanding team member, consistently lifting others with her positive attitude and willingness to lend a helping hand. “