Wauwatosa teacher named Wisconsin Teacher of the Year

WAUWATOSA -- Nancy Terrian, a teacher from Eisenhower Elementary School in Wauwatosa, was named Wisconsin Elementary Teacher of the Year for the 2012-13 school year. The announcement was made in a surprise assembly at the school on Wednesday, September 5th.

Terrian is a third and fourth grade teacher. As part of the Teacher of the Year honor, Terrian will receive $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

Terrain is one of four teachers across Wisconsin to be named Teacher of the Year.

During what appeared to be a welcome back to school assembly by Eisenhower principal Kristin Bowers, including a surprise visit from Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers, Terrian accepted the honor.

"I was shocked and I had absolutely no idea," Terrian said.

Out of over 65,000 teachers across the state, Terrian was recognized for her outstanding leadership in and out of the classroom -- someone who goes above and beyond when it comes to inspiring students to learn.

"This is one reward, but my reward has always been the kids that have come back and said 'hey Mrs. Terrian, I remember when you did this,' or 'look what I'm doing now -- I'm a lawyer. It's not material. It's not a paycheck. It's the rewards you get from your children,'" Terrian said.

Kristen Flierl is the parent who nominated Terrian. She has two sons taught by Terrian and described her as the fourth grade teacher everybody wants to have for class.

"They are having fun every step of the way. She makes every day special. She makes every day fun," Flierl said.

One of Terrian’s most popular and successful programs is “Terrian Territory.” It is not just a classroom -- it is a community where she serves as mayor, and students apply for various jobs such as storekeeper, hall monitor, librarian and dietitian. The class functions as its own economy. Students learn real life lessons about earning a paycheck, budgeting, teamwork, responsibility and the benefits of being a productive member of society.

Another successful program Terrian created helps connect families with the classroom. Students are assigned to write a biography of an older adult in their lives. Many students select a grandparent. Students must complete several steps to complete their biography including interviewing, note taking, creating a rough draft, editing and finally publishing their biography in a hard-covered book. After the biographies are published, Terrian invites all of the individuals who inspired the biographies as well as family members to an authors’ celebration at school. The program is very popular among students and their families.

Terrian holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from the University of Nebraska and a master of art in teaching from Aurora University in Illinois. She has been an educator at Eisenhower Elementary School since 1992.