Glenwood Springs High School science teacher wins Boettcher honor
Longtime Glenwood Springs High School science teacher Scott Nykerk is among 42 Colorado teachers honored for the profound impact they have had on some of Colorado’s top students.
Boettcher scholar Sara Fleming selected Nykerk as the teacher who influenced her the most as part of the Teacher Recognition Awards Program. Fleming, who is attending Colorado College on the full ride scholarship this fall, credited him with instilling an interest in science over the course of two years of chemistry and a year as a student tutor.
“I learned so much from him about how to be an effective introverted leader and a conscious, responsible person. He was incredibly supportive of me as I was applying for the Boettcher and his confidence helped me so much,” she said. “I honestly don’t think I’d be where I am today if not for him.”
Nykerk, a dedicated environmentalist, traveler and former Peace Corps volunteer, said he didn’t expect to be recognized.
“Sara was one of those special students who was able to challenge me as well,” he said. “She asked involved, complex questions that were challenging to answer and made for engaging discussions.”
“She excels in every course that she takes,” he added. “You never knew who she was going to pick.”
The recognition comes with a $1,000 grant from the foundation to be used toward an educational program or project. Nykerk hopes to use it to update some equipment.
“Teaching science, you have plenty of places to spend money,” he observed.
Regardless of the money, he intends to do his best to provide challenging, engaging material.
“I strive to build students who take responsibility for their learning by providing them with the strategies that will allow them to negotiate the demands of school,” he said. “Ultimately what I find rewarding in teaching is seeing students embrace the challenge of learning.”
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