Local educator named Indiana Teacher of the Year

A Logansport teacher is celebrating after being honored for her dedication in the classroom. WLFI/File Photo
A Logansport teacher is celebrating after being honored for her dedication in the classroom. WLFI/File Photo

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) – A Logansport teacher is celebrating after being honored for her dedication in the classroom.

At just 7 years old, Jitka Nelson had already determined what her lifelong career would be.

“My grandmother told me if you become a teacher, you will never stop learning and you will never stop going to school,” Nelson said. “And I never have.”

On Thursday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz named Nelson Indiana’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.

“She exemplifies what it is to be an outstanding educator and is just an outstanding role model, and we’re just so happy for her,” said Logansport Community High School Principal Matt Jones.

Nelson has been an educator for 25 years. She first started her teaching career in her native Czech Republic, before going on to teach in Canada and the United States.

In 2006, she came to Logansport Community High School, where she teaches English, language arts and developmental reading to 70 students from all different grades.

She said helping her students succeed gives her a sense of accomplishment.

“I just feel so excited and honored and to me, this is just something I never dreamt of,” Nelson said.

Lucy Ponce, an instructional assistant, was one of Nelson’s students six years ago.

“She didn’t only help us in our English, she helped us be better professionals because she taught us, you know, to love what we do and be happy with what we do,” Ponce said.

Superintendent Michele Starkey said Nelson is the first teacher from Logansport Community School Corporation to receive the award and she couldn’t be anymore deserving of it.

“It’s very exciting, we are so thrilled. She does an excellent job. We have many great teachers but, ya know, Jitka has done an excellent job and we are so thrilled,” Starkey said.

Jones added, “We’re really proud of her.”

Nelson will go onto represent Indiana in the national teacher of the year competition.