Master Teacher Award!

THE KIDS! Those were the first words Lori Nichols used to describe the favorite part of the work she has done with students for the last 12 years. Nichols currently serves as a student support specialist at Prospect Elementary. Her level of commitment to various areas of education is why pursuing the Master Teacher designation seemed like a natural progression. 

As determined by the Ohio Department of Education, a Master Teacher is designated as one who displays “excellence inside and outside of the classroom through consistent leadership and focused collaboration to maximize student learning.” 

In her current role, Nichols spends the first half of her day working one on one with vulnerable students on reading recovery. The other half of her day is spent in small groups with literacy learning. In addition, she serves on the compliance team and is a member of the Building Leadership Team. Nichols previously served at Sherman Elementary.

In order to become a Master Teacher, a candidate must compile a portfolio of written evidence that demonstrates excellence in a number of areas. The candidate must receive exemplary scores in four out of the five domains. These domains include consistent leadership, focused collaboration and continued professional growth. 

Even with the effects of COVID-19 looming, Nichols still worked through the winter of 2019 and the spring of 2020 to complete her portfolio by the original deadline of August 1. Adding to her commitment to her students, Nichols elected to come back to the physical classroom to continue supporting her students in the 2020-2021 school year. 

“Our students are doing a great job,” she said. Getting settled into the school year with social distancing, sanitizing in and out and wearing masks has been challenging but they are doing their best. She says it is not easy but in the classroom with her students is where she wants to be. 

Nichols is the 13th teacher in Mansfield City Schools to earn this distinction. To learn more about the Master Teacher Designation, visit the Ohio Department of Education’s at

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