- Gig Harbor Living Local
Teacher in the Spotlight
Updated: Mar 1
By Rachel Kelly
Nicollette LeTellier, K-5 STEM Specialist Swift Water Elementary
Nicollette LeTellier works at Swift Water Elementary as a K-5 STEM specialist. It is her job to introduce students to science, technology, engineering and math and their potential for solving a diverse range of problems. She has been a teacher for 18 years, beginning in Vicenza, Italy, with a Department of Defense Education activity in 2004. Her husband, Lt. Colonel Todd LeTellier, is an aerospace engineer and space operations engineer in the military. At the time of Nicollette’s beginnings in education, they were stationed in Italy. After four years there, she taught as a substitute teacher for several years and is now in her seventh year as a STEM specialist in the Peninsula School District.
Nicollette has the opportunity to enrich a very diverse population of students through STEM, which is naturally hands-on. This is especially true for those who don’t excel in the traditional model of school. Students get very excited about designing, building and testing. “I love watching kids go through the engineering design process to try new things, fail, and then try again until they get it right,” she shares. “I think we really need problem-solvers in our society, and I want to teach kids that there is no easy answer to many of our questions, and the goal is perseverance.”
Much like her students, Nicollette is also deeply engaged in problem-solving and possesses a lot of perseverance. During the summer, like many teachers, Nicollette attends various trainings meant to provide new resources for her students. She is very busy in the summer as the district representative for West Sound STEM Network as well as with NESSP (Northwest Earth and Space Science Pathways) through a grant offered by NASA. She does workshops, attends STEM cafés, develops curriculum, and teaches development classes. This summer she’ll be attending Space Camp for teachers in Huntsville Alabama, since that’s currently where her husband is working.
Outside of work, Nicollette is an avid sports woman. She celebrated her 40th birthday by summiting Mt. Rainier, and especially enjoys introducing her two daughters to the outdoors. They like to camp and backpack during the summer months. It is no surprise then, surrounded by all this beauty, that Nicollette is passionate about conservation and preservation. She brings that passion with her to the classroom through projects that address the complexities and problems of our environmental impact.
When it comes to the students in our community, Nicollette is relentless in opening doors for success in STEM, making new opportunities available to our children, increasing engagement and expanding their worldview. Thank you, Nicollette, for all you do!