Updated: May 11
Teacher Spotlight By Rachel Kelly
Jennifer Nielsen Library Specialist and Author Goodman Middle School
Jen Nielsen is the library specialist at Goodman Middle School, teaching sixth through eighth grade. Simply put, Jennifer is a librarian. However, the title library specialist seems to better encompass her responsibilities to her students, as well as to the greater school district.
Jen earned her master’s in education in 2004, previously working as a mental health specialist. Once she completed her masters, she would go on to teach English and social studies all over the country. But it was her passion for books and literature, as well as the individual attention she is able to give to students, that turned her focus toward being a full-time librarian.
Jen is currently focusing on Information Literacy, which is teaching students to navigate the wide world of information to find relevant information for their focus or interest. Her other responsibilities include interacting personally with students to find characters and stories that inspire them, making sure students have working apps and devices, repairing old books and acquiring new books. In her work, she is able to interact with students of all grades and backgrounds! She is so proud of her students and actively encourages their aspirations for writing, learning and connecting.
Under her mentorship, students have started their own book club, and several are attending the Cavalcade of Authors Young Writers Conference in May. The minds of students only expand where information is accessible, as the students of Goodman have shown under Jen Nielsen’s tutelage.
In her free time, Jen, of course, enjoys a lot of reading and likes to keep up with new authors and award winners. She also writes and recently published a book entitled The Claiming—“An apprentice mage. A faerie princess. And one slight miscalculation." When outside the classroom, she can be found wearing her “author’s hat” (as Jen dubbed it), where she attends book signings, edits and revises her work, or works on drafting the next manuscript. If ever she gets downtime, she spends it with her family skiing, hiking, biking, boating, or catching a game of pickleball. She loves to be outside with the people she loves most.
If interested in Jen’s work (or if you’d just like to geek out with her!), feel free to visit her website or social media accounts at JANielsenAuthor.com, Twitter.com/authorjanielsen or Instagram.com/jennifer.a.nielsen.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Photo by Jamison Nielsen | Book cover image by Jennifer Greeff, artist