Nina Jolly, Howell Elementary

Nina Jolly just finished her 12th year of teaching kindergarten at Howell Elementary. Previously, she taught middle school science before taking a break to raise her two daughters.

Jolly enjoys the way the young students soak up information. 

“I think kindergartners are like sponges,” she says. “They pick up everything you teach them. They soak up so much.”

She notes that they are very candid, too. “Kindergartners just say whatever’s on their minds,” she says.

She recalls that when she was sporting a shorter hairdo this year, she told one of the boys in class that she liked his hair and wanted to emulate it. He told her she was missing the purple in her hair!

“They are so up front, they share what’s on their minds,” she notes. “They always keep me laughing. They always keep me entertained.”

Jolly says having a successful student means having parent involvement. "A lot of it is parent support (and) the partnership between parent and teacher,” explains Jolly.

When she is not in the classroom, Jolly likes to take walks, read, rollerblade and spend time with her family. She is looking forward to relaxing and spending time with family this summer while her daughters are home from college.

Jolly was nominated by parent Dominique Torres. Torres writes, “I think she’s an amazing teacher. Shes taught my daughter so much and I'm so thankful for her.” Torres adds, “My daughter has grown a lot thanks to Mrs. Jolly.”

Jolly comes from a family of teachers. She was in high school when she decided she might want to become a teacher, too. She says that while her mother was a teacher, she didn’t necessarily want her children to follow in her footsteps. But teaching turned out to be a passion for Jolly.

She says she creates a family-like atmosphere for her students since during the school year they may spend more time with her and their classmates than they do with their family at home. “They’re like my own kids,” Jolly explains.

Jolly tells her students to “work hard now so that later no one can tell them they can’t do something.”

Edition: 
Tucson
Issue: 
June 2019