Teacher in Focus: Merry Nickelson

by Celia Shortt


Merry Nickelson, first grade, Willis Road Elementary

Merry Nickelson teaches first grade at Willis Road Elementary School. This year is her fourteenth of teaching.

Why did you become a teacher? 

It’s been something I’ve wanted to do since I was a young child. I’m a teacher at Willis Road Elementary. It’s the best school ever, and I don’t do anything by myself. It’s totally a team effort. Teachers genuinely focus on their students all day. It’s all about the kids all day.

How long have you been teaching? 

For 14 years. I taught in Clayton County for a year and a half. Then I was home for 10 years with my kids.

Do you have a family? 

Yes. I’ve been married for almost 30 years, and I have a daughter and a son.

What do you do when you’re not teaching? 

I try to work out several times a week. I’m a nerd at heart, and I read alot. Reading is the most fun. I catch up on news and the politics of the day.

What does a day of teaching consist of you for you? 

I teach kids to read, mold character, be mom - those are the big things, and it is a huge responsibility. Like all teachers, I take it very seriously. That is what teachers do. For me, it’s not a job. It’s a commitment to the little ones who have been entrusted to me for the year.

If not a teacher, what would you be? 

I don’t know. It’s something I’ve poured myself into for so many years. I don’t know what else I’d do.

What is the one thing you want to impart to your students? 

To work very hard. I want my students to have confidence in themselves. To know that I love them - that somebody loves them.

What is your favorite part of being at Willis Road Elementary School? 

The support, not only professionally, but personally. My best friends are here. We’re just a family. You are never by yourself.

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