Lauren Nicolella & Meymey Seng
After the departure of Morgan Bushnell, Science Leadership Academy had an open position for a new geometry and statistics teacher. Luckily, Nicole Gasser was able to fill her spot after being a temporary substitute teacher at The Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA).
As this is Ms. Gasser’s first official full-time teaching job, the first few weeks at SLA have been very stressful. Throughout this transition, she spoke about a way that has been helping her out.
“I feel like I have a very supportive staff, supportive co-workers, and supportive principals which is awesome. Also my students, they’re great, just getting to know them is really fun.”
The advisory system is also new to her, and she is glad to be a co-advisee with College Counselor Karina Hirschfield. She considers advisory a useful tool, being able to connect to parents and be someone students can talk to. This is different from previous schools she has been to, where advisory acts more as a free period.
Although there is much to adapt to, Sophomore Jeremiah Butler believes that she is a great fit for the school. “I think Ms. Gasser will adjust to SLA just fine because she seems tech savvy and gets Canvas.”
Ms. Gasser already had an SLA connection. During her undergraduate time at Temple University, she chose to do field work at SLA and The Franklin Institute, where she gained an interest for the project based model after observing Math Teacher Brad Latimer.
“It’s a really good community to be a part of, and I really wanted to work here,” Ms. Gasser stated. “It was my number one school.”
Before college, she went to Hazleton Area High School in Northeast Pennsylvania and lived around Scranton. Since starting at Temple, she has been living in Philly, and has an easy twenty-minute walking commute to SLA.
A moment that stuck out to her on her walk to SLA was losing her wallet on the third day of school, including her license, credit card, I.D., and keys, including keys to her classroom.
“So that made an interesting first week!”
Something that Ms. Gasser loves is music, and especially Taylor Swift’s. She went to one of her concerts and really enjoyed it. Her favorite song is from the album 1989 is Wildest Dreams. Aside from pop, she also enjoys all genres of music.
“I’m a really huge Taylor Swift fan, I just love all her music. I went to her concert last year and it was the best day ever.”
Influences and Goals
Ms. Gasser reported that in high school she was the “quiet student” and not one to volunteer. Besides being quiet, she was very hardworking, and ever since she was little she knew that she wanted to work in education. Even though other career options have been brought up to her, something about teaching never left her mind.
“I used to play with my dolls. I had a doll classroom,” she explained.
Her students are her top priority, getting to know everyone and creating a comfortable learning space where no one should feel afraid to ask any questions.
“Ms. Gasser is a soft-spoken teacher who still gets what she’s teaching across, despite that,” Butler said. “For me, her class is organized in a way that I think can help everybody because everything has its order which makes things easier.”
One of Ms. Gasser’s main goals is to allow students to gain knowledge from her class, and have it be more than just the content she is giving them in geometry and statistics. Her ways of teaching has been successful, where students are already feeling comfortable.
“She’s super sweet, understanding, and helpful. She has everything together,” said Senior Mekhi Granby. “Thanks Ms. Gasser for being a great teacher!”