Nellie Dawson’s Road to CVU

Mr. Isaiah Lawlor

Nellie Dawson is a new geometry and trigonometry teacher in the math department at CVU. To get to know her more, let’s start with how Nellie, a young woman from Western Massachusetts, knew she wanted to spend her life here in Vermont even before the beginning of her junior year of high school. An avid skier, she came to Vermont on a college tour with her older brother. Luckily for UVM, Nellie chose to attend (even though her brother did not), thus beginning Nellie’s pursuit of a teaching career here in Vermont.


Image courtesy of Carol Fox

After graduating with her teaching degree in mathematics from UVM, Nellie got a job at Lamoille Valley High School. For two years, Nellie gained experience in teaching, finding that there is a large disconnect between proficient math students who enjoy mathematics and those who see math as a waste of time. “They’re stuck in the same class,” said Nellie,  who later admitted that one of a teacher’s great challenges is to be able to connect with different types of students and their various learning styles.

After two years at Lamoille, Nellie wanted to come back to Chittenden County. She had heard that CVU was looking for a Geometry teacher, and, after going through a thorough interview process, was offered the job. She accepted the position and was ready to embark on a new chapter in her life.

As a strong believer in having a strong student-teacher relationship, it is important for anyone who will have the opportunity to have Nellie as a teacher to get to know Nellie’s quirks and kinks. When Nellie is not enhancing students knowledge in algebra and geometry, she loves to ski, especially with her friends. Nellie is a strong supporter in keeping students an active member of the community, as she was a ‘Key Clubber’ at her high school. She feeds off of the energy and excitement of others, whether it is in class or out on the mountains.

Along with her bright personality, Nellie knows what kind of teacher she wants to be and how she wants to be seen through the eyes of her students. Keeping the large diversity of students comprehension levels in mind, Nellie wants to “be understanding of the slow points” and realizes that “not all of the [students’] time is devoted to the classroom.” With this in mind, Nellie made a few goals for herself. “I want students to find the support they need from me,” as well as wanting “to be available to students as much as possible,” as she knows the unfortunate consequences when students fall behind in class. She feels that the best way to prevent this problem is to try and always make her classes engaging, and keeping the students focused and always learning.

It seems like these goals are beginning to come to fruition, impressing her fellow faculty members with her organization and ability to work through stuck points with a student. “I’m really impressed by how well she has done so far, [and] she seems to work well with her students,” commented Chris Hood, Nellie’s faculty mentor for the next two years of her tenure. With great praise from her fellow colleagues, you can be reassured that Nellie has set herself up for a wonderful career at CVU.