WASHINGTON, D.C. – For many of us there’s that teacher that we remember for their kindness or their faith in us. For kids in Escanaba, that’s Nanette Hanson, a first grade teacher. Hanson is this year’s Michigan teacher of the year.
“I love teaching because I had great teachers when I was growing up when I was in high school and they believed in me and saw things in me that I did not see in myself and I knew I could do that for somebody else,” said Hanson.
For Nanette Hanson, teaching is something she always wanted to do.
“I wanted to be someone’s safe haven,” said Hanson. “I wanted to be there for them in the time they needed support.”
With more than two decades of experience, she currently teaches first grade at Lemmer Elementary in Escanba. Her passion and dedication to her students is getting recognition by naming her Michigan’s teacher of the year. It’s been about 30 years since the award went to a teacher in the UP.
“I really try to put in my classroom a system of positive supports and routines that help kids feel safe and included and part of our classroom community,” said Hanson. “What we’re teaching kids with those positive mental health supports are to be good, kind humans and to understand that people are different from them and that everybody has value and they have value.”
Former and current students speak so highly of her.
“She is so kind and makes learning fun and makes me smile and laugh,” said one student.
“Funny and helpful and nice,” said another student. “She’s a good explainer and helps me everyday.”
Hanson is spending the week in Washington D.C. going through professional development and visiting the White House. She also got a chance to meet the First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, who is also a teacher.
Hanson hopes her support for her students will help them beyond the classroom.
“I believe in them in every possible way and they can reach for the stars and reach their goals,” said Hanson.
Hanson said one of her platforms as Michigan teacher of the year is to shine a light on rural schools and rural Michigan.