Congratulations, Nancy Hutchinson!!

Working with preschool children is not only a way of life for San Jacinto College South Children’s Center teacher Nancy Hutchinson, it’s therapy.

Hutchinson works early in the mornings, 4 a.m. to be exact; and late into the evenings, having spent years as a mother of three sitting outside her children’s bedrooms to work on lesson plans in the hallway. On Saturdays, she enjoys visiting her empty classroom to rearrange furniture and work stations and develop new activities to surprise her students on Mondays.

And while she may attribute her energy to Dr. Peppers and cups of coffee, those who work with her at the SJC Children’s Center at the South campus know it’s her teaching method that earned her the title of this year’s “Teacher of the Year” by the Gulf Coast Association for the Education of Young Children.

“I was very surprised when I received this award,” said Hutchinson, a longtime Friendswood resident and 1979 SJC alumna. “I know there are a lot of teachers out there who are better than I am. I did not think I was going to receive this.”

Hutchinson’s modesty is a trait that has developed over the years from immersing herself in the education of young minds.

“Nancy knows that the more comfortable her children are in their classroom, the better the results,” said Linda Nichols, Children’s Center director. “She makes learning exciting for them; her enthusiasm just pours over to them. She also works very closely with their parents and truly cares about the child and his/her family as a whole.”

Even a battle with breast cancer in 2007 didn’t slow Hutchinson. She continued to teach throughout her treatment, crediting her students for her recovery.

“At that time, this was where I needed to be; surrounding myself with children made me feel good,” she said. “They didn’t know all that was going on with me at the time, yet they helped me get to where I’m at now.”

Hutchinson began teaching at the South campus Children’s Center in 1982, the year she received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Houston in Clear Lake. She went on to transfer to the Central campus Children’s Center and taught at a number of Clear Lake schools before returning to SJC South in 2007. Throughout her career, Hutchinson said she’s learned to appreciate each and every role surrounding a child’s educational environment.

“I’ve learned what a teacher needs to be,” Hutchinson said. “The roles I’ve been placed in were all needed, from a co-teacher, to lead teacher, an assistant teacher, and serving as a teacher’s aid. They all play very important roles in the classroom.”