Nicole Boudreaux Cross, a middle school math teacher at Liberty Bell, was recently named the Johnson City Schools teacher of the year for grades 5-8 and took some time to reflect on her career thus far.
Cross is a 27-year veteran teacher and currently teaches seventh grade math at Liberty Bell Middle School. She was born in Houma, Louisiana and went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Gifted Education from Nicholls State University.
Cross lives with her husband, David, and kitten, Clementine. She has two adult children — Sawyer and Cooper — and when she isn’t teaching or spending time with her family, she enjoys exercising, shopping and reading.
After her nomination as teacher of the year for Johnson City Schools grades 5-8, Cross took the time to answer some questions about receiving the recognition and what makes her job special.
1. How does it feel to be recognized as one of the 2023 Teachers of the Year?
I consider my colleagues at Liberty Bell to be some of the hardest working and most dedicated teachers that I’ve had the privilege to work with, so to be selected by my peers to represent our school is a tremendous honor. The fact that I am getting this wonderful recognition for doing something that I love so much is very humbling and gratifying.
2. What makes your school special and makes you want to keep teaching in Johnson City Schools?
My school is special because of the people that I get to collaborate and engage with. Our administration and faculty go beyond the call of duty in supporting and lifting up each teacher. The belief (at Johnson City Schools) is that in taking care of teachers, we can be better equipped emotionally and physically to take care of our students. Trust in our abilities and decision making as professionals is key to our success as a school. Johnson City Schools is unquestioningly supportive of teachers and “Expect the Best” is more than a slogan. It’s what makes us so special and successful as a school district.
3. What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is the daily interaction with my kids. I love teaching middle schoolers! They are quirky, inquisitive, and often hilarious young adults in the making. I am absolutely in awe of getting to be part of the process of helping them become amazing human beings and finding out who they are meant to be. I honestly could not imagine doing anything else! I find true joy and fulfillment in my classroom with my kids on a daily basis.
4. What is your leading philosophy/ mindset when you are in your classroom?
There are three key components of my teaching philosophy that make my classroom a place where students can thrive. The first is making sure that each student feels seen every day. Next, I believe in having high expectations for every learner no matter their ability or background. Finally, and most importantly, I believe in loving them just as they are while I try to help them become better human beings. Kindness mixed with a little tough love goes a long way in helping build great middle school students.
5. How do you plan to continue to represent the best of Johnson City Schools and be significant in the lives of your students?
I think that I do an excellent job representing both Liberty Bell and Johnson City Schools because I consider myself to be a lifelong learner that always strives to improve and grow in my profession. I am humble enough to admit that I am “perfectly imperfect” and that I still have a lot to learn from both my colleagues and students. I hope to always be a driving force in the future success of my students. Mostly, I want to be known as the teacher that loves her students enough to challenge them to want more for themselves and to never give up on who they can become. And if they learn a little math on the way, I consider that a win!