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Posted September 7, 2011

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Science/Computer/Film Teacher Honored by Pepsi, Foundation

Ross Nord of ECA/CEC Named Teacher of the Month

Ross Nord of ECA/CEC was named the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month. He poses with Principal Nikki Dennis and Pepsi representative Adrian Chavez.

Ross Nord teaches three subjects at two schools in one building. And he couldn’t ask for a better job.

Part of Nord’s day is spent teaching chemistry and computer applications to students at the Early College Academy, a small college-preparatory school that allows students from across the district to take core courses in the morning and college or career classes in the afternoon.

Nord also teaches digital media and film to students enrolled in the Career Enrichment Center, an APS magnet school that offers a wide variety of courses to students from all 13 high schools as well as ECA.

Nord describes ECA and CEC as polar opposites. ECA is a small school where students get to know each other well as they take many of their core classes together. CEC is a large school pulling together thousands of students from across the district to study topics not offered at their home schools, everything from nursing to manufacturing to digital media and film.

To Nord, it’s the best of both worlds.

To his students and colleagues, Nord is one of the best in those two worlds. He was recently named the Pepsi/APS Education Foundation Teacher of the Month.

“I love it here,” Nord said. “I get to interact with kids from throughout the district. It’s a wonderful challenge.”

Nord’s boss, ECA/CEC Principal Nikki Dennis, said he was chosen as teacher of the month by the department chairs of both schools.

“Ross is a diligent teacher who works well with students and staff,” Dennis said. “He is highly respected by his peers because he teaches a wide-range of classes, from chemistry to computer applications to digital film. He is the type of teacher who is often overlooked because he flies under the radar, not asking for much and demanding very little.”

Nord has been teaching for 17 years, spending most of his career at more traditional high schools including West Mesa and Cibola before making the move to ECA/CEC six years ago.

“It keeps me jumping, but I like the diversity,” he said. “This is how a school should be: Wonderful teachers, great administrators and small classes. It’s utopia.”

For the third school year, Pepsi, in partnership with the APS Education Foundation, is recognizing APS teachers for their outstanding contribution to the classroom, school and community. The Foundation randomly selects one APS school each month, and that school’s principal or staff chooses a teacher to be honored. The teacher receives a $50 check from Pepsi and acknowledgement on the APS website and Facebook page.

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