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Nagle, Columbia’s top teacher, urges flexibility, perseverance

MADISON – Julia Nagle respects the impact of seeing her students, proactively and independently, implement strategies that she has taught. Nagle is 2022 “Teacher of the Year” at Columbia Elementary School.

“Playing a role in students building confidence in themselves and their abilities — be it academic, behavioral or social — is something that pushes me to be a better educator, and something I don’t take for granted,” Nagle said.

Immediately after graduating from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Nagle started working for Madison City Schools in 2012. “I’ve been with Madison City Schools since the start of my career and just finished my tenth year as an inclusion special education teacher,” she said.

“In my first year of teaching, I split my time between Heritage and Columbia elementary schools,” Nagle said. “The years that followed have been at Columbia working with kindergarten through sixth-grade students providing small-group and/or one-on-one instruction in the general education or resource room setting.”

Her teaching philosophy focuses on three main themes: collaboration, flexibility and perseverance. “I recognize all members of the IEP (Individualized Education Program) team as equal partners and collaborators, and each member’s contributions are vital to student success,” Nagle said.

“Student needs are ever changing; we all must be flexible and persevere. If we expect students to give their best, then we must also give them the same,” Nagle said.

At UAH, Nagle earned a bachelor’s degree with dual certification in elementary education and collaborative education. She is a Nationally Board Certified Educator in the area of exceptional needs.

Most people don’t know that she “bought a tiny camper in 2018 in an effort to stop squandering away my summers on errands and to spend my money on experiences, as opposed to things. I named my camper Phoebe after the character from ‘Friends.’”

“When I am not working, I like to spend my time with friends and family, traveling and creating art,” Nagle said.

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