Staff Spotlight: Learning by doing is how Angie Nichols engages her fifth-grade students.

by Amy Haggerty

Angie Nichols has been teaching for Stockbridge Community Schools for 21 years. Throughout her career, she has taught many elementary grades and subjects, including elementary music.

“Being part of the ‘specials’ staff, teaching music allowed me to see that students needed that time to express themselves and figure out their gifts.”

During the nine years she taught music she learned new skills that helped her when she returned to the traditional classroom. For example, it was through this experience she discovered kids need to move their bodies and especially their hands. Although she’s moved on to teaching other subjects, Nichols continues to connect this concept with her students’ classroom assignments and projects.

Growing up in Allen Park as the child of Sharon and Jerry Schotthoefer, Nichols likes to recall a story from her earliest year in school.

“I learned how to spell my last name quickly when my kindergarten teacher said I had to in order to play outside for recess.”

In 1992, she graduated from Allen Park High School (home of the Jaguars), but not before receiving the treasured honor of being named the class clown!

Nichols met her husband, Josh, at the student mailboxes at Spring Arbor University. They married eight months later. She graduated from Spring Arbor in 1996 and later attended Marygrove College where she received her master’s degree.

The Nicholses have two children: Sam is 22 and attending the University of Michigan; he’ll graduate this spring. Daughter Molly is 18 and attends Stockbridge High School; she too expects to be a spring graduate.

Nichols began her teaching career in a small Christian school in Taylor, Mich. Later, she and her husband moved to Mio, and they both taught elementary school in the area. Mio is known for its frigid temperatures and large snowfalls, so they became accustomed to seeing several of their students riding on snowmobiles to get to school in the winter months.

After Sam was born, this husband and wife team decided to move to the Jackson area to be closer to family. Not surprisingly, both were hired as elementary teachers in Stockbridge.

Several people have influenced Nichols and helped her to become the outstanding person she is today. At the top of the list are her husband and her parents. Sharon and Jerry Schotthoefer married right out of high school, and Nichols watched as her mom put her dad through college while working and managing a family. Nichols credits her parents’ work ethic as a major influence while she attended college. Their hard work provided financial support so their daughter could focus on her studies at that time.

Since teaching in Stockbridge, Nichols has found the community members and families to be kind, loyal, and genuine.

“I love the school staff. They are dedicated to their students and to each other.”

As for her students, Nichols likes to pass along “that family feeling” to each of them.

She also has some excellent advice to offer her students: “Figure out your gifts. Find what you love to do and work toward making that your career.”

Stockbridge Area Schools are lucky Angie Nichols found her way to our district, where she continues to provide our young students with an excellent experience during their elementary years, including a sense of belonging and comfort.

She has become a much-requested teacher over the years, in large part because Nichols makes learning fun and focuses on developing skills that students need for the future.

Josh and Angie Nichols enjoy some quality time together. Angie teaches fifth grade at Heritage School in Stockbridge where she helps her students figure out their gifts and maybe even what they’d like to do in the future. Photo from Facebook.com

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