• ST. LOUIS, MO, June 7, 2011 – Gathered in the school’s conference room at Northwest Academy of Law, the teachers and school support staff waited for the impromptu staff meeting to begin.  It was the middle of the day, an uncharacteristically odd time for a staff meeting, but the group was in high spirits and whispering excitedly.


    Standing in the front of the room was Mrs. Valerie Carter-Thomas, the school’s principal, in an animated conversation with Mr. Nevels, the school’s mathematics teacher, when she began her meeting.


    “Good afternoon! Today we are here to recognize an extraordinary teacher and friend,” she proclaimed loudly as Mr. Nevels tried to make a respectable exit to his seat. Fortunately, his family, who was hidden in the hallway, took the moment to enter the room, cementing the surprise.  


    Mrs. Carter continues, “Mr. Nevels, I am happy to announce you are the 2011-2012 SLPS Teacher of the Year!”


    The room erupts with cheers and flying silly string in green, blue, yellow, and red. Mr. Nevels, whose real name is Nevels Nevels Nevels, is grinning from ear to ear as his family smiles proudly from the side.  


    It was the perfect way to pay tribute to a mentor who has dedicated his life to education, both as a student working on his doctorate and as a veteran teacher for 15+years. Colleagues stood up to talk about their experiences working with Mr. Nevels and Mrs. Carter even tracked down a former student, who now teaches mathematics at Vashon High School, to say a few words.


    This is the second time during the 2010-2011 school year Mr. Nevels has earned recognition from the District for his exceptional abilities as a teacher.  The first came in December when he earned the 2010 SLPS High School Mathematics Teacher of the Year award.


    An educator with the district since 1994, Mr. Nevels bases his teaching philosophy on the socio-cultural theory, the writings of Lev Vygotsky and Barbara Rogoff, and the National Research Council’s model of effective learning environments.  Mr. Nevels ensures that the courses he teaches begin with a “risk-free” environment that is filled with content-rich resources so that students are comfortable talking and interacting with the content, the instructors, and their peers.


    As the St. Louis Public School District’s 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year Mr. Nevels is now eligible to compete for the Missouri Teacher of the Year honor, which will be chosen at a later date.  For more information please contact the Office of Public Information (314) 345-2367.




    Pictured (Left to Right): Mrs. Valerie Carter-Thomas, principal at Northwest Academy of Law; Mr. Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Special Administrative Board; Mr. Nevels N. Nevels, 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year; Mrs. Nevels, and Mr. Nevels’ two daughters.