by SOPHIA DUGAN '21
If you thought Ms. Nordmeyer was just another social studies teacher… psych.
Ms. Nordmeyer was born in Maryland, but actually grew up in a few different places. Her family moved to New Jersey when she was seven, and moved again to Norway (the country! In Europe!) when she was ten. “My dad’s job had us moving a lot,” she explains. “He works in shipping, so we moved around a ton.” When Ms. Nordmeyer was in seventh grade, her family moved back to Maryland.
From a young age, Ms. Nordmeyer knew that she wanted to do something that involved working with people. Her interest in history was piqued by the American Girl Doll books. “When I was in third or fourth grade, my grandfather bought me the full series for Christmas,” Ms. Nordmeyer remembers. “I read all of them, and I feel like that’s really what got me interested in history.”
However, it wasn’t until after college that she became interested in teaching. “I sometimes thought about being a teacher when I was little [...], but I remember really wanting to work for the FBI!” she laughs. After graduating from high school, Ms. Nordmeyer went on to study at Penn State University. “My freshman year I was interested in working in museums, or being an archaeologist, so I majored in anthropology,” she says. “It wasn’t totally what I was expecting, and I wound up switching my major to crime, law, and justice with a concentration in legal studies.”
She thought about going to law school after she graduated, but still was unsure. “I finally decided that I wanted to work with people, either as a psychologist or a teacher,” she recalls.
Obviously, she chose teaching. After receiving her degree from Penn State University, she moved to Cincinnati because of her husband’s job. She is currently enrolled at Xavier University, and is six credits away from receiving her master’s degree in education, which will grant her licensure to teach social studies for grades 7-12.
How did Ms. Nordmeyer end up at The Academy? She was looking at jobs at both middle schools and high schools all over Cincinnati, but SUA in particular stood out to her. “I saw the advertisement for this job opening, and after reading SUA’s mission statement, I was immediately drawn to [this school] because of its missions and values, especially the focus on empowerment of women,” she says. “I think I emailed the person that posted the offer, like, three times because I wanted this job so much!”
Ms. Nordmeyer attests that, like any new job, teaching comes with many struggles and challenges. “Every day in class, I’m doing something for the first time because I’m a first-year teacher,” she points out. “It’s been a lot more work than I was expecting going in, and I never really know what’s going to happen each day.”
However, she says that it’s worth it when she hears students say that they’re learning something new, or that they liked an in-class activity. “The first year [of teaching] is the hardest by far, so it’s been really stressful, but there’s been those good moments that make [me] feel like it’s really worth it.”
Even though this is only her first year teaching, Ms. Nordmeyer is already an integral part of the SUA community. Her students agree that her positive attitude and cheerful nature makes all of her classes - CP economics, Honors AAA, and AP U.S. History - more fun.
“I love Mrs. Nordmeyer’s class because it’s always so fun and engaging!” exclaims junior Madeline Maginnis. “We’re always encouraged to vocalize our thoughts, questions, and opinions.”
Clare Pitstick ‘20 agrees: “Ms. Nordmeyer is one of my favorite teachers of all time not only because she really helps her students understand the material but she is also very willing to help students with any other general questions they have about college or life outside of SUA.”
But what does Ms. Nordmeyer like to do outside of school? In true social studies teacher fashion, she loves “traveling and experiencing new places, even if [she] doesn’t get to do it as often as [she’d] like.” When she’s not teaching, you can catch her going to various exercise classes (especially yoga and kickboxing!), trying new foods, or enjoying the great outdoors.
Her final piece of advice to students is to keep everything in perspective and appreciate where they are in life. “Right now, I think that all of the stress [students] are feeling feels very real to [them], but you just have to take it day by day and not let it get you down too much,” she points out. “Appreciate the good things about where you are right now!”