First Coast High
Grade 9 English/Language Arts
Principal: Vincent Hall
Juris Doctorate, University of Florida, Levin College of Law
Bachelor of Arts English, University of Florida
- 3 years teaching
- ELA 9 Professional Learning Community Lead Teacher
- Created and taught two district level workshops:Ratcheting Up the Rigor: Enriching the Academic Literacy CurriculumandC's-ing the Day: The Ten C's New Reading and English Teachers Need to Know
Blair and her mother Marjorie may be the first mother-daughter team to become finalists for the Duval County Teacher of the Year. Although Blair's original path took her to law school, her mother's example led her to the classroom instead of the courtroom. Ms. Nolan was eight years old when her mother took her to "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day" and it was on that day she decided she wanted to be a teacher too. In fact, she taught an analogies lesson that day to 30 seventeen year olds!
Ms. Nolan finds creative ways to engage all of her students so that their learning becomes relevant to life. On most days, you will find Ms. Nolan dressed in character as she brings ideas and literature to life for her students. In January 2012, after her students took their second FAIR test, Ms. Nolan, dressed in scrubs and a doctor's coat with a stethoscope around her neck, and wrote a diagnosis and a Prescription for FCAT Success for each student. At the end of that school year, her students showed great gains in FAIR and on the FCAT.
Ms. Nolan's room is decorated with sails and fishing nets as well as inspiring quotes so that, in the words of student Brianna Moore, "…her room (is) comfortable for learning….Her room stands out from all other rooms in First Coast…"
Ms. Nolan has become a teacher leader, widely regarded not just by her team but her colleagues at First Coast High. Her strategy for student success is clear: encourage students; set clear expectations; teach reader-specific strategies; develop skill-specific lessons; and increase the time students spend reading. Most importantly, Ms. Nolan works hard to connect on a real and personal level with all of her students so that they leave her classroom at the end of the year with a love of reading and learning.
"As Duval County Teacher of the Year, Blair would be a living example of the greatness of our profession. Her passion, compassion and love of her students is evident in every aspect of her teaching." Brenda Matthews
District Literacy Specialist
1993 Duval County Teacher of the Year