“My career has been long and fulfilling because I’ve learned from other people and passed that learning along to others.”

Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.

Clinical Associate, Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), Stanford University

Memorable faculty: Edna Lawrence in the School of Education, and Sal Primeggia, who was the single best professor I have ever had.

On her identity:  First I was a daughter and a sister.  Then I was a wife and a mother, and now a grandmother.  But throughout my lifetime, being a teacher has always been a core part of my identity.

Changes she has seen: Following the 1989 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards that called for more emphasis on conceptual understanding and problem solving, my teaching practices moved more towards critical thinking and making connections, rather than just on procedures and rote learning.  It was a big shift for many students, but I felt students were learning more. Teaching also became more enjoyable for me.  I could see my students become more engaged and motivated to think.

Advice for Adelphi students considering a teaching career:  I totally encourage anyone who is thinking of becoming a teacher to pursue that goal. Teaching is wonderful.  It is a fulfilling, enjoyable, and an important way to spend your life.

A Lifelong Educator

Nancy Lobell has worked in the field of education longer than she hasn’t, and the key to her longevity has undoubtedly been her aptitude – and eagerness – to learn from others.  “After 41 years in education, I’m still learning,” she says.  “My career has been long and fulfilling because I’ve learned from other people and passed that learning along to others.”

Today you can find Ms. Lobell, a former teacher in the Long Island public school system, at the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), preparing graduate students for a career in teaching.  While other master’s programs often have students focus on theory first and then fulfill the student teaching portion of the requirement, the STEP program integrates the practical and the theoretical at the same time for an entire year.

“STEP is an intense program, but it should be because teaching is also intense,” says Ms. Lobell about the 12-month program leading to a Master of Arts and a preliminary teaching credential.  “The reality is that teaching is hard work and a very complex task.”

Ms. Lobell serves as a resource to students, providing guidance and sharing her own experiences as a math teacher with novice teachers.  A firm believer in the importance of mentoring, when she arrived at Stanford in 2000 one of her first responsibilities was to serve as a university supervisor in the Stanford program.  “When I first started teaching I had a colleague who became my mentor.” she says.  “I’ve been fortunate to have many mentors throughout my career.”

Today as a clinical associate at STEP she mentors other university supervisors as well as beginning teachers at Stanford University’s partner schools.  Every Wednesday evening she conducts a small seminar with four of the STEP graduate students.  “We just get together and talk,” she says.  “The students have the opportunity to discuss the experiences they are having in their classrooms and they learn to be professional colleagues to each other.”

In addition to her role as mentor, other responsibilities include supervising math teacher candidates, connecting the University to field placements, working with classroom teachers and administrators in local schools, observing first and second year STEP alums, and providing curricular support.  “I really enjoy every aspect of my job,” she says, “especially the parts that involve being back in the classroom.”

“A lot of people are impressed by the name Stanford University, but my 25 plus years of experience as a public school teacher were just as, if not more, important to my professional growth,” says Ms. Lobell, whose career in education began over four decades ago.

After teaching her first two years in California, in 1971 she embarked on a teaching career in Long Island, New York, in the Port Washington Public School District.  At the same time, she pursued another venture – a master’s degree in education, which she received from Adelphi in 1973.  “I can still remember sitting in graduate classes discussing math problems with my classmates,” she says.  “My time at Adelphi was really enjoyable.”

At Port Washington, she savored the opportunity to team teach and engage with fellow teachers in collaborative, interdisciplinary planning.  She attributes this experience to fueling her continued growth as an educator.  “My colleagues were smart and they challenged me intellectually on a daily basis,” she says.  “The cohort of teachers with whom I have worked has played an integral role in my life.”

“I have learned so much from my students and colleagues throughout the years that I taught in the public school system,” she says.  “When I came to Stanford I learned much of the theory that I had already internalized it in the classroom…I learned some of the language to describe what I had been doing for 25 years.”

“My career at Stanford has been very rewarding,” she says of the last decade she has spent at STEP, working among a community of new and experienced teachers, mentors, and professors who are committed to helping further the professional growth and development of teachers.  “The vision of STEP captures the essence of my beliefs about education,” she says, “and it describes my life’s work.”

In her free time, Ms. Lobell enjoys gardening, swimming, and jogging, but her favorite hobby is by far spending time with her family and being a grandmother.  Ms. Lobell and her husband live in Portola Valley, California and have a son, daughter, and five grandsons.  When they shoot hoops at the local schoolyard, they practice learning their percentages with Grandma.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
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