Meet the teacher
Degrees and Certifications:
B.S. Collaborative Education K-6, Athens State University Associates Degree in Mental Health Technology, Calhoun Community College
Mrs. Denise Nash
I was born in Athens, Alabama and have lived here all my life. I married Jimmy Nash in 1972. We have two children, Jonathan Nash of Athens and Erika Carr of Montevallo. I have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I received an Associates Degree in Mental Health Technology in 1973 and was employed with the Wallace Developmental Center. I implemented behavior modification programs with individuals with intellectual disabilities.
After my son was born, I chose to be a stay at home mom. When the children were older, my husband had an injury that resulted in several major back surgeries. He was out of work for several months so I had to supplement the family income. I decided to substitute teach in Athens City Schools. I loved working with children of all ages. In 1995 I was employed with ACS as a special education aide to assist Deborah Camp Mitchell and Wanda Fry at Cowart Elementary School. My experiences and their inspiration encouraged me to go back to school and get a teaching ceritificate.
In 2000, I graduated from Athens State University with a degree in Collaborative Education K-6 and was employed as the Title I teacher at Cowart Elementary School. I had several opportunities to transfer into special education, but I loved working with at-risk students through the Title program. In 2011, Janet Poole encouraged me to transfer to special education so I did. I have never regretted that decision since special education was my first love. I have worked with students with a variety of disabilities--autism, dyslexia and specific learning disabilities, intellectual, social/emotional, vision, hearing, other health impairments. I am Orton-Gillingham trained and use multisensory techniques in my instruction.
It was exciting when Cowart Elementary became SPARK Academy. The experiences that SPARK students are receiving are invaluable. They are not just mastering state academic standards, but they are learning to collborate with each other and develop critical thinking skills. This has been great for my special education students because it has allowed them to refine their social skills in the classroom and to build self-confidence. I have been able to implement STEM lessons in my small group instruction as well as support project-based learning at each grade level. The atmosphere at SPARK is like a family. We are all working together to prepare our students for the world of the future. I was privileged to be selected as SPARK Teacher of the Year for 2018-2019.