While working in Los Angeles' rapidly growing charter school movement, Rachelle Nelson discovered that there was nothing more rewarding to her than helping students discover their own love of learning and helping them develop a true confidence in themselves. Using a mix of kind words, high expectations, and tough love, Ms. Nelson has built a track record of raising standards and getting results in every classroom and school she has led. Her unshakeable belief that all children can succeed at the highest levels and her commitment to her own professional development have put thousands of her students on the path to college.
In 2005, Ms. Nelson began to concentrate her efforts serving at-risk youth and children with learning challenges. Working at her first start-up charter school in Southern California, Ms. Nelson built the special education department, introducing a full range of services and instructional practices. In Ms. Nelson's view, the best of what we know about education should be offered to all students and not be reserved as it is in too many traditional public schools for the elite students only. Accordingly, Ms. Nelson instituted a program of professional development for teachers that centered on establishing high expectations for all students, creating an inclusive classroom, and implementing a co-teaching model.
Finding success and a passion for this work, Ms. Nelson has spent over a decade working to reform education for at-risk youth. Early in her career, Ms. Nelson taught English and math at the middle school level for several years, and has taught Special Education at nearly every level from early elementary to high school. For the past five years, Ms. Nelson has worked her way up through the administration ranks. Most recently, she served as the Director of Intervention and Students Services for a K-12th grade charter school and as interim Principal of the middle school. She initiated the English Language Learners program, established the Response to Instruction intervention program, facilitated professional development, and restructured the special education department. Seeing the progress of the school and the department, the local district named Ms. Nelson the chair of its Special Education Committee for district charter schools in order to spread her best practices to all district charter schools.
Ms. Nelson is a passionate hands-on leader committed to serving the families of Plainfield, New Jersey. She will draw on her experience as an instructional leader in urban communities, and implement a research-based and proven system of education that will prepare all students to excel and graduate from the best colleges and universities in the nation.
Rachelle Nelson holds an undergraduate degree in Middle School Education and a
Master's degree in Special Education.