Meet Mr. Nick Spezia /PreK4 – 8 Lead Special Education Teacher / The Learning Center
“We’re all in this mission together—to see our kids make progress. It’s the little things, those aha moments.”
After graduating from St. Louis University with a degree in marketing, Mr. Nick Spezia began his career in education by working one-on-one with a student with autism. “I got to see him make progress with language and life skills over the course of the year. I knew that’s what I wanted my career to be.” Following this experience, Nick has dedicated his career to working with students with autism and intellectual disabilities.
Nick joined KIPP DC in 2015 as a founding teacher at The Learning Center. The Learning Center serves 77 students in grades PreK4 through 8 who are currently enrolled in KIPP DC schools and whose Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) indicate that they require specialized instruction and related services. As a lead teacher at The Learning Center, with over ten years of classroom experience, Nick loves watching his students develop socially and academically. “We’re all in this mission together—to see our kids make progress. It’s the little things, those aha moments.”
In addition to investing in student progress, Nick enjoys working with his team—which includes a co-teacher, members of the student support team, and other members of his Professional Learning Community. The staff spends one day each month to diving into data. During this time, the team analyzes academic and behavioral data and thought partners on solutions. “This helps develop me as a teacher and a professional. What am I doing that’s working and what’s not?” he explains.
Through professional development, Nick has enjoyed increasing joy and rigor in his classroom. “It’s helped me find joy and those fun, exciting, moments. I appreciate having autonomy over my lessons and bringing individuality to them rather than drilling and skilling, while still keeping rigor.”
His advice for teachers interested in joining KIPP DC? “It’s an opportunity to work with educators who have a similar mindset as you. We are not just closing the achievement gap, but building the whole child.”