Nicole Sousa Receives 2018 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award
Posted On:
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Nicole Sousa
Nicole Sousa

CONGRATULATIONS to Nicole Sousa on being selected to receive the 2018 Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award. Sousa has been the Veterans Park Elementary School music teacher since 2009.  She currently teaches band, chorus, instrumental, general music and even has a section of digital literacy that she teaches to 5th graders.

Since 2012 Sousa has co-directed the annual Veterans Park drama club production; concentrating on the musical score and costumes, which she explains comes from a lifetime of involvement with the fine arts.   Sousa works tirelessly scheduling tryouts, making sure every student who auditions receives a part, ordering and making costumes, props and scenery, compiling folders with the appropriate lines for each part and organizes fundraisers for the drama club.  

This past year, Sousa co-organized a Read Across America event for all 4th and 5th grade students to help promote literacy. She also represents Veterans Park teachers at the monthly elementary PTO meetings and is actively involved in planning, preparing and executing the annual family night events at the school.

Starting on her first day at Veterans Park School, Sousa has worked diligently to build a robust music department that inspires and motivates students to follow their musical passion.  She encourages each and every student students to work their hardest and do their best both academically and musically.

“Nicole is an excellent teacher who has high expectations for all of her music students,” said Veterans Park reading teacher, Carol O’Shea, of her colleague. “She makes learning music fun and implements lessons which engage all learners. Her enthusiasm and love of music is both catchy and motivating.”

“Over the past few years, Sousa has also incorporated the use of Chromebooks into the music curriculum to infuse technology, and engage more students,” added O’Shea. “She is always trying new and innovative techniques with her students.”

When Veterans Park Principal, Melissa Knowles, learned of Sousa’s honor she proudly shared, “Nicole is an excellent teacher with a true passion for music education. Over the years, she has made it her mission to look for innovative ways to grow and develop students’ love for music, and has been a strong advocate for creating a well balanced curriculum for students around the arts.”

“It is because of her drive and determination that music and drama has become a huge part of our school’s culture, as well as in the community,” continued Knowles. “We are lucky to have Nicole here at Veterans Park School.”

Beyond the classroom Sousa has volunteered her time for the last six years at local churches as a substitute organist and singer.  She also fills in as a substitute CCD teacher, when needed.  On the weekends she travels to her hometown in Rhode Island to sing in the choir at her family’s church.

Sousa said she was overwhelmed and honored to have been selected for this award, “It's a huge privilege to be recognized for this award by my fellow colleagues. I feel so lucky to be able to work alongside some of the best teachers in our profession. They inspire me everyday to go above and beyond for our students and create a positive learning environment at Vets.”


Mrs. Knowles, Ms. Sousa, Dr. Gazda



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