Humboldt State University

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Education Faculty Nora Wynne: 2021 California Teacher of the Year

RECOGNIZED FOR HER INNOVATION during a challenging educational climate, Humboldt State University School of Education instructor and alumna Nora Wynne (‘94, Biology, ‘10, M.A. Education) was named one of five California Teachers of the Year in 2021.

Wynne’s path to her education career started when she moved from Paso Robles north for college, studying Biology and Botany at HSU. “In my first class, the instructor took us on ‘the old growth shuffle,’ hiking in and around stands of old growth forests near campus,” says Wynne. “It made me love the forests and the mountains and the rugged coast. My undergraduate science classes are definitely what made me fall in love with Humboldt County and settle here for good.“

After graduating in 1994, Wynne headed to Guatemala with the Peace Corps, an experience that opened her eyes to the power of education and inspired her career in bilingual education.

“I saw how education could liberate people from dire poverty,” says Wynne, who was also the Humboldt County Teacher of the Year in 2020. She has taught Spanish at Arcata-area schools since 1999 and currently teaches Spanish at McKinleyville Middle School and serves as the Spanish immersion coordinator in the McKinleyville Union School District.

Wynne has been an instructor in HSU’s Secondary Education Credential Program since 2000. A perpetual learner, she earned a Master of Arts in Education from HSU in 2010. She also brings a global lens to her curriculum with a focus on educating students about racism and homophobia.

Nora sitting in front of some trees with a light brown sweater on

Beloved Spanish teacher and School of Education instructor Nora Wynne was named a 2021 California Teacher of the Year.

HSU’s Secondary Credential Program is foundational to Wynne’s identity as a teacher. With multicultural issues at the hub of the program, she and her HSU colleagues put the barriers facing California students—race, class, sexuality, and language—at the heart of their curriculum.

“We have a strong foundation in equity in the classroom,” says Wynne. “It helps me to put theory into practice with every student.”