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Stillwater’s Leisha Moore-Nelson – Teacher of the Month – Presented by Simmons Bank

Leisha Moore-Nelson is a multi-subject powerhouse at Stillwater High School who has been going strong as a special education teacher for the last three decades. 

“Becoming a special education teacher was a natural path for me,” Nelson said. “Although it can be very challenging and I love problem-solving challenges. I work with students who are significantly impacted. It is a powerful thing to watch my students work through daily obstacles and overcome them.  I love being working with my kiddos and learning how their world functions and how best I can serve their individual needs. I love putting the pieces together to make the puzzle fit for each individual student.” 

Nelson was born in Arizona, and she grew up in Zafra, Oklahoma. She attended high school in Smithville. She left Stillwater in 1988 and “taught all over the West,” then returned home in 2018 after a divorce. 

As for her teaching philosophy, Nelson believes that students should be able to communicate freely in a trusting atmosphere. 

“I believe that the classroom should be a safe, warm community for students to be able to express themselves freely and build relationships,” she said. “Establishing connections and building relationships builds trust. I hope to establish relationships with my students that will stay with them long after they leave my classroom. A safe environment provides a place where students feel invited to share their ideas and take risks. I always want to provide an educational environment where students can grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.”

When it comes to her five-year plan, Nelson was quick to mention she isn’t on one. 

“I hope to be sitting on the sandy beach of the Red River sipping sweet tea and watching the waves go by,” she said. “I am on a three-year plan.” 

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