SDE: 2003 Connecticut Teacher of the Year

2003 Connecticut Teacher of the Year

2003 Connecticut Teacher of the Year

Wendy Nelson Kauffman


About Wendy 

Wendy Nelson Kauffman is a history teacher and chair of the social studies department at Bloomfield High School, where she has taught classes in U.S. History, AP U.S. History, Latin American and Asian Studies, Contemporary Issues, and Humanities. Ms. Nelson Kauffman began her teaching career at Hamden High School in 1989 after working as a television reporter for four years. She left her TV job at WTNH in New Haven after discovering the thrill of teaching while volunteering as an adult-education tutor.

Now in her sixth year at Bloomfield High, she also serves as an advisor for the National Honor Society, a mentor for new teachers under the state's "BEST" program, a member of the graduation-requirements committee and co-chair of the NEASC accreditation committee.


Biographical Sketch

Last summer, Ms. Nelson Kauffman was accepted at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Teacher Institute, where she studied women reformers in the 19th Century and wrote lesson plans based on primary sources. She has also worked with teachers in nearby school districts, coordinating activities including a field trip to Old Sturbridge Village that included students from Hall and Conard high schools in West Hartford, and arranging a daylong event in which students from Bloomfield and West Hartford met with a Trinity College professor and engaged in a role-playing debate on slavery.

Ms. Nelson Kauffman also won a grant from CIGNA Corp. last year that allowed her students to travel to the Connecticut Historical Society and research primary sources on the topic of freedom during the lifetime of Bloomfield abolitionist Francis Gillette. The grant also provided for the school a computer, a digital camera and other materials students used to present their findings during a ceremony at CIGNA. In anticipation of the school band's spring performance of multi-cultural music, she and her students visited Ellis Island last year and then recreated the immigrant experience with props, activities, and role-playing for concertgoers as they entered the school.

Beyond academics, Ms. Nelson Kauffman has choreographed and danced with students in school theatrical productions.

Prior to joining the faculty at Bloomfield High School, she taught adult education for six years in New Haven, West Hartford, and Hartford.

Ms. Nelson Kauffman graduated with honors in 1983 from Dartmouth College and holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and a master's degree in history/social studies from Southern Connecticut State University.

She lives in West Hartford with her husband, Matthew Kauffman, and their two sons: David, 14, and Sam, 8.

Duties of the Connecticut Teacher of the Year 

The Connecticut Teacher of the Year and Teacher of the Year finalists serve as teacher-ambassadors for public education. They are appointed to various education advisory committees and become consultants to the Commissioner of Education. They present workshops; speak at education conferences and meetings; address student, civic, college and university, and governmental groups; and operate special programs in accordance with their interests and expertise. The Connecticut Teacher of the Year also represents the state at the national level - participating in national educational forums, National State Teacher of the Year Program planning and networking sessions, and U.S. Department of Education meetings.


Kim Wachtelhausen
State Coordinator
Connecticut Teacher of the Year Program
Bureau of Leadership Development, Equity and Excellence - Talent Office
Phone: (860) 713-6841

Content Last Modified on 3/2/2016 3:11:48 PM