Chris Wilcox, who serves as the head of the THS Art Department, said Nichols is “absolutely deserving” of the award.
“She is great with her students. They come out of her classes 10 times the artist they were when they went in,” said Wilcox. “She helps students grow their skills, and I’m glad she is part of our team. She is a teacher we wanted to have at THS for years before she came.”
Tooele High Vice-Principal Jared Small agreed that Nichols is an asset to the school.
“Students don’t have to know art to feel appreciated for what they can do. She sees the beauty in all the work of her students. She finds the positive and looks for ways to build on where students are at,” said Small.
Nichols has been working in education for 10 years and has been developing her art skills since she was a young child growing up in Southeastern Idaho.
She graduated with a Fine Arts degree from Ricks College, (Brigham Young University-Idaho), and then earned a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from BYU in Provo.
“At age eight, I knew I wanted to be a watercolorist,” said Nichols. “I currently study watercolor with master teachers, including Harold Petersen. I believe that if we paint what we know in the places we know, there is an authenticity about our work that speaks to others.”
She said she often tells students that art is not about talent but the work they put into it.
“Art is a learned skill, and it can be used to communicate something wonderful,” said Nichols.
She finds joy in watching her students progress in their art skills.
“I love my students’ ideas, enthusiasm, and even their quirkiness. I love coming to work every day. Their drive to create is amazing. I teach them to work as hard as they can and to do their best, not their neighbor’s best, but their own.”
Nichols currently teaches painting, drawing, and art foundations at THS. She also serves as the art club advisor.