Faculty Feature: Nicole Ager, Upper School chemistry teacher

Nicole Ager is our Upper School chemistry teacher and golf coach. Nicole is originally from a coastal town in Connecticut and holds a Bachelors degree in Chemistry and Education from Western New England University. She is currently halfway through a Masters degree in Chemistry with a specialization in Education from South Dakota State University. She began her teaching career at a public school outside of Boston and is now in her third year of teaching. Nicole and her husband, Ronny, live on campus and are an active part of the community here at Rabun Gap.

What made you choose to work at Rabun Gap?
I fell in love with Rabun Gap for many reasons. When arriving here, I was in awe with the beautiful mountains. Then, when I got onto campus, I realized the uniqueness and diversity of the students. I saw how I could grow, and how I could help others to grow, as we all learned from one another. It was exactly what I was looking for.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?  
If you asked me this question before my senior year of high school, I would have told you I was going to be an NCIS agent or a member of the Coast Guard. As it came down to decide start on a path for my future and after struggling a lot junior year, I decided I was going to be a teacher. I made this change because I wanted to let students know that it’s okay to struggle in a class but you always have to give it your best effort. I also wanted them to know that teachers love them no matter their class grade. I struggled in math, chemistry, and physics junior year, but I worked long hours with my teachers to try to understand the material, and I was forever grateful for them for not giving up on me. I knew of other teachers who gave up on students when they weren’t doing well, so I wanted to enter teaching as one of the positive teachers for students.

What do you like the most about teaching in the Upper School?  
I love the people in the Upper School. The students make me laugh and learn something every day, and my coworkers are so supportive. Both make being a part of this community so rewarding.
What were you like in High School?
In high school, I was a perfectionist who loved to learn. I spent many hours working on homework... perhaps even too many.  

What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom?  
I probably do too much outside of the classroom. My husband got me into dirt bike riding. Being a part of the middle school Florida Keys trip got me into stand up paddle boarding. North Georgia has inspired me to hike more.
What makes Rabun Gap special?
100% without a doubt the students make Rabun Gap special. This school wouldn’t be what it is without them. The uniqueness they all bring is unlike any other school I have been a part of. Seeing students from across the world be friends and work together to create amazing performances and projects, despite backgrounds, religions, etc. gives me faith in our future generation. I learn from and am inspired by the students every day.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone? 
I don’t think I’m that interesting, but the students seem to think that it’s pretty cool that I dirt bike.

What is your favorite memory of your time here so far?
Two great memories stand out -  I loved the fall day that I got to tell the girls golf team they were making it to the state championship. It was the first time the girls' golf program had made it and we had an incredible group of girls so it was really special to share the opportunity with them. I also enjoyed when I got to tell some of the boys on the golf team they made it to the state tournament. They were going to be the first RGNS boys to play in the state tournament. The happiness and joy of those days make them my favorite days here so far. (Though a close second would be mini golfing with the boys after the state tournament.)

How do you feel being a teacher at Rabun Gap is different than teaching elsewhere?
I learn so much more here than I have in the other school systems that I have been a part of. Almost every day, a student teaches me something about their culture, religion, country, or understanding of the world that opens my eyes and makes me a better person.
Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School is a private, coeducational day and boarding school for grades Pre-K through 12, located in Rabun Gap, GA. Centrally located between Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, and Asheville, NC, we combine our strong academic program, mountain setting, and Presbyterian heritage to inspire young people who are eager to learn and grow.

Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School does not discriminate regardless of race, color, religion, gender, disability, creed, or national origin.