Nicole Cote
Nicole Cote

August 3, 2017

For Carroll High School’s new ninth-grade physical science teacher, Nicole Cote, Carroll is a clean slate and a chance to start new.

Originally from Irwin, Cote graduated from Charter Oak-Ute High School before earning a degree in chemistry, with an emphasis on physics, general science and Earth science. Cote was always fascinated with science, but for her, the decision to teach came later, she said.

A former middle-school teacher and coach inspired her to pursue science as a career because he made it fun — and that’s what she tries to do, Cote said.

“I’ve always been interested in science,” she said. “The teacher part came a little bit later with wanting to be able to help kids. There are some classes I struggled with in high school. Trying to relate to the kids and help them understand is what I try to do.”

Cote’s teaching career began at the Walnut Community Schools in Walnut, near Atlantic. There, she taught middle- and high-school science for five years. Then her career brought her back to Charter Oak-Ute, where she taught middle- and high-school science for another nine years.

At Carroll High, she’ll teach just one grade and one subject for the first time, a change she believes will give her the chance to use her physical science skills and provide her students with a better education, she said.

“For me, it’s kind of like a steppingstone,” Cote said. “I’ve been in small schools so long — it’s kind of like I’m graduating up to a bigger school.”

Cote’s husband, Andy, has worked at Farner-Bocken in Carroll as a put-away supervisor for nine years, so she is familiar with the town, but she and her kids, who will be attending Carroll schools, have plenty of new people to meet.

Cote’s son, Kadyn, will be in first grade, and her daughter Payton will be in seventh grade. Cote’s other daughter, Maddie, will be starting college this fall at the University of Northern Iowa to study elementary education.

Cote said she is excited to start another school year at a new school. Carroll provides her with the opportunity to find new ways to interest students, whether by using new technologies or finding new experiments to try. New students keep her on her toes with new questions and new perspectives, she said.

“It’s like a clean slate for me,” Cote said. “I’ve taught middle school and high school all my life. Now I’m just high school. Nobody else has met me or knows my teaching style, so it’s kind of like I’m starting new.