Top teacher: Northridge teacher finds ways to reward student performance

Name: Karen Forrer

School District: Northridge Local

Grade you teach: 11 and College Credit (through Sinclair) which incorporates 7-12

What is your favorite subject? English

What/Who inspired you to become a teacher? I grew up in Northridge and graduated from there, so I was fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful teachers throughout my schooling. My senior English teacher, Carolyn Nikolai, was my greatest inspiration, and she & I still communicate today.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? Building relationships with my students and watching them grow, academically and in many other ways.

What is a memorable experience you’ve had while teaching? In 30 years in the classroom, I’ve had many memorable experiences. I once rewarded a class for its performance by taking them all to see the movie Space Jam. I also coached our Academic Quiz Team for several years and our trips to national competitions were some of my greatest memories. We went to Washington DC, San Antonio, TX, Chicago, IL and Malibu, CA.

How have you maneuvered online classes and distance learning? It has definitely been challenging, mostly due to the struggle getting some students engaged. I have used Google Classroom, but spent quite a bit of time messaging, emailing and texting students & parents to encourage, clarify and explain. Many of my students were very successful because they stayed in communication with me and their other teachers.

How can families adapt to be successful during these challenging educational times? The most important thing our families can do is ensure that their children are engaged and participating in all activities, whether they are in person or virtual. Be involved, interact with educators and the community, and take advantage of any support that is offered. We all wish to return to “normal,” but until that time, we need to actively support one another. Regardless of the circumstances, one of the most important elements of academic success is being in an environment that supports and encourages learning.

The Dayton Daily News is profiling educators in our region as they navigate through these challenging times. To nominate an educator, email

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