October’s Top Notch Teacher: Nick Slusser

Whether working as a teacher or coach, Holmen special education teacher Nick Slusser works hard to make a difference in his students’ lives.

“I am so blessed with my job,” Slusser said. “I love my job.”

Nick Slusser always knew he wanted to be a teacher.

“That was an easy one for me,” he said.

He realized early on in his career he wanted to focus in on special education, adding, “I realized out of any kid in any school, they needed the strongest advocates for them.”

He prepares high schoolers for adult life through Project Live.

“We like him, and he likes us, too,” student Mai Houat Hao said.

Several years ago, he also helped start an Adaptive Sports League for his students. On the court and in the classroom, he’s anything but easy on his students and athletes.

“He’s really tough teacher and a coach,” student Anthony Tressic said.

“Yes, they have special needs; however, that’s who they are,” Slusser said. “I treat them as human beings, and that’s just their personality and we work with that. I don’t give them that much slack.”

Slusser pushes students to their limits.

“He tells everyone to run and hustle and get the ball and stuff,” Tressic said.

“That goes without saying there’s challenges,” Slusser said, but those challenges aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

“I’m thankful those come up every day, because that’s how we learn.”

“Just keep trying over and over again and keep on doing it,” Tressic said.

When students do reach their goal, may it be winning a game or landing a job, Slusser said they don’t miss a celebration.

“It’s a ball,” he said.

“I love that teacher so much,” Hao said.

It’s not game over, however, once students reach a finish line.

“I think when they reach that goal, they don’t realize that because they’re always looking at the next one. It’s more of an objective; there’s no big goal,” Slusser said. “The ultimate goal is happiness, and they’re achieving that all the time.”

Slusser said after his students graduate, they stay in touch with him, including one of his former students who is now one of his best friends and assistant coach.