A local educator recently picked up a national honor in Washington, D.C.

Darien High School Technology and Engineering Education Department Coordinator Jeromy Nelson was awarded the Connecticut Technology Education and Engineering Teacher of the Year Award from the International Technology and Engineering Education Association on March 3.

The award recognizes outstanding technology and engineering teachers who “will serve as models for their colleagues and who could form a leadership core to affect change in the field.” It is said to be one of the highest honors given to technology and education classroom teachers.

“It was really a big honor,” Nelson said. “One of the best things about it was that the recommendation letters for the award had to come from students and colleagues. As much as being recognized by an organization like that is a good thing, I took more to heart the fact that the people I work with every day wanted to recognize me.”

Nelson oversees technology, engineering, business and computers for grades 6 through 12 in the Darien Public Schools.

“Our kids are taught to think critically from an early age,” Nelson said.

And, because of the independent nature of the school system’s technology projects, Nelson said it’s crucial to cultivate a nurturing environment.

“It’s very important that they feel comfortable being able to talk to you,” he said. “Kids can be working on any number of things, so you have to form some connection to the students.”

Nelson has been teaching technology and engineering classes in Darien for 13 years.

“In all my classes it’s important to build a community,” Nelson said.

justin.papp@scni.com; dariennewsonline.com