Meet Nico Sheets

Meet Nico Sheets
Dani Seiss

As part of our ongoing series Meet Our GDS Faculty and Staff, we are excited to present: Meet Nico Sheets!

Read the Q&A below to learn more about Nico.

Primary Role: High School Spanish Teacher

Pronouns: he/him

Years at GDS: One year down and halfway through year two 

What do you love about GDS?
The relationships we build with our colleagues and our students; instilling the necessary skills to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world; empathy for making mistakes; how all of us are striving to be better human beings each day, with grace and humility

Nico with Duo at ACTFL 2022

Why do you do your job?
I do my job because I feel a deep sense of gratitude for and satisfaction by connecting with those around me, especially those who may feel excluded due to cultural and/or linguistic barriers. These students are amazing humans, and they are the main reason I do my job—they are simply the best.

A favorite part of your job?
One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting with students and making meaningful connections between their interests and their specific Spanish course. In particular, by leading students on cultural and empathetic journeys in and outside of class, I feel that I am building a community of global citizens who are linguistically and culturally competent to change the world in positive ways. Also, I love the inter-departmental collaboration and colleague support. I feel that I am growing in leaps and bounds as a teacher, even with over a decade of teaching experience before I arrived. 

Your work style in a few words?
Chaos that leads to brilliance. Let me explain. I receive so many wonderful ideas as I perform research for my courses, and then I collaborate with fellow colleagues. Then, after sitting on many ideas, without a seeming path forward, I make a decision and run with it. Most of the time, with consistent effort, these turn out to be wonderful growing opportunities for my students and for me. In the classroom, if I am doing most of the talking, it is not a great day. Rather, I expect the students to lead the classroom discussions, make mistakes, converse with one another, and grow as leaders.  I allow the classroom to feel a bit messy, because learning is messy. Together, the students and I grow and construct a thriving community. 

A top hope/wish for your students and/or colleagues?
I strongly desire for students to learn from their mistakes and to grow. Part of the grading system is to gauge where one is currently at, and to make plans to grow. I sincerely hope that grades can be taken as a snapshot of learning, and a tool for growth, not an indication of their identity and future prospects. As a teacher, I also am learning and growing. Education is not a perfect science. Finally, I wish everyone an amazing end to this school year, especially all of my seniors who are antsy about their future after graduation. You've got this!

Personal passions/hobbies/pastimes?
I love musical theater, singing, playing the piano, going on walks in nature, finding and reading books that are mind-provoking and beautifully written. I also love to go on runs. 

Favorite movies: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Playtime (1967)
Favorite singers: Melendi, Ricardo Arjona, Kany García, Ha*Ash
Favorite countries I’ve traveled to: Guatemala, Spain, Cuba, Mexico

Nico and family at Rome Temple Visitors Center

Tell us about your family.
I have three wonderful children: Sophia (11), Andrew (8), and Aurora (4). Each child was born where I received a degree. Sophia was born in Provo, Utah where I earned a BA in Spanish and Theatre Arts Studies. Andrew was born in Lawrence, Kansas where I earned an MA in Spanish. Finally, Aurora was born in Miami where I earned a PhD in Literary, Cultural, and Linguistic Studies in Spanish. Each of them are growing too quickly. They love to play card games, go on walks in nature, and watch America's Got Talent, to name only a few things. My spouse, Gloria, is originally from Guatemala, and we have been married for over 12 years. We were married in the Salt Lake Temple on July 1, 2011. We travel frequently to Guatemala to spend time with family during the summer months. She is currently a para-educator for Montgomery County Public Schools, and loves attending to latinx youth who need someone culturally sensitive and linguistically competent enough to guide them during their educational journey in the States. 

One thing about yourself your students/colleagues/others probably don't know?
I once performed the national anthem by myself at a Yankees/Royal game while in high school.

One thing on your life "bucket list" you've already accomplished?
Finding an amazing and fulfilling career where I feel appreciated by my students, and where I can make a positive impact with my interest and love for the Spanish-speaking world, and its accompanying language, literature, cultures, and histories—and all of this in such a rich community like Washington, DC!

Something on your life “bucket list” you have yet to accomplish?
Backpack and camp in the mountains for an extended period of time.


Meet Nico Sheets
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