Degrees and Certifications:
My name is Nikolas Tsolomitis, and I feel fortunate to be a part of the wonderful Sakai family (again) this year!
I am what you might call homegrown talent: I went through the Bainbridge Island School District from second grade on and graduated from BHS in 2007. After I graduated, I chose to pursue academics over athletics and attended Gonzaga University (where athletics still played a rather large portion of my life). I completed my undergraduate work and graduated in the spring of 2011 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Religious Studies. I loved GU so much I decided to do my graduate work there as well. I completed my thirteen month Masters in Initial Teaching in July of 2012. I was fortunate to be a part of the Woodward staff during the fall 2013 semester and joined the Sakai family full-time in 2014.
I believe in creating a positive classroom environment that is focused on providing fun lessons that challenge students to do better. I am a true believer that students do better when they feel that the teacher is invested in them and their success. I will challenge you to do better when I know you can do better, and help you out when you are struggling. I will constantly try to find ways to make the content relevant to your lives. I want to challenge each of you to discover what you are passionate about and act on it. For me, it was a trip to Washington, D.C. when I was in sixth grade. I went to all these museums and monuments and other places and was fascinated by the history, the magnificent architecture, the skill of everyone involved, and the vast knowledge that was available.
My focus for this school year will be centered around two components: growth and respect. Students should focus not just on improving all their skills but also developing grit and resiliency. These are important skills that will serve them well in life and in their academic career. We don't want to hear that a student is bad at a subject or can't do something. Rather, we want them to realize that learning is a process that requires effort. By putting forth the required effort, students will see growth and personal achievement. The second component is important given the current world climate. I will consistently try to demonstrate what respect looks like and use classroom disruptions and other similar events as teaching moments. Students will see that class and life go more smoothly when everyone is being respectful of each other. We will be accepting of people's interests, ways of dressing, personal challenges, opinions, and other components of an individual's identity. We will be silent when walking through the halls so as not to disrupt other classes from learning. I will pay attention to your word choice and my own because it is so important to clearly communicate in this day and age (and, despite what you may have heard, it's not JUST when students ask if they can use the restroom). We will work together to make sure discussions do not devolve into arguments or personal attacks on each other.
I also enjoy reading many fantasy and science fiction books. My two favorite series are the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson and the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. Other notable favorites include John Grisham novels, the Robert Langdon books, Harry Potter, and historical fictions and adaptations.
I enjoy everything related to two of the greatest sports in the world: baseball and soccer. I love my Seattle Mariners (even though they break my heart more often than not) and recently became a season-ticket holder with them. I love to support the Seattle Sounders, as well as watching the Seattle Seahawks dominate during football season. I am a passionate Gonzaga basketball fan and can be found sporting at least one GU-related article of clothing every game day during the basketball season. I also am a big FC Barcelona and Real Madrid fan and root for Portugal during the World Cup.
More than anything, I am myself. Too often I see people conforming to fit in with their friends and regretting it later. My room is decorated with a mix of historical items, nerdy tributes, and sports memorabilia... a great reflection of who I am and what I enjoy. I want to encourage those around me to be who they want to be because being you is so much better than being what someone else wants you to be.
So I encourage you to take the time we have together to walk down this path and discover an incredible, rich past. I encourage you to look for connections between what we are learning and your life or the world around you. I encourage you to do more research on your own. I'm always willing to take time out of my day to see the efforts that students took above and beyond the call of duty. I encourage you to keep an open mind because you don't want to close any doors yet. These are important times, and you are becoming an even more unique person with each passing day.
I look forward to seeing you in class and being a part of your amazing journey of discovery and learning!