Salwa Nethagani shares her passion for science and discovery with her students and inspires them to become inquisitive about how science relates to the real world. She finds creative ways to teach at all ability levels by implementing hands on activities and student-centered projects.
Ms. Nethagani was born in India, raised in Kuwait, and then settled in the United States. After graduating from high school in Kuwait, she moved back to India to pursue higher education. She completed her undergrad in Life Sciences and Biotechnology and started working on her Master’s in Macrobiology when war broke out between Kuwait and Iraq. Her family had to move back to India, losing all their possessions. Ms. Nethagani dropped our of her Master’s program to support the family and started tutoring children, where her passion for teaching began.
After a year, she went back to college and obtained Bachelor’s of Education and Child Psychology and started teaching biology, chemistry, and physics at the high school level in India. She was the one of the youngest delegates to participate on a panel for XII annual B.A.S.E symposium on space research in India and the youngest teacher to be an evaluator on board exams.
She returned to Kuwait where she was elected as the best teacher of the year, and then moved back to India to open up her own teaching institute for 9th to 12th grades, and a spoken languages institute for adults. She was the CEO and Principal of the institution and many students that passed out from this institute are doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
In 2009, Hartford Public Schools came to India to recruit science and math teachers to teach in the district. She was selected with three other teachers to come to US to teach in this district.
Coming from India, where the student culture is different, Ms. Nethagani put in long hours and with her tireless efforts and dedication to her profession and students. She learned the new ways of teaching in America by watching movies and doing extensive research on strategies that will help to motivate and engage her students. She taught at High School Inc, which used to be called “Insurance and Finance Academy and has been teaching at at New Visions since 2017 teaching 6-11 grades science.
By the end of her first year, she became one of the more popular teachers in the building. She started dance club, cooking club and science club. She brought in many speakers. She played a key role in closing the achievement gap in CAPT exams. She served on the school Governance Council. She coordinated the participation of students in Junior Science & Humanities Symposium at UCONN.
She constantly improved herself by participating in the professional developments. She was chosen to take part in Da Vinci projects at UConn for three consequent years and worked alongside the engineers to learn strategies that can be used in the class room and adapted them in the classroom.
She is willing to go that extra mile for her students and cares deeply about them. She is equally adept at teaching high achievers and low performers. She has a standard of excellence as part of all lessons. She is an exceptional educator and lifelong learner. She can translate the most complex scientific concepts into explanations and simulations that students can comprehend.
If she is not in the classroom teaching students, you will find her volunteering in “Street Church” helping our homeless and social-emotionally challenged adult population on Saturdays in front of City Hall by listening to their stories and giving moral and spiritual encouragement. She organized a soup kitchen in her previous church that was feeding 120 homeless men, women and children every Sunday.
Not only is her passion to teach students, but also to reach out to those who have no voice and be their voice; to help those who are stuck in life to find their purpose in life.