Maria Nichols

Maria is a seasoned educator with over 30 years working in the classroom and leading schools across California. Maria is a talented author and speaker and is ready to partner with you to set new direction and blaze new trails.

Maria Nichols is an educator with over thirty years of experience, ranging from elementary classroom teacher, literacy coach, administrator, grants writing and implementation, to her work as a national consultant and author. Maria’s passion is the development of thoughtful, student centered teaching and learning inside classrooms alive with purposeful talk.

Maria’s focus on the development of talk began during her role as an elementary demonstration teacher.  For three years, her work in the San Diego Unified Elementary Literacy Professional Development Center hosted from 20 to 200 participants daily. Maria lead the collaborative exploration of literacy instructional approaches with a constructivist, dialogic base.  This work, and her previous twelve years as a primary teacher, fueled the co-authoring of Teaching Literacy in First Grade (Corwin, 2005).  Maria’s focus on constructive teaching and talk grew as she transitioned to a K-6 literacy coach, resulting in the publication of Comprehension Through Conversation (Heinemann, 2006), Talking About Texts (Shell, 2008), and Expanding Comprehension Through Multigenre Text Sets (Scholastic, 2009).

In her work as a Central Office Resource Teacher, Project Manager and Director of School Innovations for San Diego Unified, Maria’s focus expanded to include the design and implementation of elementary Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) teaching and learning.  Through her grant writing and implementation, she’s led professional development and curriculum writing focused on constructing interdisciplinary, inquiry based units incorporating Design Thinking.  Embedded in this work is a focus on processes for developing student’s ability to read, think and talk among multiple perspectives to broaden their inquiry and deepen understanding of issues with local impact and global reach.

Maria’s recent emphasis focuses on teacher’s growing ability to lead dynamic, student-centered learning.  She advocates for predictable structures for developing comfort with the unpredictable nature of student inquiry, which is the focus of her newest publication, Building Bigger Ideas (Heinemann, 2019.)

Maria’s current work includes offering keynotes and leading sessions at national conferences, and working side-by-side with districts, school sites and teachers as they develop their vision, design for change, and engage daily with students.

In addition to her published books, Maria has also authored several articles and blog posts, including “Real Talk, Real Teaching” (Ed Leadership, 2014), and “Teaching About and Through Purposeful Talk” (The Utah Journal of Literacy, 2017).

You can follow her on Twitter at @MariaNichols45.

Maria is also an accomplished author and speaker.

Below are a few of her published works.

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