Social Studies Teacher Adam Nelson Hitting His Stride at North Atlanta


Sarah Nelson

Human (Geography) Connection: Second-year North Atlanta teacher Adam Nelson is making plenty of positive waves in the Social Studies department with his innovative teaching style and strong rapport with his students.

Social studies teacher Adam Nelson is closing in on his second year at North Atlanta, and it’s quite clear that he is very much hitting his stride in his new school. His students say they love Nelson’s creative teaching styles, innovative techniques that help them memorize materials in his content-heavy class. Nelson teaches AP Human Geography to freshmen and — in this endeavor — collaborates with his social studies colleagues Eleanor Brookins, who also teaches AP Human Geography, and William Donovan, who teaches IB History.

Though new to North, Nelson is a teaching veteran and now is in his ninth year in the profession. Before moving to Atlanta last year, he taught at a school in Lancaster, South Carolina on the high school level. Nelson, who grew up in Clemson, S.C, and attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia where he graduated with two degrees, a bachelor’s degree in geography and a master’s degree in teaching. 

As he entered college at USC, Nelson said his original career intent was to be in management for a sports franchise. Pursuant to that career, he initially was a declared  sports management major. He made a switch in major in college when he realized that he loved social studies and geography — and also that a teaching career seemed like something he might want to pursue. “In my years in school I never felt like I had a strong social studies teacher so I kind of thought I wanted to see if I could be the kind of teacher I always wanted for the subject,” he said. 

AP Human Geography is a class that is highly anticipated by the incoming freshman, and teaching new high school students a college-level class is never an easy task for the instructor leading things. However, Nelson seems to have conquered this task with ease. Right off the bat, he was able to create a fun and welcoming environment for students to learn and thrive. It’s a daunting task to teach a rigorous class that leads students to a high-stakes end-of-course test that follows international standards. Nelson’s students say he’s readily handling that tough job. “He really puts so much into what he’s doing and I really feel like I’m getting the material down,” said sophomore Ella McCabe. “The test is going to be hard, but this course and the way Mr. Nelson teaches it — it’s all going to get us all to the right place.”  

Both Nelson and long-standing AP Human Geography teacher Brookins have become somewhat of a power teaching duo at North Atlanta. Both are lively teachers who care greatly about their students and about teaching their content in engaging and entertaining ways. From the day he started at North, Nelson had students positively chattering about the funny memes he included in his PowerPoints to spice up his  presentations. Nelson credits Brookins and his other colleague Donovan for making his landing at North Atlanta a particularly easy one. “They have made the transition here so much easier for me and I really appreciate them for that,” he said. 

Nelson is a teacher who exemplifies — and who embraces — the true Dub spirit. His positive attitude and effective teaching styles make things fresh for his students, whether he’s giving his all in Room 10117  or in a Zoom School platform. Teach on, Mr. Nelson!