Influencer of the Week: DiAnna Neilson, Bridgewater Middle School

DiAnna Neilson is valued for her positivity and willingness to help others.

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  • | 4:15 p.m. January 28, 2020
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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DiAnna Neilson is revered at Bridgewater Middle School for her positivity, willingness to lend a helping hand and for always having a smile on her face. The hard-working instructor always encourages her students to be role models and has helped build a positive culture on campus by building strong relationships with both students and faculty.

What do you love most about your school?

I love that Principal (Andrew) Jackson’s focus is on developing relationships with our students, colleagues and community. I love coming to school and feeling like I am a part of something much bigger than myself …something truly special. I love that I am not an island but a piece of the continent.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love being around the kids. There is such an incredible energy in middle school that can’t be replicated anywhere else. I never take a day for granted.

What made you want to take on this job?

After many years of working in the hotel industry in Las Vegas, I began feeling like I wasn’t making a difference in the world. My hotel manager would often tell me that he could see me as a teacher. A seed was planted that eventually led me to pursue a career in education and I have never looked back.

What motivates you and pushes you to do your best?

I care deeply about the students and their development. I want them to succeed. I don’t ever want to fall short of what they need me to be.

What’s the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done for you?

This may not sound significant, but when a student yells my name across the courtyard and waves because they are excited to see me — I just don’t think it gets any better than that.

What’s your favorite place to eat?

I love Red Robin. Bottomless fries. Need I say more?

If you could take a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? 

I have lived in Florida for almost five years now and have yet to go on a cruise. I don’t much care where I would go, as long as I have my family with me and could enjoy all of the amenities of the cruise ship!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I don’t particularly desire a superpower. Can I just have a lightsaber? Those are just super cool!

Cats, dogs or some other pet?

I don’t have any pets although I am a bird lover. I love the bright, beautiful colors on birds and their sweet songs.

What is your favorite sports team to cheer for?

I honestly don’t follow sports, but I really do enjoy the basketball games at Bridgewater! Go Bobcats!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to spend time with my family. I especially love to swim and enjoy spending countless hours with them at our community pool in the summers.

If you were trapped on a deserted island and can only take three items with you, what would you bring and why?

Aside from wanting to bring my family I would bring a “My Pillow,” an air mattress, and a comfortable blanket. I have been camping and am not one for sleeping on the ground. Give me a good night sleep and I will have a good day no matter what the circumstance.

What was your favorite book growing up?

My favorite book growing up and to this day is Where the Sidewalk Ends. The poems are so much fun to read and the drawings in ink still make me laugh and reel me in.

What is your favorite sports team to cheer for?

I honestly don’t follow sports but I really do enjoy the basketball games at Bridgewater! Go Bobcats!

Do you have any fun talents or hobbies?

I love to sing but rarely do it in front of people. I recently got into making cards and find it fun and a great way to let someone know I care.

If you could put any four musicians on an alternate Mount Rushmore, who would it be? 

I am such a total product of the 80’s!  I would have to say: Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis, & Whitney Houston



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