Lincoln Unified teacher resigns after being accused of using "N" word

Sierra Middle School located at 6768 Alexandria Place in Stockton on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023.
Sierra Middle School located at 6768 Alexandria Place in Stockton on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

It took less than 48 hours for a Lincoln Unified teacher to resign after a public attack on the educator for allegedly writing the "N" word to describe one of her students.

"While Lincoln Unified School District will continue to address the issues and harm resulting from the incident at one of our schools, we can confirm that the teacher has resigned from employment with our district," district spokesperson Tyler Heberle said Friday.

Parents spoke out at a Lincoln Unified school board meeting Wednesday, bringing light to a photo taken by a student. Liz Manipol-Lee told trustees that her daughter, a student in Kelly Nordstrom's class, saw the teacher write the racial slur on a seating chart. The slur was above a Black student's photograph, Manipol-Lee said. Her daughter confronted Nordstrom. It's unknown how that conversation went down.

"She said she was taking notes," Manipol-Lee said, on the verge of tears at the podium. "I understand that children were able to see this."

In a photo sent to The Record, the photo appears to be edited, with student names and individual photos being blurred and the slur written with quotation marks around it.

Ironically, Nordstrom began teaching the cultural awareness and diversity class at Sierra Middle School in August 2022. Parents said they were disappointed that a teacher who was supposed to foster cultural awareness in students could do the opposite.

"There is something missing when the teacher of a diversity class feels comfortable to write that," Manipol-Lee said.

It remains unconfirmed that the teacher wrote the words or that it was in her handwriting. The Record has been unable to reach the former Sierra teacher.

Amy Portello Nelson, a Stockton mother, said it was "completely inappropriate for her to write out that particular slur directly above the student's picture and leave that chart around for other students to see and photograph."

"To add insult to injury, this teacher is their cultural awareness and diversity teacher ... the cultural insensitivity and sense of privilege in this situation is blatant," Nelson said.

Heberle said the district is working to secure a new teacher for the class and will provide support to students during the transition.

"We unequivocally condemn racism, discrimination, and exclusion of all kinds," Heberle said. "We continue to be committed to teaching tolerance, respect, and kindness."

Record reporter Hannah Workman covers news in Stockton and San Joaquin County. She can be reached at or on Twitter @byhannahworkman. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at

This article originally appeared on The Record: Lincoln Unified teacher out after N Word controversy