Career educator named Batavia Citizen of the Year

  • Nanette "Nan" Phillips

    Nanette "Nan" Phillips

Updated 12/2/2019 7:20 PM

Batavia Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Citizen of the Year is most impressed by the spirit of the city.

"Living in Batavia is like being in a Hallmark movie," recipient Nanette "Nan" Phillips said Monday. "It's about community spirit."


She said it was "quite a surprise" to learn she had been named Citizen of the Year. Phillips will be honored at the Chamber's Inspire 2020: A Celebration of Those Who Inspire Us! awards event Jan. 23.

The Batavia Chamber also named CHIP IN Batavia as recipient of the Spirit of Batavia Award. The group has made significant contributions to the community, according to the release.

"I think the beauty of CHIP IN is that it is a progressive movement into fulfilling the needs of a segment of our community who are in need of support," Mayor Jeffery Schielke said of the honor.

A career educator, Phillips' community contributions also included volunteering with several civic groups.

Before retiring in 2011, Phillips taught fifth grade at Louise White School in Batavia and worked in the learning resource center there and at Hoover Wood School for more than 25 years, according to a Chamber news release.

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She taught teachers and students in the computer lab, using floppy disks on Apple IIE computers, before tablets replaced the lab.

Phillips credits Jim Nies, the district's director of technology at the time, along with Britta McKenna, as having the foresight to implement the technology necessary for networking and internet safety. The team utilized any resources they could, including the education center at Fermilab in Batavia, she said.

A career in education was "a huge part of my life," Phillips said.

She has lived in Batavia since 1986 with her husband, who is also an educator. They raised three children who all still live in the area, and are grandparents to six boys and a girl.

After retiring, Phillips said she felt it was important to get involved in the community by volunteering.

"Reaching out to the community has enriched my life in different ways," she said.

She took on leadership roles with the Batavia Woman's Club, where she brought "a new energy and enthusiasm" to the group, former president Patti Condon said in the release.


Phillips was one of the first to join when the all-volunteer CHIP IN Batavia, or Community Helpers Impacting People In Need, formed in 2013.

"Nan is truly a Citizen of the Year ... actually, a Citizen of the Decade," CHIP IN co-founder Joanne Spitz wrote while nominating Phillips for Citizen of the Year.

While serving on the board of the Batavia Foundation for Educational Excellence, Phillips had the idea to create a Hall of Honor to highlight the accomplishments of Batavia High School graduates.

Phillips said organizers spent two years researching other programs and wanted to make the Hall a tribute to all accomplished Batavia High grads, including athletes, authors, artists and scientists. It honors those who put their education to use as citizens of the world.

"A Batavia education is something be celebrated," she said.

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