by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Spark Photography

Forward Thinking

volunteer_myles3Before moving to San Diego in 2000, Nancy Myles was a teacher in Glenview, IL. She taught a Young Scholars Program, providing enrichment for GATE students in first through eighth grade. “When I accepted that position,” Nancy explained, “the superintendent told me I could do anything to challenge the students, but I must include Future Problem Solving at the middle school.” She was welcomed as a volunteer at Turtleback Elementary, and for the past 16 years has been working with third, fourth, and fifth grade GATE students.

Future Problem Solving is an international program that fosters critical thinking skills. Using topics such as propaganda, enhancing human potential, intellectual property, recovering from natural disasters, and the global workplace, participants are given a ‘Qualifying Problem’ each year to try and solve. Teams of four have two hours to write 16 challenges, an underlying problem, 16 solutions, five criteria, and a fully developed essay. Two hours only! Qualifying booklets go to the State Bowl, and from there winning teams go on to the Internationals. “Many of my fifth grade students love this program so much that they continue to participate in it until they graduate high school!” Nancy smiled. “It is such an honor for me to be the coach of my Turtleback students and all of my Turtleback alums!”

Future Problem Solving is not Nancy’s only program at Turtleback – she loves to provide children with learning experiences that extend their thinking skills. Some of her units include big business, law, mysteries, and conflict. Students put on trials, play the Stock Market Game, and study Hamlet. Nancy leads them within the classroom and without, also directing many Broadway musicals there.

Name: Nancy Myles
Community: Rancho Bernardo
Volunteer Affiliation: Turtleback Eementary School
Profession: Retired teacher
Family: Husband, two daughters, two sons-in-law, four beautiful granddaughters
Hobbies & Interests: Walking, golfing, traveling, quilting, and writing stories


Outside of school, Nancy is busy walking five miles a day, sewing five hexagons a day on her quilts, golfing, and traveling, but also is very involved in getting her book series, Rondi’s Virtual Adventures, onto Amazon. Rondi is a 10-year-old girl whose adventures abound when she tests a gaming system that takes her to a virtual world. For third to sixth grade readers, Nancy would love to get Rondi’s journeys into cyberspace.

All of her contributions to the students in the RB area are why Nancy Myles is spotlighted as our 92128 volunteer. “My goal is to make the most challenging projects fun and exciting,” she shared, “as well as to provide an environment where the children feel safe in taking risks.”