HCC instructor says it's all about caring

Alice Mannette
The Hutchinson News

Dan Naccarato, "Coach Nac”, received the 2020-21 Dragon Educator of the Year at Hutchinson Community College.

Naccarato teaches business management and entrepreneurship. He provides academic advising for Business majors. It is Naccarato’s second time being selected as Dragon Educator of the Year, having been previously chosen for the 2015-16 school year as well.

"Coaching and teaching are identical," Naccarato said. "Coaches and teachers help people learn, improve, and grow. (The) best way to have fun in an endeavor is to get better."

Naccarato, a Dodge City native, did not set out to be an instructor, although he eventually followed in his father's footsteps after a 25-year career at Kroger, where he served as Director of Human Resources and Corporate Benefits at Dillons.

Naccarato received his Bachelors of Science in business administration from Emporia State University in 1982 and earned his MBA at Emporia State in 1985.

Nominees from all academic areas were submitted to the Student Government Association. The instructors are nominated by HCC students and then complete a selection and personal interview process conducted by SGA. Naccarato received his honor at the College’s commencement on April 30.

For Naccarato, teaching is a vocation, not a job.

Naccarato said, "When students arrive on campus every morning, it is a pleasure to greet them with a smile and enthusiastically remind them: “It’s a GREAT day to study Business!”

This business teacher feels everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. He hopes his attitude and actions reflect back to his students, showing them they can trust him consistently. He said it is important to be clear and consistent and to say what you mean and mean what you say. 

His goal is to help students become successful managers and leaders. For Naccarato, teaching involves more than learning about balance sheets and software programs, it involves relating.

"Before students care to learn, they need to learn you care," Naccarato said. "Caring leads to passion, and passion leads to enthusiasm . . . and enthusiasm is often contagious."

Naccarato said one of the best compliments he hears is, “You made a difference for me.”

Dan Naccarato