TRUMANSBURG, N.Y. – A Trumansburg woman will compete in the “Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament” scheduled to air next week on NBC.

Rachel Niegelberg, a special education teacher at Watkins Glen Elementary, flew to Los Angeles in March to film the episode at Sony Studios. While Niegelberg’s episode is scheduled to air on Tuesday, the entire “Teachers Tournament” is set to begin on Monday.

“The ‘Teachers Tournament’ was great because there was that extra camaraderie between all of us as educators,” Niegelberg said. “Even though we were competing against each other, we really had a lot of fun together and we all supported each other.” 

The competition was a long time coming for Niegelberg, who said she has been auditioning for the show for nearly 10 years. The process begins with an online test which an auditioner can only take once a year. A regional audition follows the initial questionnaire with 50 questions and a mock game. If successful in the regional auditions, a participant is eligible to be called for the show for 18 months.

“You either get a call or you don’t,” Niegelberg said. “I got the phone call the night before my birthday on January 19 –  I had ignored the call and they left a voicemail, but it was too late and I had to wait until Monday to call them back, so it was extra exciting.” 

The tournament will feature 15 teachers throughout the U.S., and while Niegelberg cannot yet speak about the details of the tournament, she said the experience was a positive one.

It was just so nice for me to be a part of something that I’ve wanted to do my whole life, and even better that it ended up being such a positive experience – it really lived up to my expectations,” she said.  “And all of us teachers are all still very much in contact, we still play trivia online together – it was a very affirming experience.” 

Alyvia Covert

Alyvia is a Crime Reporter with The Ithaca Voice. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and Photography.