Educators are often the first adults outside of family members that our children interact with, which is why we are thankful to have educators like Nikkia Mack leading our students at the start of their educational journey. As a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Oak View Elementary School, Nikkia makes sure students are set up for success at the earliest age by cultivating a love of learning and a sense of family in her students. That is exactly why she was nominated to be an Extraordinary Educator by her interim administrator, Shanta Buchanan.
“Staff, students, and families say that Ms. Mack is one of a kind,” says Ms. Buchanan. “Once you are one of her students you are always her student. She keeps in touch with her students through elementary and beyond by calling, writing letters, and attending special events.”
After 21 years of teaching, Nikkia has managed to stay involved with her students and their families by applying principles that she learned at the start of her teaching career with the Guilford County Head Start Program.
“The importance of keeping families involved in their child’s education was encouraged throughout all endeavors and programs,” Nikkia says. “You must include the children’s families for a child to have a successful school year. When you make those relationships and partnerships, it is easier to teach with parental support and have a positive relationship with the children.”
Now, Nikkia not only encourages out-of-classroom family involvement, but she also works hard to see that her classroom functions as an “extended family” for her students and her students’ parents.
“In the classroom, I teach the importance of family and what makes up a family beyond sharing the same parent or family members,” Nikkia says. “I would like for my children to always remember that at school, we are a school family, and we look out for each other, help each other, and work together so we all can grow and accomplish things. We are better as individuals because we work well together as a school family.”
While Nikkia believes each of her students is strong together, she also believes that her class at Oak View Elementary is stronger as part of the wider High Point community. That’s why she is constantly on the lookout for community resources for her students and their families and educates families on how to use those resources. Time and time again, Nikkia has seen the High Point community come together to support her students’ learning.
“Throughout the school year, even during the pandemic, I reached out to the local community to find ways to help fund field trips and provide other resources for the students and families,” she explains. “Without these resources, it would be challenging for some children to participate in online learning and learning at home.”
Going above and beyond in her classroom, Nikkia leverages the High Point community to make learning for her young, new-to-school students something active and engaging. From donations for field trips and supplies, to guest speakers for her classroom, to additional support resources for learning, Nikkia reminds the High Point community that we all play a part in making our classrooms stronger.
“The moments I enjoy the most as an educator involve the students’ engagement during events made possible through community involvement,” she explains. “The excited looks on the children’s faces when we can participate in events and activities made possible by the community brings me the most joy.”
As an educator at Oak View Elementary, Nikkia participates in a wide variety of school activities both during and outside of school hours, and she encourages her Pre-K families to do the same. She also works to make sure all of her surrounding faculty and staff feel her appreciation and excitement each day.
“I always try to encourage my fellow teachers to participate in events and ‘get hype’ about activities at school, as this formulates a school–community mentality that impacts the students positively,” Nikkia says. “And I tell everyone that I know about our Pre-Kindergarten department and why they should enroll their children at our school based on the great staff, atmosphere, and mission.”
Nikkia finds it easy to advocate for Oak View Elementary, as the heart behind her teaching aligns so closely with the school’s mission.
“Oak View’s motto is ‘Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today,’” Nikkia explains. “The school motto aligns directly with my personal and professional goal that I take pride in, which is getting young children at the early age of four ready for the future. This preparation involves assisting in preparing students academically, as well as socially and emotionally.”
Nikkia’s desire to teach started when she was a young girl herself, volunteering in her church’s nursery, babysitting children in her church community, and volunteering at daycare centers. These experiences were what first confirmed to Nikkia that she not only wanted to work with kids, but she wanted to work with young kids, taking on the responsibility of impacting little lives at such a young age. Now, 21 years into her teaching career, Nikkia has a whole family of High Point students behind her who without a doubt learned early on in her classroom that together as a community, we are stronger.
Discover our High Points,
The HPD Team
Photography by Maria West Photography
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