If you told Nicole Jones when she was a student in Highline that she would return one day to be a teacher, she would have done a double-take.
"I wouldn't have believed you. I was ready to be done with school and out of school," she explains.
Nicole was first a student at Valley View, and then North Hill, Olympic and Chinook. She graduated from Highline High School in 2005.
After earning a degree in human services from Western Washington University, Nicole worked in social work. It wasn't long before she found herself working with children in before- and after-school programs.
"I really enjoyed the connection and relationships that were built between myself, the parents and students," says Nicole.
It wasn't long before she went back to school to become a teacher and return to her stomping grounds.
"I feel like the experiences that I had [in Highline] did bring me back," said Nicole. "I love the diversity of this district. I thought it was very important for me to give back to my community."
Today, Nicole teaches second grade at McMicken Heights Elementary. She is known as a leader at her school. She is constantly working to ensure all students have what they need and are pushed to their highest potential.
"She is always the one who steps in and steps up. She is constantly tracking data, giving students immediate feedback and using that to tailor her instruction," says teacher Wesley Smith. "Students come into her room with varied languages, backgrounds and histories. They leave her room knowing they are loved, valued and that their teacher believes in them."
Each day, Nicole strives to be the best role model possible for her students by setting high standards and being an advocate for both students and families. Nicole is also a role model for her teaching peers. This is one of the many reasons why Nicole is our Outstanding Teacher of the Year.