The nominees for this year’s Inspiring Success Award of Distinction include Niki Underschultz, an Educational Assistant at East Elementary School (EES) in Leduc.
“Niki has made a significant and positive contribution to our school division by truly connecting with the students and staff,” said Principal Zane Chomlak. who co-nominated Niki. “She puts connections first, then motivates students to do their best.”
Niki is currently working in several positions at the school, supporting students from Pre Kindergarten to Grade 5. This position involves working with students to support learning in literacy and numeracy, and she supports special needs students in Pre-kindergarten. “Working with such a big number of students does not slow Niki down,” said Vice Principal and co-nominator Tanya Dukeshire. “She comes to work with a smile and a bucket of jokes, and can turn around a day gone wrong for any student. Her kind and fair approach has earned her the respect of her peers and she has become a role model in her field.”
Niki has demonstrated leadership in several ways. She is constantly listening and learning from others, thinking positively and proactively, and looking at the big picture. Niki is a wealth of knowledge, her background education and experience has shaped her into an excellent educational assistant.
Niki has inspired success through a variety of ways, particularly with students who are vulnerable or less able to help themselves. Perhaps the most underrated quality of an educator is their ability to connect with students, said teacher and co-nominator Lia Chernenkoff.
“Not only does Niki fulfill all of her professional duties, she finds time to create magical moments for the students that she works with,” said Lia. “I recall a time I was struggling to connect with a student and Niki was able to be her silly self and help me create that connection by initiating a simple game. She is a fantastic reminder that our students need educators like her to show empathy and understanding in a school setting.”