In 2011, after a 17-year career with Chase Bank, Nikole Johnson was one of many people laid off when the bank moved offices outside of Milwaukee. She said it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to her. She was 38-years-old and realized she needed a career change. She enrolled at MATC to earn a human service associate degree, which she received in December 2013.
“There are a lot of directions that you can go with that degree,” said Nikole, “but I never really thought about education as a related field.” That changed when she had an internship with Pathfinders. “They stole my heart and I realized I really wanted to work with children,” she said. Nikole started her career as a paraprofessional at Benjamin Franklin School two years ago. She said she loves working with students and helping them when they are struggling or not understanding something.
“You don’t know what’s going on with them emotionally or how things are at home, so I always check in to make sure they are okay.” Passionate about working with her students, Nikole also appreciates the Franklin School community. “It’s like a family,” she said. “You can go to anyone to talk through a challenge. I look forward to coming to work every day.” Franklin School Principal Katrina Fisher said that Nikole takes a strong interest in the students’ academic and social development.
“She takes her job very seriously. Nikole tutors after school and regularly does interventions. She provides food and clothing for students in need and remembers each of her student’s birthdays.” “Franklin School is lucky to have an amazing team of paraprofessionals,” said Principal Fisher. “This story could easily be written about any one of them. They all go above and beyond for our kids, every day. We have a really strong support team.”