Jennie Emery teacher named Coaldale Citizen of the Year

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Congratulations to Nicole Kaminski

A Grade 3 teacher at Jennie Emery Elementary School will be celebrated as Coaldale’s Citizen of the Year at a banquet later this month.

Nicole Kaminski was nominated for tireless dedication to students and the school.

“I was very touched and very honoured,” she says. “I feel so blessed that a parent nominated me. . .  It made my year!”

Kaminski was informed of the award by Principal Sherrie Nickel, who visited the teacher at her home to share the news.

“We both cried,” Kaminski says.

Nickel says Kaminski is truly deserving.

“I couldn’t support this endorsement more,” Nickel says. “She is exceptionally well planned, organized and dynamic. But most importantly, she just really cares about the kids so much. She loves them and she knows them.”

Kaminski graduated from the University of Lethbridge in 2011, having completed her final internship at Jennie Emery. She was hired for a part-time teaching position at the school in 2012 and is now on staff full-time.

Growing up in Lethbridge and later a farm near Medicine Hat, she now calls Coaldale home.

“Jennie Emery is a wonderful school, and the community is amazing,” she says. “I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.”

She works closely with the other Grade 3 teachers: Cathy Martens, who served as her mentor teacher; Jolaine Kunz; and Elisabeth Keatings. They meet at least once a week before or after school.

“We team teach art, so we get to know all the Grade 3 students. We’re constantly sharing ideas back and forth.”

The nomination letter submitted to the Coaldale Chamber of Commerce refers to her organizing a running club for students and teachers; volunteering on the school’s Spirit Committee that includes student leaders to organize dress up days, mini-Olympics and other events; serving as the teacher representative on the school council; and participating in the school’s health and safety committee.

 “I cannot say enough good things about her, her work ethic and for how much she does for the children in her care and thus for our community,” states the nomination letter, from an unnamed parent.

“Teaching is hard work. It takes a lot of dedication,” Kaminski says. “But I love what I do and I’m so thankful to have the relationships I’ve built with parents and students.”

She also credits husband Matt for his ongoing support. She says date nights often involve the two of them visiting her classroom so he can help put up bulletin board displays. He cooks dinner most nights and has made dollar store runs for items she needs for classroom activities.

“He doesn’t do the teaching, but he’s such a great support.”

Dixie McCarley, Chamber of Commerce office manager, says to her knowledge, this is the first time a teacher has received the award.

Kaminski will be recognized at the Chamber of Commerce Appreciation and Awards Banquet March 21 at the Gem of the West Museum. Tickets are $45 each available by calling the Chamber at 403-345-2358. Cocktails are at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. with a program to follow.