Spirit Award

Undrea (Nikki) Blake

Position: Sixth Grade Math Teacher

School: Pocomoke Middle School

School District: Worcester County Public Schools

City, State: Pocomoke City, Maryland

About the Nominee: Nikki Blake was nominated by a colleague, Brian Cook.

Ms. Blake and Mr. Cook have worked together as colleagues at Pocomoke Middle School (PMS) and as athletic coaches at Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS). During their time together, Ms. Blake has demonstrated the willingness and persistence it takes to connect with every student. She is unequaled in her drive and ambition.

While at PMS, Ms. Blake has been a leader in the school, on the basketball court and in the community. She was integral in developing a mentoring program for struggling African-American males and always puts those students first in helping them to be successful throughout their academic careers. She exhibits a tenacious, voracious tendency for learning ways to teach the whole child. Ms. Blake is pliable and flexible enough to meet the needs of all students she comes in contact with. Mr. Cook says he has watched former students return time and time again, whether they are seeking advice on how to treat a girl on a date or needing someone to talk to about how drugs are affecting their families. With great regularity, she meets the needs of both past and present students beyond the norm of most educators. She maintains an impeccable humbleness and joy in seeing her students develop into sophisticated young gentlemen.

Ms. Blake continues to take those same qualities outside of the classroom and into the community. She demonstrates a penchant for leading beyond the brick and mortar of a classroom, whether it's through assisting first generation college students and parents with college visits, attending numerous student athletic contests, selecting and purchasing clothes for a school function or pushing students beyond what is expected.

Mr. Cook is proud to call Ms. Blake a colleague and hopes to model his own interactions with students after her genuine approach!