Nicki Renardo is the manager of special education and former elementary school teacher who began teaching in 2006 and joined Connections Academy® in 2021. Learn more about Ms. Renardo below:
Why I Became a Teacher
I avoided becoming a teacher, even though I already knew in high school that I would be a special educator. I instead pursued fine arts, alternative dispute resolution, and business. After striking out on my own, I realized I really wanted to help make a difference in kids’ lives. After going back to school to get my certification, I started teaching in Illinois. My first job was in a residential school for adjudicated youth, and I finally felt like I was where I belonged.
The Online School Experience at Willamette Connections Academy
Willamette Connections Academy is a wonderful place to work. It’s the first place I’ve been where there is a true team supporting the students. The students are engaged and take part in their education; caretakers and Learning Coaches support the student at home; and the teaching staff is amazing. I haven’t worked at a place where it is so clear that the children and quality learning come first.
“The teaching staff is amazing. I haven’t worked at a place where it is so clear that the children and quality learning come first.”
— Ms. Renardo
Message for Prospective Families Choosing Online School
As someone who was raised and then taught for years in a brick-and-mortar setting, I can tell you there are limitations to what the neighborhood school delivers. The skills that students are going to need moving forward are the things that Willamette Connections Academy provides: an increased ownership of one’s education, a solid understanding of a curriculum that meets rigorous state and national standards, development of an effective support system, and navigation of real-life situations.
When I’m not teaching, I love to be home. I enjoy playing with my kids, reading, hiking, kayaking, and working on art projects. My house is busy with seven kids, two dogs, three cats, two dragons, and a snake.