A working educator since 2000, Jen Nickerson is headmistress of Greenwood’s Community Learning Center, where she directs 18 staff members in the care of 40 academy students and 45 tutored pupils each week. She’s the perfect person for the job: “My contribution is helping to solve illiteracy in the community and giving children the skills they need in order to survive well in life, achieve their goals and be contributing members of society.”
Nickerson moved to Clearwater 14 years ago “to get more knowledge of the Scientology religion and train as a minister to be more able to help others. I knew Flag was the best place for training so I decided to move to Clearwater.”
She says she literally felt at home in Clearwater: “I like Clearwater as it was similar to the neighborhood I grew up in. It was a good place to raise our kids. I like Flag and the level of service you can receive, but I also like the fact that I am able to effect positive change in our community.”
Nickerson grew up with mixed feelings about the teaching profession: “It is funny, since I can remember I always wanted to be a teacher, but somehow as a young adult that dream faded. I started a job at a private school, and I remember my main thought being that I didn’t want to become a teacher.
“Well, I ended up in a classroom, and I loved it. I loved seeing the students understand data and be able to use it,” she adds. “The most rewarding thing about teaching is watching the students grow up and become adults and lead productive lives in their community.
“I wanted to take teaching a step further and create an environment where kids are taught, valued and respected while they are being educated.”
Nickerson is a strong advocate for community involvement, educating youth on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “I love the United for Human Rights program the Church sponsors, as human rights are the common denominator to all humans. It doesn’t matter what religion, race or color you are, we all have the same rights on this planet.”
Nickerson is also a Scientology Volunteer Minister. Right here in Pinellas County after Hurricane Irma, she provided hot meals and ice to Greenwood residents. “I love assisting with disaster relief because it is an opportunity to help people who truly need it when they need it the most.”
But, she emphasizes, “It always comes back to the kids and helping them to become productive members of the community so they are literate and can be competent.”