Samantha Dykes has worked for The New England Center for Children’s (NECC) Higley Road residence as a level 2 teacher for three years. She was nominated by a colleague for excelling in her roles as an education assistant and case manager, adding that “Her ability to connect with her students and her talents in teaching a variety of skills and concepts are both truly superior. These strengths allow her to engineer and implement challenging yet achievable goals for her students and in conjunction with her creativity, have allowed each of her students to make incredible progress even during times of a pandemic and decreased staffing.” Dykes’s colleague called her “an incredible resource and mentor for staff of all levels” and someone who “has brought a positive energy, enthusiasm, and commitment” to everything she does.
How long have you worked for NECC?
I started working at NECC in August of 2019, so just about three years. I’ve been on Higley Road my entire duration at NECC. I have served as a case manager for three years and as an education coordinator assistant this year.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Making connections with students and witnessing remarkable student progress.
Why did you choose a career in helping children with autism?
Our world is set up in a way that often overlooks the needs of neurodivergent people, and I want to play an active role in making this world more inclusive by changing oppressive systems and supporting students in learning ways to navigate this world.
I came to NECC to not only teach in a new setting, but to learn more about my role as an educator and the students I serve.
Have you taken advantage of any of the grad programs or teacher training at NECC? If so, how has it made you a better teacher?
Yes, I graduated from the Simmons program in May. My studies at Simmons, as well as my practical experience on the job, have helped my organization and data collection skills, which has supported my ability to recognize the need for the remediation of a class and the tools to create that remediation.
What is something about you that your colleagues might be surprised to learn?
I like to refinish and flip furniture! Sometimes to sell, but usually to keep.
Who is someone you look up to?
Malala Yousafzai. She has dedicated her life to creating education opportunities for marginalized people.
What is your life philosophy or a motto you like to live by?
Never stop learning ways to love yourself and others.