Redmond School District employee honored for work with special needs students

Amy Nickell, an adaptive physical education coordinator with Redmond School District, was recently awarded the Extraordinary Support Staff Award at the Oregon Statewide Transition Conference in Portland, Ore.

Nickell was recognized for her contributions to the development of vocational education and support of post-secondary outcomes for special needs students.

“Amy works with Transition students to incorporate health and fitness into their lives, creating a balanced lifestyle of positive relationships, recreation, community access and success in the workplace,” Martha Hinman explained. Hinman serves as the district’s executive director of student services which oversees the implementation of the Youth Transition Program in the district.

The program partners with schools, vocational rehabilitation, and the business community to form partnerships that help students develop work skills, habits, attitudes, and knowledge empowering them to have success and independence as they transition to adulthood.

Part of Nickell’s notable work includes facilitating a Bike for Life camp at Ridgeview High School last summer. The camps are designed to help individuals learn how to ride bikes, learn road safety and create a pathway towards independent means of transportation. Based on the success of the first year, Nickell plans to host a camp every summer.  

Nickell is also responsible for creating partnerships with Redmond Area Parks and Recreation District where she teaches adaptive swim lessons and Special Olympics Oregon.   

“Whether teaching breathing exercises to help students reduce stress or connecting with business people in our community, Amy has a gift for recognizing needs and then making things happen,” Hinman said.