260 Seconds with Nikki Sprunger
Director of Special Education, Fort Wayne Community Schools
FWM: How did you get interested in special education?
NS: Both of my parents are educators; but, at first I wasn’t interested in education, and my mother was like, “Nikki, just take a couple classes.” And of course from there I became interested in teaching. I have literally taught every grade from Kindergarten to 12th; but, I have spent the majority of my time in special education. When I was teaching elementary school, I was really drawn to the students who were struggling. I wanted to help them, so I got my master’s in special education.
FWM: How has the approach to special education evolved?
NS: Students are now included in all aspects of the general education environment. They participate in extracurricular activities and are graduating high school with diplomas. There is also a greater emphasis on starting special education with pre-school aged students.
FWM: What has touched you the most about your work?
NS: I have a million stories! I’m just so proud of our students. A real success story is at Holland Elementary school where we have a state-of-the-art treadmill used for physical therapy. We have a student who is now able to take some steps unsupported. But, without our physical therapist seeing the need for this equipment, he would have never been able to make this achievement. I am also proud of the teachers and administrators who work so hard to support and collaborate on behalf of our students. fwcs.k12.in.us