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Get to Know Ambassador Sheneika Simmons – Celebrating BOOST Sweet 15

Get to Know Ambassador Sheneika Simmons – Celebrating BOOST Sweet 15

BOOST is turning 15! As we approach our 15-year anniversary, we are reminded of how much we value and appreciate our TEAMBOOST partners and want to share their stories – their journeys through the in and out-of-school time field, their goals and aspirations, a few fun things about them, and some of the amazing things they are doing in their communities.

We will be spotlighting our BOOST Bloggers, Ambassadors, Leadership Team members, and Partners weekly through the end of November to thank our wonderful team members for their contributions to our incredible community!

Get to Know BOOST Ambassador Sheneika Simmons

Sheneika is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Simmons Leadership Services in Wake Forest, NC, and has been a BOOST Ambassador with us since 2022!

How did you enter the OST, expanded learning, and/or educational field?

As a child, I was a recipient of out-of-school time (OST) programming. I spent many afternoons and weekends at my local Boys and Girls Club getting homework help, using the computer lab (IT WAS THE EARLY 2000s! There weren’t many families with computers or internet access.), going on field trips, or just hanging out with my friends. Back then, I didn’t realize it would impact my life in a multitude of ways. Upon graduating college, I joined Teach For America and served as a Middle School Educator for 5 years. After my 5th year of teaching, I was presented with the opportunity to join the North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) as the Program Manager to oversee the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiatives, marketing and communications, and provide professional development opportunities to local programs.

What motivates you to do this work?

I WAS THAT KID! I don’t think I would have traveled the career pathway that I did, if it weren’t for those around me living in their purpose of serving others. Every single child that I have had the pleasure to teach, engage, or make smile motivates me. I see myself in them. I see their hunger and desire to be better than they were yesterday. Plainly put, I want to help positively shift the trajectory of the lives of children, specifically those that have a low socio-economic status.

What are you currently reading or watching?

RuPaul’s Drag Race!

Share some of your greatest accomplishments.

Last year, I was recognized and received an Afterschool Leaders Award. It was awesome to be recognized on a national level and to be able to share my expertise with other national afterschool networks and programs!

What are some big goals you are working toward?

COMPLETING MY PHD IN HUMAN AND SOCIAL SERVICES!!! Launching and expanding a successful business designed to help support youth-serving organizations.

What are your top three leadership qualities?

1. Building Relationships
2. Innovative Thinking
3. Always Learning

Name a leader that you admire and why?

I admire Iyanla Vanzant. She has weathered many storms in her lifetime but still finds time to help others through their own trauma. She truly wants to help others and has committed her life work to do just that.

Share an inspirational quote that resonates with you.

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” – Oprah

As a child, what were your career aspirations?

I wanted to be a “businesswoman.” I am not sure what I thought it entailed but I really wanted to be this woman (in a power suit), making decisions, and telling people what to do.

What causes are you passionate about?

Educational Equity. Educator Pay. Equitable Access to Resources for Low-Income, Marginalized, and BIPOC communities.

What is one of the highlights of your career?


How do you show kindness to others and/or share ways others have shown kindness to you?

My undergraduate degree is from Ferrum College in Ferrum, VA. Their motto is “not self but others”. This motto is often associated with a service activity or a reason to do something for someone else. However, kindness is sometimes asking someone about their day AND ACTIVELY LISTENING to them. Many times, when engaging with others, I ask questions, tell a relatable story, or try to tell a “dad joke” to make them smile. Kindness isn’t always a physical act of service but being an active listener and greeting them with a smile.

What career legacy do you want to leave?

I want to be someone that designs, nurtures, and supports positive and sustainable efforts to ensure that all individuals, no matter their background, race, socio-economic status, or zip code, are able to access high-quality resources that meet their needs. I want to influence others to make positive strides in their own communities and empower others to be great.

What’s the biggest mistake you made on the job and what did you learn from it?

In education, you make a lot of mistakes. Whether it is a lesson gone wrong, being “too cool” with your students, being “too strict” with your students, or just being burnt out and unable to truly support your students, I have made a TON of mistakes. However, education taught me flexibility, being able to forgive myself for my own mistakes, bouncing back despite the odds, and being able to appreciate moments of reflection.

Tell us what you had for breakfast!

Bacon & Eggs!

From all of us here at TEAMBOOST, thank you, Sheneika, for being part of our Ambassador team and for sharing your leadership with us!

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BOOST Collaborative is a unique, purpose-driven organization committed to supporting those serving youth in the out-of-school time hours by providing quality professional development, opportunities for networking & partnerships, and leadership training. Together, we make a difference.

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