Kelly Loukes is an outstanding professional, mentor, teacher and colleague, but most importantly, she is an outstanding champion of inclusive education. In addition to her kindness, work ethic, and her many inclusive practices, her leadership has had a significant impact at George Street Middle School, providing opportunities for students to teach one another about their differences.
Kelly has been instrumental in creating safe spaces for students with additional needs. She is motivated to coach, lead, and assist with ensuring that all students are engaged.
The Weadick family nominated Kelly for her work with their daughter who has a disability. Kelly has demonstrated how to engage peers, teachers, and administrative staff to all be part of an effective program to help their daughter not only feel included, but to be involved and actively participate.
When their daughter transitioned to middle school, she had no friends. Education Support Resource teacher Kelly went above and beyond, helping to ease the transition into George Street. Kelly’s outreach to the student body and her encouragement to their daughter to take a leap of trust empowered her to make new acquaintances and fit into the student body again.
Kelly has consistently gone the extra mile to provide their daughter with support in all aspects of her day at school. From developing and implementing plans to build life skills, to collaborating with other teachers and staff to help engage their daughter and help her feel part of the student body; Kelly’s approach ensures that their daughter feels included in the school community. She sought additional support beyond the formal structure including opportunities for their daughter to be engaged and involved, not ‘just there’, and has always encouraged their daughter to focus on what she can do, what is a challenge, and the means to enable her success.
To ease the transition to high school, Kelly proactively communicated with the student services team at Fredericton High School to find out what a typical year would look like for their daughter when she started; she also looked into what would be required to receive resource support in high school well in advance.
Kelly’s leadership has helped guide the creation of several inclusive areas at George Street to ensure that all students feel included in their school community, whether it be advocating for gender neutral bathrooms, or simply coordinating social opportunities for students of varying needs to interact. She is also involved in projects in the greater community; for example, Kelly started a breakfast program to ensure that students have access to breakfast before school. Funded by a charity event that she founded with her husband, the annual ‘Louksie Washer Toss Championship’, the program serves 90 students a day, and is open to all students.
According to the Weadick family, Kelly has set the benchmark for successfully including all children in school. Her leadership should be recognized, celebrated and used as a best practice for all educators.