Amber Nieznajko has been named the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan for October.
Nieznajko graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 2017, and she’s been making an impact in the lives of fourth graders at Eastwood Hills Elementary School in Raytown, Missouri ever since. Nieznajko also earned her Master’s in Teaching and Learning from Avila University with a concentration on Advanced Classroom Management. As her teaching career has progressed, she recently accepted a teacher leadership position as a resource for other educators.
In addition to teaching, Nieznakjo also holds many other positions at Eastwood Hills Elementary, including; schoolyard garden leader, head coach of a social-emotional running program, site coordinator for a Monarch Butterfly Waystation and a staff liaison for the Parent Teacher Association.
“One of my most proud accomplishments would be the additions to the courtyard in the school,” said Nieznajko. “Watching students be able to have real-life experiences in a garden is priceless. They are able to plant, install and even enjoy the vegetables as they grow. The courtyard is also home to our Monarch Waystation where students have been able to learn about the life-cycle of this beautiful animal and how each of them are playing a part in the conservation of butterflies.”
Nieznakjo cherishes the community she works in and treats her co-workers, as well as the families of her students, as an extension of her own family. She adores working in a place where she always feels welcomed and is given the freedom to provide her students with the best education possible. Growing up, Nieznajko was told to always give 100% in everything she does. She’s ensured that message is translated into her classroom.
“The advice I give my students is to know they are capable of anything they set their minds to,” said Nieznajko. “They should always be proud of the growth they are making both academically and personally.”
Having lived in the Kansas City area for a majority of her life, Nieznajko is a graduate of Grain Valley High School and is honored to give back to her local community as she enters her fifth-year teaching at Eastwood Hills Elementary. Her desire to inspire everyone who sets foot in her classroom is contagious and the perfect example of what the Blue KC Sporting Samaritan program represents.
“I have high expectations for all of my students because they are all capable of achieving the goals we set,” said Nieznajko. “Sometimes all it takes is for people to believe you are capable. I remember when I was in fourth grade, I had a teacher who really made a difference in my life and believed in me. This inspired me to become a teacher myself. My goal is to do the same for the students I teach on a daily basis.”
It’s that type of inspiration and determination that makes Nieznajko standout in the Raytown community. While teaching fourth graders can present many challenges, her positive outlook and forward-thinking attitude creates a welcoming environment of growth and learning.
“I am beyond excited and feel incredibly honored to even be nominated for this award,” said Nieznajko. “Sporting KC has always held a special place in my heart and has been a place of many memories. I cannot believe I get the opportunity to be recognized at a game.”
“Amber is extremely deserving of this award,” said Nick Frankenfield, Amber’s nominator. “She is constantly trying to better herself and the community through service, leadership and professionalism. Her plan to turn a plain courtyard into a schoolyard garden to educate and feed nearly 400 students is incredible. Amber goes above and beyond the call of duty in her field to help benefit everyone she is around.”
“Amber’s nominator highlights one of her many areas of excellence,” said Christa Dubill, Blue KC Chief Communications Officer. “Amber’s positivity and optimism is a something we can all learn from. Her involvement in numerous fields at Eastwood Hills Elementary School show her passion and commitment to strengthening the lives of those she teaches. We’re honored to highlight Amber’s accomplishments and look forward to what she has planned for the future.”
Blue KC Sporting Samaritans will continue to be recognized monthly at Children’s Mercy Park during Sporting home games. Fans are encouraged to nominate teachers and students who are making a positive impact on their schools and communities by using the form online at https://www.sportingkc.com/bluekc.