LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Nikki Karas

Position: Physical Education/Site Coordinator
School: Perth Amboy Magnet School
School District: Middlesex County Magnet School
City, State: Perth Amboy , NJ

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Nikki Karas was nominated by a colleague, Karen Cretella.

Ms. Karas is a vital member of her school community. She is a Physical Education teacher at her school, but her role goes beyond teaching a classic gym class. Ms. Karas is a dynamo. She has fantastic energy and brings that to the school each day. Working with her allows one to understand how vital that is for a high school environment. When she arrived at her school, she brought her interest in the Mental Health needs of her students. Ms. Karas noticed the students needed to be honored for their daily achievements. She became their Ambassador. Ms. Karas did her best to organize a school dance, which occurred after school hours and allowed the students to have a wonderful time. The pandemic offered Ms. Karas many challenges, but she always succeeded in her assignment as the physical education instructor. Interested in the needs of the students, Ms. Karas even applied to a local university for her Student Assistant Counselor certificate and was awarded that in 2022. She hopes to secure a position someday to help students further and offer programs to assist with their mental health concerns.

Recently Ms. Karas had a birthday to celebrate. Upon entering the building that day, the students were all abuzz and holding balloons and flowers; some even had gifts. These students surprised Ms. Karas during her Health class and wished her the best. It was inspiring to see how they acted in unison to collect some money and participated in a group effort to wish their teacher the very best. Ms. Karas was very appreciative, and her colleagues celebrated her at lunch. 

"These things mentioned above only touch on Ms. Karas's impact at the school," said Cretella. "I would welcome administrators and other teachers to speak of her abilities and contributions to this school daily. I appreciate the opportunity to expound on the attributes of Ms. Karas. Thank you."

Comments (53)

Chris S Posted 8 months ago

Nikki is one that you will always see a huge smile as she enters a room. Super friendly, super supportive and a heart of pure gold. If anyone deserves to have been nominated for such an award, no better person than this girl right here.

Sydni Posted 8 months ago

I’ve known Nikki since middle school and although our lives have parted after high school, I’m not shocked that she’s been nominated for this recognition. Nikki has always been passionate in sports and with her friendships.. in school, that’s what we’ve got! So there’s no doubt her passion has also poured into her critical role as a teacher leading our future.

ALDO Rovere Posted 8 months ago

These are the times that a person like Nikki, a life changer that many have already recognized. Someone who relates to those especially impacted by these times of crisis. An extraordinary ability to connect and encourage students. She is certainly deserving of the Life Changer of the Year award.

Rose Davino Posted 8 months ago

Nikki is an awesome person. She is caring, loving, dedicated and is passionate in helping others succeed. She goes way beyond in making everyone feel special, wanted and needed. She definitely deserves this award.

Krystle Posted 8 months ago

I have known Nikki for years. We have taught together and she has always been that teacher that really relates to the students and they can feel it. The bonds that she creates with them shows she really cares about each one of them and it never goes unnoticed by the staff around her as well as the students. She strives to help others in every way she can.

Leah Posted 9 months ago

Miss Karas has helped me through a lot these last 2 years. She’s one of my favorite teachers and always puts her students first. I’m forever grateful to have a teacher as nice as her.

karina Posted 9 months ago

she’s a great teacher and she cares a lot about her students

Christopher Morley Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas has become the center of the hub for students challenged with the stresses of being a teen in a public school and on the downhill slide from the COVID based virtual schooling experience. Her energy and enthusiasm for making this school a fun, safe, and welcoming refuge for our students is truly inspiring.

Bethanne Byrne Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is a spectacular human who cares with her whole heart & soul about all her students. Kindness & Positivity exude from her with every challenge she embraces gracefully and courteously. She is an exemplary role model for Perth Magnet School.

Laura Sanchez Posted 9 months ago

I have known Ms.Karas almost all of my life since I was 3 years old. I’ve also had the pleasure to walk aside her almost her entire life. To witness who she was at age 3 to who she is now is absolutely amazing. Ms.Karas goes above and beyond for her students. She is passionate, dedicated & truly inspiring. I’ve been able to witness her engage with students first hand I could see the impact she has on these students. Her passion and personality is one of a kind. I envy the work you put in and I’m so glad to be able to watch you succeed.

Kristy Lalley Posted 9 months ago

I have watched Nikki grow in her career year over year and with each year, her passion for her students has gone far beyond any teacher I have ever known. She is invested in their lives, their futures and the impact they will go onto to make in this world. She listens to their stories and helps them navigate the challenges through lessons. She is trustworthy, reliable, caring, and try shows up for her students. I don’t know anyone more deserving of such an award and I believe her students would echo the same.

Ashley Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas has been an amazing support these past four years of my high school experience. Thank you for all the kindness I have seen you show to others and myself.

Nanci Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas (Nikki) Has always wanted to make a difference with kids in mind. It has been her dream to work with children since she was a young buddy ball volunteer, working at a day care center and realizing her dream through college. The accolades posted by her students and colleagues proves what I as her mother have always known. She works hard, is committed and never gives up. She forges ahead no matter the obstacles and will fight for her students no matter what.

Gerda Stetz Posted 9 months ago

We have had the honor or knowing Nikki she was our oldest sons Assistant Kindergarten teacher. He is now a rising Junior in High school. She also taught our youngest son who will start high school in the fall. She is kind, genuine, committed, in everything she does. She connects with anyone she comes into contact with because of her sincerity & general interest in others is pure and unconditional. She has become the big sister for my sons. They can talk to her about anything and completely trust her. She is a part of our family. No event happens without “Miss Nikki.” It’s not Christmas Eve unless she is here. Her love for her students is unlike any teacher I have seen. She seeks to understand her students, how to make them the best version of themselves, and how they can succeed not only in school, but more importantly in life. She has and will continue to change the lives of other for the better- including mine. We love Nikki with all our heart and are grateful to have her in our lives.

Steven Posted 9 months ago

Miss Nikki her has changed the lives of our children since before she had the official title of teacher. She has encouraged and supported our boys and become a trusted advisor to them both all because of her superpowers - she listens and meets people where they are, without judgement and helps them strive to be better people. Cause she knows that's what winning is.

Mike Pede Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is an extremely valuable educator at the Perth Amboy Magnet School. Ms. Karas goes above and beyond for all of the students in her building. Ms. Karas also serves as mentor and models ethical behavior daily for the students.

Andrea Pagan Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is one of the most amazing people I have ever met and I have had the privilege of knowing her for a very long time. Anyone she comes into contact with she has a beautiful impact on. She’s positive, uplifting and all around an amazing character that if you ever get to meet her you would only be so lucky.

Jaiden Posted 9 months ago

Ms . Karas is the goat

Alan Valdez Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is the coolest and most genuine teacher ever. She has a great sense of humor and personality. You can go to her whenever you need to, she will always be there for you.

Jessica Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is one of a kind! She truly cares about her students in all aspects of their lives, from accedemics, to life skills, and most importantly mental health and wellbeing. All of her students are beyond lucky to have her!

Nelson Posted 9 months ago

Always has good energy, great teacher,very caring and always wanting the best for her students

Daneisha Mercado Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is a phenomenal woman. Not only was she our gym teacher but she became someone we could confide in. She treated us as if we were her own kids and made sure we were always acting correct and bettering ourselves. She would rather come into work mentally exhausted then disappoint her students. She is honestly the reason majority of us made it our senior year with our heads held high. We cried with her laughed with her obviously had our days when we would just bug her, but she always had her door open. Even till this day her door is wide open.

Marquis Posted 9 months ago

I don't think no one else can compete when it comes to GOAT teacher. She is not just a great teacher she is also a wonderful human being. Also, the most relatable and understanding so the question isn't why vote for her, the real question is why haven't u voted for her?

leila Posted 9 months ago

ms. karas is one of the most thoughtful teachers and she will always care for everyone of her students.

Jordan Manley Posted 9 months ago

Karas is the best! Always there to support her students during school and at all their after school events.

Maurolino Ignacio Posted 9 months ago

The comments speak for themselves as to her impact however I can say that I know how much Nikki cares for her students.

Megan Ortega Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas always went above and beyond for her students. I wasn’t one of her students but she took care of me like I was. To this day she is still a mentor to me and her hard work and dedication towards her students and former students should be acknowledged and admired!

Jayden Brimley Posted 9 months ago

Ms.Karas is one of the most honest teachers I have ever met. I know I can trust her with anything. She is the best supporter.

Aleyshka Posted 9 months ago

She is an amazing person and is helpful to everyone here :)

Deb Brown Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Kara’s makes our students hearts beat with excitement. She is the best PE teacher ever and goes beyond.

Alan Valdez Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is the coolest and most genuine teacher ever. She has a great sense of humor and personality. You can go to her whenever you need to, she will always be there for you.

Amaury Posted 9 months ago

My teacher is excellent at explaining difficult concepts in a way that makes them easy to understand. She is patient, kind, and always willing to help their students succeed.

emily Posted 9 months ago

Ms.Karas is one of my favorite teachers, she’s a great teacher and is always welcoming to everybody. She’s capable of helping with any problem I have and I’m forever grateful for her.

Deb Brown Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is the educator that makes our students heart race!

JIM Posted 9 months ago

Nikki Karas is a very unique individual who was born to help people, especially children. She puts her heart and sole into her students wellbeing and does whatever she can to help them advance educationally, emotionally, and mentally, so they will be ready to take on what the world will be throwing at them. She created projects for fund raisers, a school store, Dances, just to name a few. She is coaching several sports and trying to get more sports approved to allow the kids to be exposed to as many athletic endeavors as possible to help them further their education through possible scholarship opportunities. She does all this and Maintains her family responsibilities with her brother and sister, as well as her parents. You won't find a better educator, sister or Daughter... A true pillar in society....

jeremy Posted 9 months ago

she really impacted my life when it comes to academics

Jean Posted 9 months ago

She is the best teacher ever and is always taking care of her students.

kamille Posted 9 months ago

she is the best gym teacher i’ve had ever!

amber Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is honestly my favorite teacher, I know I can come to her with anything and she’ll be there! I LOVE HERRR

Prof. Luginsland Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Kara's always goes above and beyond for her students. She is very dedicated to them and is very invested with their education, high school experience and their success!

Justin Posted 9 months ago

Miss Karas is the perfect teacher ever. She kind and absolutely the best

Donovan Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is like a second mother to me. Best teacher ever !

Ava cannici Posted 9 months ago

Mrs. Kara’s is one of Perth Amboy Magnet Schools gym teachers. She is motivating, supportive, and most importantly not just a teacher figure but a caring and loving teacher. She makes you feel like you can always come to her with any concerns either that involves school or just in general or in your own life. Karas has a huge impact on people’s lives in our school and she continues to be the same way no matter what.

Spiritual parrott Posted 9 months ago

Ms.Karas is truly one of the most thoughtful and passionate teachers ever, once she has her mind put to something she goes hard to make it happen. Her heart is so pure especially with her students.

alyssa Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is the best supporter to have and one of the most caring people I know. She’s thoughtful and can always count on her help and her support.

Kiara Tapia Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is a very sweet and genuine teacher. She makes every student feel comfortable and be able to trust her. Everyone loves being around her she is truly the best.

Michelle Marano Posted 9 months ago

As a teacher in another district, learning of all the things Ms. Karas does for her students is truly inspiring! Connecting with students in the age of Post-Covid has been a struggle that she seems to have the formula for!

Cashb Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Kara’s the best and most beautiful teacher ina world

Jilian Rise Posted 9 months ago

Ms. Karas is absolutely deserving of the title of LifeChanger. She forges a close bond with all of our students. They confide in her easily, and she is able to recognize when a student needs to see a counselor, which is vital to the mental wellbeing of the students. As a school counselor, I can attest that that outreach is of enormous importance in assisting our students. Ms. Karas recently finished her Student Assistance Counselor certificate so she can continue to assist students with their mental health. She does countless acts to improve school climate and culture, including teaching PE and health classes, directing our athletic programs, overseeing the Student Council, being the advisor for both 10th and 11th grades, and always making herself available to students who need someone to talk to and view as a safe person. The personality, energy, and connection she brings to the school has definitely made a difference in the lives of our students.

Nancy Posted 9 months ago

Ms.Karas is one of the best teachers here, she connects with the kids very fast and is one to be very friends with any kid no matter what, she might have her days but still we won’t stop being nice. She likes to help kids if their having issues, she understood me when i was going through stuff and i will be grateful that she was there in those moments she is just the best

Evangely Ramírez Posted 9 months ago

Ms.Karas is the type of teacher that would never Judge you no matter the circumstances and will always listen and help you out with problems. She is friendly with all of us and is the nicest teacher I had ever met.

Jalena Posted 9 months ago

she’s the absolute best teacher ever !! VOTE VOTE VOTEEE. She cares so much about the students and staff. Puts everyone before her always. I love youuuuuu

Juneysi Posted 9 months ago

Sweetest most caring person, there for whatever you need