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Solution Seeker Spotlight: Lukas Kelly, Chinook Middle School

Each month we feature staff members dedicated to being Solution Seekers in their schools.   

Lukas Kelly with solution seekers logoLukas Kelly, paraeducator at Chinook Middle School, builds positive relationships with his students in the classroom and on the basketball court. He and his team constantly create new tools and opportunities to help their students grow and succeed. 

Tell us about yourself.  

I am a paraeducator at Chinook Middle School, and this is my first year with NTPS.  

I moved to Thurston County in the fall of 2016 to attend The Evergreen State College, and graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Education in the summer of 2021. While getting my education, I also played for the men's basketball program. In my last year as a junior, I was the team captain and most improved. Unfortunately, I couldn't play during my senior year due to COVID-19 closures. But my hoop dreams are still alive, just not as a player! When I'm not in the classroom, I'm in the gym coaching, trying to inspire and motivate the next generation of exceptional student-athletes. I am currently the co-director, lead skills trainer, and coach of two teams at Oly Basketball Academy. As far as my dreams in the classroom, I plan to get my master's degree and teaching certification by the end of 2024. 

What do you like best about your job?  

Lukas playing basketball with a student

I enjoy being a positive role model that kids can look up to. That is my why. I want to help kids reach their goals through motivation, positivity, and genuine, unconditional support. Having this opportunity to impact kids, families, and the community is what I like best about my job. 

Why is being a Solution Seeker important to you?  

As we know, school can be overwhelming and extremely challenging for many students. It is so fulfilling to see the growth in students over time with the problem-solving strategies our team uses to help our students succeed. We are always actively working, thinking, and creating ways to see this growth. As we seek solutions, we do our best to share these skills with our students so they can use these strategies in the future. I also want to recognize my whole team in this work: Erik, Flossie, Marianna, Conner, and Gordon - you are all solution seekers!

Can you share a story where you experienced problem-solving in action?  

A couple of the young men in our classroom have been big fans of taking their preferred break with me out on the basketball court or the soccer field. Giving them a fun, healthy outlet from school and adding some physical education into their schedule is a big win for everyone. Seeing this in action has been my most fulfilling experience this year.