Nikki was born and raised in San Diego where she was often found in one of 3 places: at school, on the soccer field, or at the Boys and Girls Club. She was taught how to love tenaciously and dance with spice by her Abuelita, how to listen and study every detail by her mother, how to show up, work hard and do push-ups by her father and how to be curious, seek adventure and fight fires by her brother. She attended the University of Notre Dame for her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Computer Application and earned a master’s of educational studies at Loyola Marymount University.
She began her career as an educator in 1998 in East Los Angeles and then moved to Boston, teaching math and science in 5th through 8th grades at private, charter, and traditional public schools before finding her home in the High Tech High community. She was the founding director of both High Tech Middle Media Arts and High Tech High North County and then worked as the dean and director at High Tech High International. For the past 6 years, Nikki has been the director at High Tech Middle. After 16 years as a school leader at High Tech High schools, she looks forward to supporting communities in school design and redesign at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education within the Center for Love and Justice. When she is not celebrating the amazing work of educators and students, she can be found gardening, finger painting or doing improvisational dance with her 2-year-old.