Nikki Smith is originally from Morristown, New Jersey. She attended school in the Morris School District from K-12. Nikki was inspired by her amazing 6th-grade teacher, Ann Rhines, to become a teacher. Nikki went on to teach third grade in the Morris School District for nearly ten years, and by a chance encounter, was mentored by her former beloved 6th-grade teacher.
Nikki is a graduate of Kean University where she studied Early Childhood Education and Psychology. Upon graduation, Nikki was offered a seat in the Psychology Graduate Program by the department head for her research on both Women’s health, which was published, and Autism, but turned it down to pursue her lifelong dream of teaching.
While attending graduate school at City College of New York, Nikki experienced Brooklyn for the first time. She loved it so much, she moved to Brooklyn three months later! Nikki taught at schools throughout Brooklyn, the South Bronx, and Manhattan. In 2009, she took time off from teaching to pursue certification as a natural/holistic chef from The Natural Gourmet Institute chef training program.
She interned for Butterbeans, a company that creates healthy lunch delivery for kids with special dietary needs. Nikki took the following year to teach, on a volunteer basis, healthy cooking to women of color for Start Your Engine, and to work as a personal chef for clients in their homes. After a year of working alone in clients’ kitchens, Nikki missed the noise and energy of the classroom and decided to go back into teaching. She remains hopeful that one day she will be able to merge her two passions: teaching elementary school students and healthy cooking.
When not teaching, Nikki enjoys spending time cooking, entertaining friends, visiting museums, hanging out at BAM, practicing yoga and Pilates, enjoying the outdoors and cuddling with her two cats; Tuffy and Squeakers.