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Crossley saying goodbye to ‘most beloved' attendance secretary

Nicki Sullivan retiring to spend more time with her family
Nicki Sullivan is retiring after keeping tabs on students at E.L. Crossley Secondary School for the past 11 years as the school’s attendance secretary.

If you’re a student attending E.L. Crossley Secondary School and are not in class, chances are Nicki Sullivan knows about it.

It’s been that way for the past 11 years. All that time, Sullivan has been keeping tabs on students’ whereabouts as Crossley’s attendance secretary. That will all come to an end when the school year winds down on June 26.

Sullivan has decided to retire and already she knows she’s going to miss it.

“What am I going to miss? The kids,” Sullivan said. “I'm like a mom to the kids.”

And like all moms, she wanted to keep close tabs on “her kids,” even if that meant doing a bit of legwork.

“When they’re skipping classes I hunt them down,” Sullivan said with a smile. “But honestly, that's why I love my job because I'm like a mom – with 850 kids.”

Students over the years, have shown her respect, she said, because even when it came to any kind of discipline, she showed them that same respect.

“They know that, and I tell them that when your parents drop you off at the bus drop off in the morning until you leave, I'm your mother at school,” Sullivan said. “The kids know that when I discipline them, I discipline them as I would my own kids.”

And speaking of kids, that’s one of the reasons that Sullivan has decided to step away. She would like to spend more time with family both here and in New Brunswick.

“I've got grandkids,” she said. “I've got a brand new one, seven weeks old.”

Sullivan looked around the office as students and staff came in and out, creating a beehive of activity.

“I'm going to miss this,” Sullivan said. “And the staff – let me tell you I've never worked at a school like this where the staff are so warm and welcoming. Even teachers that come in, they love coming in here because of the staff, the warm atmosphere and the welcome. You won’t get this in a lot of schools.”

Janet Cripps, program leader of student services at Crossley, called Sullivan “the most beloved attendance secretary in the DSBN, cherished by staff, students, and parents alike for her pleasant demeanor and unwavering positivity.”

And it’s not just students and staff who have been touched by Sullivan’s work, Cripps added.

“Many parents have expressed they wouldn't know what to do without her,” Cripps said. “It has been a true privilege for anyone who has had the opportunity to know Nicki, and she will be greatly missed.”

Sullivan came into education late in her career. Previously she had operated a cellphone store for a major carrier before selling it. She landed a job at Eden High School, in St. Catharines, before making the move to Crossley in 2013. If she has one regret, it’s that she didn’t make the move sooner.

“This is, I feel, almost like my calling,” Sullivan said. “I did it for the last 13 years, but I wished – and I knew that right from the beginning – that I had done this earlier.”


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Richard Hutton

About the Author: Richard Hutton

Richard Hutton is a veteran Niagara journalist, telling the stories of the people, places and politics from across the region
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