Keeper of the keys

Ernest Nelson wins paraprofessional of year


photo credit: Olivia Rodriguez

Shining the way \\ Mr. Ernest Nelson won Paraprofessional of the Year for the WISD 2021-22 school year Friday, May 6.

writer: Hannah Hansen, Editor-in-Chief

Just like “Harry Potter”’s very own Hagrid, Mr. Ernest Nelson is a staple at school. From directing traffic in the morning to keeping an eye on the hallways during passing periods, he spends every day watching out for the safety of his students.

After first winning Paraprofessional of the year for Wylie East, Mr. Nelson went on to win for the entire district at the 2021-22 WISD awards ceremony Friday, May 6.

“It was just so humbling to win this award,” Mr. Nelson said. “There are so many other individuals that are just as deserving of this, so to be chosen out of them was just humbling.”

After retiring from Dallas County in 2013, where he worked as an adult probation officer, Mr. Nelson joined the school’s staff in 2017.

“This is my fifth year here,” Mr. Nelson said. “I like to joke that last year was my senior year, so now I’m working on my master’s.”

Ensuring the safety of the campus, his responsibilities include handling all campus keys and distributing them when needed; giving new teachers and employees their badges and keys; and monitoring the cameras around campus.

“Because the campus is so big, communication is probably the most difficult part of my job,” Mr. Nelson said. “With so many entities here, it can be difficult trying to make sure we’re all on the same page for the safety of all the students here.”

Despite the challenges, Mr. Nelson continues to enjoy his work, every day.

“My favorite part of the job is definitely the students,” Mr. Nelson said. “The ability to interact with the young men and ladies here at this school is amazing.”

Not only is he responsible for the general safety at school, but Mr. Nelson also strives to create a lasting impact on all the students he interacts with.

“I’m hoping that through conversations I’ve had with students, and offering grace instead of discipline to students, they understand the importance of trying to do the right thing,” Mr. Nelson said. “I’ve found that grace, not discipline, is just as, if not more, effective.”

Despite only working here for five years, Mr. Nelson knows that working here has had a lasting impact on him.

“I truly am blessed to be part of Wylie East and to have learned the Wylie Way here,” Mr. Nelson said. “It’s really made an impression on me, seeing a community that looks to better itself and better the lives of those who live here.”