In an inspiring career journey that exemplifies the power of networking, seizing new opportunities, and embracing the unknown, Nicole Collier White, CNP has recently taken on a new role within the Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) system as Chief Communications and Community Engagement Officer. With a passion for serving others, Nicole’s climb to this position is a testament to her unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in her community.
Nicole’s story began in the suburban areas surrounding Kansas City. Initially aspiring to become a nurse, Nicole’s compassionate nature led her to realize that she couldn’t separate herself emotionally from the individuals she aimed to help. It was during this time that William Jewell College introduced the Nonprofit Management Leadership degree, and Nicole became the very first student to enroll in the program. With the guidance of Kevin Shaffstall, an advisor at William Jewell, Nicole discovered the diverse pathways available within the nonprofit sector. Despite concerns from her family about job prospects and financial stability, Nicole was reassured she would find her place.
Nicole’s career journey took off when she graduated with her Certified Nonprofit Professional credential (formerly known as American Humanics) and stepped into the world of nonprofit work. She landed a part-time position as the Hungry and Homeless Coordinator for the City of Independence, where she built coalitions and coordinated initiatives aimed at serving homeless individuals and families. Simultaneously, she worked for the Welch Family Foundation, honing her skills in administration and gaining valuable experience in the philanthropic landscape.
Her involvement with Outward Bound, an organization dedicated to outdoor education, further propelled her career trajectory. Serving on an exploratory board, Nicole’s commitment and dedication caught the attention of Shannon Jaax, who was transitioning to work for Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) on a project involving repurposing closed school buildings. Recognizing Nicole’s ability to connect with communities and build coalitions, Shannon offered her a position as a community organizer for what was supposed to be a one-year contract.
Joining KCPS in 2011, Nicole embraced the challenges of engaging communities, attending neighborhood association meetings, hosting public events, and collaborating with local organizations. Her dedication to community engagement led to her role as a Program Coordinator, where she worked closely with the school district and community members to repurpose closed buildings for community benefit. Nicole’s passion for making a lasting impact in education motivated her to transition into partnership coordination and volunteer management within KCPS. She focused on identifying school needs and matching them with external nonprofit organizations, fostering collaborations that enriched the educational experience of students.
In 2016, an exciting opportunity arose within Kansas City Public Schools Education Foundation. Nicole, driven by her desire to serve and her expansive experience, became the Foundation’s first director. Over the next seven years, she built the Foundation from the ground up, leveraging her connections and raising funds to support KCPS’s mission.
Now, Nicole has taken yet another leap in her career, assuming the role of Chief Communications and Community Engagement Officer for the entire KCPS district. Though initially unsure of stepping into such a prominent position, Nicole recognized that her dedication, experience, and deep love for the families and students KCPS serves made her the ideal candidate. In this new role, she will shine a light on the positive stories and achievements within the district, challenging negative perceptions and fostering understanding.
Nicole’s journey serves as an inspiration for students and aspiring professionals alike. Her story underscores the importance of building strong networks, reaching out to mentors, and embracing opportunities that may seem daunting at first. By taking risks, learning from failures, and nurturing a genuine desire to make a difference, Nicole has propelled herself to new heights of success.
As Nicole assumes her new position at Kansas City Public Schools, her impact is sure to extend beyond the boundaries of education. She embodies the true spirit of a Certified Nonprofit Professional, using her skills, expertise, and unwavering dedication to uplift communities and create a brighter future for the students she serves.
With Nicole Collier White, CNP, at the helm of communications and community engagement, Kansas City Public Schools can look forward to a future filled with positivity, collaboration, and transformative change. Her journey is an inspiration to all, proving that with passion, perseverance, and a commitment to service, the possibilities for making a difference are endless.