Face to Face: Tonganoxie educator Nichole Gurwell
Name: Nichole Gurwell
Born: St. Louis. Gurwell lived there for nine months. Her family moved around often while she was in school. She lived several places including New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, New Jersey, Kansas and Missouri.
“It was hard then, but now I feel fortunate to have seen so many places and I learned how to adapt to new surroundings quickly,” she said.
Family: Husband, Owen; daughter, Morgan, a sophomore; son, Caden, a seventh-grader; and dog, Chloe, a Westie.
Occupation: Gurwell previously taught fourth grade at Tonganoxie Elementary School, but begins as instructional coach at TES and Tonganoxie Middle School later this month.
Dream job as a child: A television reporter and a teacher.
“I was lucky enough to do both,” she said.
Interesting fact: Gurwell walked the red carpet at the Emmy Awards and won the coveted golden statue.
“It’s in a box in my basement somewhere,” she said.
Digging deeper: After high school, Gurwell went to the University of Missouri to play Big 8 Conference tennis and study journalism.
On-air jobs are difficult to get, Gurwell said. When she earned an on-air sports internship before graduating, she took the job and transferred to the University of Nebraska where she graduated with bachelor’s in journalism. She also worked in the football recruiting department under NU coach Tom Osborne.
“I think that’s the only reason my husband asked me out because I had great seats on game day,” Gurwell joked.
She worked 20 years in broadcast journalism. She was most proud of her time as an investigative reporter when she worked with federal lawmakers to require automobile manufactures to admit wrongdoing and make cars safer for children. That work made her realize she wanted to make a difference in life and the best way was to teach. She attended University of Saint Mary for graduate work in special education and now taking classes in educational leadership through Pittsburg State University.
She represented USD 464 as a Kansas State Department of Education Horizon Award winner last year.
On the weekends, she and her family can be found at Westside Family Church or on a sports field somewhere cheering on her “bio” children, as well as her Tonganoxie schoolchildren.
“Tonganoxie is my home away from home and I am blessed to have been accepted by the community with open arms,” she said.