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SSD Graduate Returns to District as a Para

Tim Newlon poses in front of the cameraApril 23, 2024 – Timothy Newlon, former Ackerman School and Northview High School student, graduated from SSD in 2015. Following high school, he worked at Every Child’s Hope as a Teacher’s Assistant, managing student course work and providing one-on-one assistance. Nine years later, he now works at Neuwoehner as a paraprofessional and will transfer to Ackerman in the fall. Tim says the opportunity to come back to SSD is a full-circle moment. 

“My experience alone is why I returned to the District,” said Newlon.“I learned so many things at SSD, from how to cope with my emotions, advocate for myself, and assist others. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Newlon officially started his new role in March. During his training, several SSD staff were excited to see him again. 

“It was like he was a celebrity,” said Kevin Haar, paraprofessional learning facilitator. “So many SSD staff came to see him and tell him how proud they were of him.”

“I haven’t seen Tim in several years - not since he graduated from Northview,” said Kelly Grisby, executive director of schools and programs.“He was a student at Ackerman when I was principal. To hear that he was now working in our District, supporting students, and excelling in his role, it touched my heart in so many ways. We don’t always get to catch up with former students to see how they have grown and progressed. I’m so happy for him!”

As a young boy, Newlon describes himself as not the easiest student to work with. He struggled with behavior issues but worked closely with teachers and staff to improve his actions. 

“I was a bit defiant, said Newlon. “But the staff never gave up on me. They helped me to believe in myself and see me for me. Over time, I went from a student who ran away from school to a student who was volunteering in different classrooms and helping bring students to the school bus.”

While working at SSD, Newlon wants to remind students that they can achieve all their goals, even if they make mistakes along the way. Carter Thelonious, Ackerman paraprofessional, says Newlon’s experience at SSD will take him far. 

“It’s easier for students to listen to someone who has been through the same things they have,” said Thelonious. “I know Tim will be an amazing para and strive to do great things.”