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WHS teacher receives AAFCS “Teacher of the Year” award

Addison Miller

Copy Editor

March 12, 2024

Out of all of the Family and Consumer Science (FACS) teachers in the country, one of Westfield High School’s very own teachers was allotted the American Association of Family and Consumer Science (AAFCS) award Teacher of the Year. 

Nikki Heflin, academic coach for FFCLA Foodies Rock and FACS teacher, grew up working in the hospitality and food industry. After receiving her license and family and consumer science education from Purdue University, she came to Westfield High School and built the culinary arts program at WHS. 

The AAFCS award is for the national teacher of the year specializing in family and consumer sciences, and the nomination process is more tedious than a simple voting system.

“I was nominated by other mentors in Indiana and by the Indiana affiliate for the AAFCS,” Helfin said. 

Once Heflin was the Indiana teacher of the year, she then had to submit an application with her body of work. Overall, it was a 15-20-page application process. 

“At the national level, [they] will review the applicants and then they choose their national teacher of the year!” Helfin said. 

To Heflin, this award is not only a testament to her teaching and her dedication. She believes this award provides a strong platform for the FACS platform at WHS. 

“Yes, it’s an award that recognizes my teaching, but I also feel that it’s an award that recognizes all of the efforts that our entire school district has put forward into this program--all of my co-teachers, our students, administration, and parents,” Heflin said. 

To any student interested in pursuing a career in family and consumer sciences, Heflin recommends taking the FACS classes offered at WHS and learning what they’re about. She explained that they offer more than just cooking, like interpersonal relationships, adult roles and responsibilities, childhood education, interior design, the culinary classes, and a hopeful human services pathway. 

“My advice is to continue to ask for more courses, to advocate for the life skills that you all want to learn,” Heflin said. “I feel [this award] will continue to be a platform for culinary arts and consumer sciences to open more doors to make our program provide even more opportunities for our students.”

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