PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — Jacquie Grimes can be found all over Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center on a normal school day. 

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“All right, here we go guys,” she said to a group of kids as she walked down the hall. 

“Come on Brennan, let’s go, big guy,” she said with a smile. 

This group is heading to the library, where there is a sensory room. 

“Do you like coming to the sensory room? Yes or no?” she asks a student. “No, show me no. Can you show me no? No, good job.”

She works as a behavior specialist, helping all kinds of kids with varying needs. 

“It’s amazing to see them,” said Grimes when asked about their improvements. “A lot of them communicate and learn new ways. They are all different and we see so many improvements.”

For 16 years, she has worked at Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center. But the school has been in her life for much longer. 

“I used to come here as a kid to volunteer,” said Grimes. “The school and the staff, students made an impact on me, so I went to school and to college, to come back home and work at Nina Harris.”

This is a home, and like a home, she looks out for all aspects of the school, including finances.

“It is not uncommon for a group of people to walk through the door on Monday, and say they met Jacquie on the weekend at a function, and here is a check for your school and your children,” said Jacqueline Cassidy, principal at Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center.

Cassidy said Grimes has convinced people to donate well over $100,000 to the school.

“I am just really, really proud of my school and my students. We are something special in Pinellas County and in the Bay area, and I don’t think enough people know that we are out there,” said Grimes. 

She is proud to work at Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center, and the administration, students, and parents are proud to have her. In fact, they currently have her back in a tough moment. Grime’s daughter has cancer. 

“She is an inspiration for sure,” said Grimes, when asked about her daughter. “She inspires me to be strong, come to work and just overcome any obstacle that is in my path.”

Grimes said she is confident that she will work for the rest of her teaching career at Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center.