Meet the Team – Nicole Denise Dukes

Nicole Denise Dukes joined the Best Practices team July 1, 2016 as our graduate research assistant.  Currently, she is writing her Ph.D. prospectus, focusing on pre-service teachers and language variation, specifically African-American English.  Prior to coming to Georgia State University, Nicole taught elementary school in Los Angeles for 11 years and public speaking, voice and diction, and conflict resolution courses at the college level.  This year, you may see Nicole at Work Sampling Online trainings or hear her voice in one of BP’s podcasts or webinars.

What is your favorite children’s book?  What makes it most appealing to you?
I have two favorites!  First, I love this book of poetry called Honey, I Love by Eloise Greenfield.  It is my go to book, sure to put smiles on children’s faces.  It is a celebration of language, capturing that unique rhythm that reminds me of my childhood.  I have bought that book at least a dozen times, and every school year it disappears out of my library into the hands of a little one.  Greenfield has poems in there that make you want to dance, cry, and jump rope.  Kids love it!

My other favorite is Dancing in the Wings by the legendary dancer/choreographer Debbie Allen.  It is about a little girl named Sassy who has unusually large feet and is super tall for her age.  Again, the language is unique and familiar at the same time.  Confession: I have large feet, too, and my mom insisted on putting me in dance classes growing up.  Kids go crazy laughing and feel excitement, fear, and eventually motivation by Sassy’s journey.  I must admit, there are parts in the book where I get chills reading it.  For example, when Uncle Redd tells her, “Make your mark gal!” and when Sassy refers to herself as “long-legged me from Inglewood California”, my day is made.

Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?
I have eagle eyes.  I can see very far off into the distance.  My friends find this oddly entertaining, asking me to read street signs several blocks ahead.

What is one thing you will never do again?
Scoot the ‘Hooch!

What is your most treasured memory?
My nieces and nephews visit me most summers.  We take road trips and have a wonderful time.


I train Georgia PreK teachers and dabble a bit in the art of blogging. Have an idea for a blog post? Email me at On the web: Facebook: Twitter: @bestpracticespk

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