Helping young people be successful in the classroom is more than just a mantra for Hopkins student support specialist Dominique Pierre-Toussaint; it’s a way of life. And his lessons transcend from the classroom into the real world. Known to his peers and students as “Mr. Neek,” Dominique is a familiar face around Glen Lake Elementary. In this role, he ensures students are supported in their academic and social success, and provides support and acts as a liaison for students, staff, and parents.
“Dominique has a calm, patient approach with all students he interacts with on a daily basis,” said Glen Lake Principal Jeff Radel. “He is an important factor in our proactive belief to create positive relationships with our students at Glen Lake. He has a passion for helping students and families in accessing opportunities in the community that may otherwise have been difficult to access.”
Driven by his love of giving back, Dominique and his wife Tracie founded a local nonprofit called Minnesota Youth Community (MNYC). The mission of the nonprofit is to provide an opportunity for Minnesota youth to share their passions and areas of interest with the larger community. Through this nonprofit, he has helped create several MNYC athletic events and teams and an art club.
“He is definitely a dedicated community advocate,” said Lisa Walker, Hopkins youth programs coordinator. “He wants to partner with the community to make sure all students have the same opportunities to succeed.”
Background: Dominique moved to Minnesota with the dream to help kids succeed. While on this road, life led him to Paisley Park, where he was an on-call bodyguard for the musician Prince. Eventually he landed a job with Hopkins Kids & Company as an activities supervisor. His dedication to students and to Hopkins did not go unrecognized, and for the last four years he has been a student support specialist at Glen Lake Elementary.
What do you love most about working at Hopkins Public Schools? I love all of the partnerships and relationships I have created in this amazing community.
Proudest moment? One of my proudest moments has been working with a student-athlete named Alex Quintero (West Jr. High). He recently received the 2017 Caring Youth Award in Hopkins and was nominated by the organization that my wife and I created to serve youth and families. Through his experience as a youth participant in MNYC programming, and as a volunteer when he was older, Alex has grown immensely and has been able to contribute to the success of other young people.
Teaching philosophy? I don’t believe in coincidences. I only believe in the right path.