Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, author, and stroke survivor
Nika Maples Bio
Nika Maples, a native Texan, never thought she would become a teacher. By her sophomore year in college God revealed other plans
In 1994, a lupus-induced stroke left Nika quadriplegic. She could not speak, swallow, or blink. In intensive care, she listened as physicians warned her family that she had as little as 48 hours to live. If she lived at all, they said, she could be expected to remain unresponsive. She had lost all functionality and had no hope of recovery, so doctors suggested an assisted living facility as the only option for Nika's future. When she could do nothing else, she prayed. Her friends prayed. Her family prayed. They took their desperate need to the Great Physician. He sustained her, and a year later, she walked back onto her college campus on her own two feet. The lessons she learned from quadriplegia will always be a part of her heart.
A stark reality became clearer to her by the day: Life is brief and brilliant. Whatever we choose to do with our handful of moments on earth, it is critical that we make those moments significant by living and serving as Jesus did. She could think of no better way to serve than to educate and encourage young people.
After she had taught in a public high school only four years, the Texas Education Agency honored Nika by naming her 2007 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. Currently, she shares her message of endurance with education, business, and church groups. Audiences respond to her humorous and heartfelt stories with warmth and enthusiasm. Almost everyone walks away with renewed faith and hope.
Nika feels her purpose on this earth is to encourage others to keep going. While all of our struggles are different, the core question in the midst of difficulty remains the same: Has God forgotten me? More than anything else, Nika desires to remind others that God never forgets, that He brings beauty out of suffering and disappointment, and that His plans are bigger and better than any we could imagine on our own.
Nika holds a BS in mass communications from Texas Wesleyan University and an MA in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Currently, she is pursuing an MDIV from the King's University.