“Good outcome comes from investing in the positive.”
“Every student brings a special gift.”
These are just two of many inspirational quotations from Deborah Ellis-Nailor, who has devoted a large part of her life to New England College. She is a Registered Nurse and was Director at NEC’s Health Center from 1993-2002. She is also an alumnus, having graduated in 1999 with a BS degree in Human Services/Psychology. Debi is a sweet, kind, big-hearted woman who is not only a parent, but also a foster parent to children of all kinds; she has adopted siblings with special needs, and kids that really needed her the most.
When Debi started working at NEC in 1993 she had an infant son and three school-aged daughters. As her children got older, two of her daughters worked in Gilmore Dining Hall and her son attended several of NEC’s “Jr. Grim” basketball camps under Charlie Mason’s direction. She was pleased to be on the selection committee for the position of NEC Men’s Basketball Coach and has been pleased with how far Charlie has brought the team.
“He raises awareness on the importance of success for all parts of student life at NEC,” mentioning also that Erica Levy, the women’s basketball coach, is focused and passionate. “I have been watching her coach for several years, and have seen the team reach exceptional outcomes leading the Conference.”
During her time at NEC, she witnessed our president change five different times. She has seen a lot of change, sharing that she has watched former co-workers, such as VPAA Wayne Lesperance, make great personal advances in positions and a great impact on the NEC community. She also stated that she met Wayne when he first arrived at NEC as a young professor and believes he has taken NEC to a “greater height” through not only political education but invitations to and visits from the presidential candidates, events that are also open to the Henniker community. She considers herself his friend and praised his wife and him for being awesome parents to his amazing little girl.
Debi has worked in the field of Developmental Disability for most of her career. She believes “the biggest element of care is trust” and that’s exactly what every student received from her. “When kids trust you, a lot of prevention of poor choices happen.”
To this day, Debi has had many former students contact her via Facebook and confide in her, asking how she is and giving her life updates.
One of her favorite passions has been attending the NEC Basketball Games. For the past 20-plus years, she has been screaming from the same bleacher-area at every home and some away games. Debi will shout for all students, but especially students whose parents weren’t able to attend games. She is pleased to be pictured on the wall of the gym, standing up with her arm raised and her mouth open screaming in celebration for a team win.
This season some of her favorite players are Rene Hudson, Daleia Boutwell, Ricky Leonard, Izaiah Winston Brooks, and Alonzo Cooper. She spoke so highly of all these players, displaying passion for basketball but especially student-athletes. At games, parents often ask her which one is her child and she proudly states, “all of them.”
When asked for more examples of how NEC has changed over the years, she stated that the college has moved forward in many ways, working to be a place “where everybody belongs.” She believes embracing diversity offers a richness in culture to the community. She also said that there is a lot more opportunity for students with the expanded development of programs and new buildings, which reflects people who love NEC giving back.
The addition of shuttles for athletes has also been added since she worked at NEC, and anything that can support the Basketball programs gives her great satisfaction. “If I won the lottery, NEC gymnasium upgrades would be first on my list, and as a whole, the campus would not be forgotten.”
Deborah Ellis-Nailor’s passion for NEC and the students reflects on the type of person that she was, and the type of person that she is: amazing with a huge heart.