Nicole moved to Easthampton in 1997 and quickly fell in love with the vibrant and supportive community, where she decided to raise her daughter, Sigrid. Nicole’s mother and step-father also live in Easthampton. Nicole currently lives on East Street, where she enjoys views of the oxbow and walking her two dogs on the bike path.
Nicole was born and raised in Holyoke with her brother, Christian, and attended Holyoke Public Schools and Holyoke High School. Nicole graduated from Smith College with a Bachelor of Arts in Government. In 2002, Nicole earned a Juris Doctorate from Western New England School of Law and was admitted as a member of the Massachusetts Bar.
From 1995 to 2016, Nicole worked at The Center for School Crisis Intervention and Assessment, which serves students with a wide range of behavioral and physical disabilities. In 2008, she became director and senior strategist for the school, overseeing administration, staffing, budget, operations, and long-term vision and mission. Through this work, Nicole took point on creating public-private partnerships with multiple school districts across the state to better serve students in their own communities.
In 2016, Nicole served as the Chief of Pupil Services for Holyoke Public Schools. In this role, she coordinated district-wide special education services and related compliance functions mandated by state and federal statutes and regulation.
Nicole currently works as an attorney focused on civil rights advocacy, especially as it pertains to education and labor rights. She is of counsel to The Law Firm of John A. Creane, where she assists on all aspects of the firm’s representation of labor organizations and ERISA Taft-Hartley benefit Funds.
In 2009, Nicole was named “Democrat of the Year” by the Pioneer Valley Young Democrats. And in 2011, Nicole was honored as an Unsung Heroine by The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. Unsung Heroines are described as “the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities, and towns.”
Nicole has a long record of community service and organizing:
- In 1999, Nicole joined the Easthampton Zoning Board of Appeals and served for ten years, including service as Vice Chairperson.
- She joined the Easthampton Democratic City Committee in 2007 and served as Secretary.
- Nicole has been an active member of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee since 2008 and was Treasurer from 2013 to 2015.
- In 2008, she became a member of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee. Nicole was made co-chair in 2015 and served until earlier this year.
- From 2009 to 2010, Nicole served as the State Appointee for the Hampshire County Regional Housing Authority.
Nicole has also served on the boards of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, Emerge Massachusetts, Massachusetts Association of Approved 766 Private Schools, and Children’s Museum of Holyoke.
Nicole has one daughter, Sigrid von Wendel. Sigrid earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Yale University in 2012 and is attending Columbia University this fall, pursuing a Masters of Social Work.