Human Resources Coordinator, Belmont Charter Network

Niko Rufino-Smiley started their career as a temp in higher education for a few years, and even thought they would get their PhD in Poli-Sci at one point! It was when Niko had a temporary HR job at a high school that they realized they loved being in a position to meet and get to know everyone on campus, and to help them. Niko’s favorite days in HR are the ones where they get to really connect with peers in this way.

Questions with Niko

When did you join Belmont Charter Network?

May 2018

Where did you go to school? What was your major/degree?

Moravian College, English major with double minor in Religious Studies & Political Science

What drew you to Belmont’s mission?

I remember really loving the specificity around meeting kids where they are, the community’s many programs and services truly enforce that and made me feel excited to contribute.

What makes Belmont a special place/what do you like best about working here?

Belmont’s community is one of the most caring I’ve seen. There are so many people around who will drop everything and help you out, with anything! When Ms. Po found out I was getting married and didn’t have a photographer, she came to City Hall and took beautiful professional photos without me even asking. People don’t take care of each other like that everywhere!

What’s your favorite memory at Belmont Charter Network?

We had a Thanksgiving potluck last year and it was so much fun! We all just got to relax and enjoy each other’s company while enjoying delicious homemade food together.

What is the greatest challenge you face in your role and how do you overcome it?

My greatest challenge is probably Open Enrollment, or any other project that requires mass changes in the system. Our organization’s growth is exciting but it also means my processes can get pretty complex!

What is one piece of advice you would give to Belmont students?

You will never be too old to go outside and play!

What’s your favorite thing to do in Philadelphia?

Seeing live music (when there isn’t a pandemic going on)! And hiking Pennypack Trail or in Fairmount Park, any time.

When you were your students’ age, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A yoga teacher, or a king.