The Tippecanoe School Corporation has named Kathy Nimmer, an English and creative writing teacher at William Henry Harrison High School, as its Teacher of the Year.
Nimmer has been teaching at Harrison High School since 1992. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education from Trinity Christian College and a master’s degree in English from Purdue University. The National Board Certified Teacher is a 1998 Golden Apple Award winner and two-time recipient of the Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship. Nimmer has published two books on disability in 2006 and 2010. She enjoys teaching braille and making jewelry that benefits Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
“Cultivating a positive atmosphere, encouraging students to reach beyond their limitations and using creativity to establish a vital learning environment are foundational goals for Kathy,” says Harrison High School Principal Al Remaly. “She sees the connection with students as the most rewarding part of teaching.”
A committee selected Nimmer from a field of 19 building-level winners. Nimmer will represent the TSC in the Indiana 2015 Teacher of the Year Program. She will be honored along with other TSC Teachers of the Year at the April 23, 2014, TSC Staff Recognition Night at Harrison High School.
Kathy’s educational philosophy, as written on her nomination form:
I believe in innovation. This means my lessons are never “good enough” the next year; they need revision, improvement, and: revitalization. It also means that my students cannot be satisfied to be stagnant in their learning; they must stretch, explore, and reconfigure their way of thinking.
I believe in communication. This means affirmation, clarification, and reinforcement. It also means positive letters about students, weekly e-mails to parents, and the most powerful nonverbal communication of all: the smile.
I believe in passion. If I come to the classroom with a flat tone and a mechanical approach, how can I expect students to be excited? Instead, I bring animation, energy, humor, spontaneity, and joy. When I forget those things, my students pull back. When I remember those things, my students match my passion with their passion, and we all learn.
I believe in filling what is empty and emptying what is full, as Alice Roosevelt once remarked. Learning fills us; teaching empties us. Thankfully, the filling and emptying are simultaneous in education, like a synchronized waltz. The teacher and students are part of that continual dance, each receiving and giving. At its best, the result is a masterpiece.