Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year -- Kathy Nimmer

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz introduces Kathy
Kathy's first remarks as 2015 INTOY

I love surprises, and there was a big one today in Tippecanoe County, Indiana.  For months a committee of former Indiana Teachers of the Year had reviewed portfolios submitted by outstanding teachers across our state to represent their districts in the competition for 2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year.  We read.  We thought.  We evaluated.  We interviewed ten finalists at the Department of Education, and then we read, we thought, and we evaluated some more.  We visited the top three finalists at their schools to see extraordinary teaching in action, and guess what?  We read, we thought, and we evaluated yet again, and at the end of the day, the choice was clear.

Kathy Nimmer is the 2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year!

Kathy's colleagues celebrate her honor
A hug from mom & cheers from students

In the days leading up to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz's announcement at William Henry Harrison High School, where Kathy teaches English in grades 10-12, I could hardly contain my excitement.  This master teacher, with a resume that includes multiple grants, publications, and even a TED talk, would now represent Indiana and show the rest of the country what a truly accomplished educational leader looks like.

Supt. Ritz, Kathy, 2014 & 2005 INTOYs Steve Perkins/Molly Seward 
Kathy & her parents

Kathy's life will never be the same.  She will travel across the country to work with the finest teachers in our nation.  She will talk with the President of the United States.  This teacher who already thinks broadly and deeply about the most important issues in education will find her capacious boundaries extended to realms of politics and policy, research and training.  She will take her rightful place on the larger stage of American education at one of the most exciting times in the history this great institution.  I look forward to working with her and hearing her voice as she speaks into and helps lead vital areas in this profession that affects every single citizen.

Kathy's first reaction was to embrace her friend, Elias

What I look forward to most, however, is the reaction of the rest of our state and nation as a wider audience of educators gets to know Kathy.  The surprise announcement at Harrison High School was fun, but it will be nothing like the surprise of American educators when they realize that a consummate professional, a powerful yet humble leader of the first order, has taken her place alongside them in one of the greatest works to which a human being can dedicate a life.

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