Teacher of the Year to present at 10th annual Schneider Disability Issues Forum

| Emily Wermund

A favorite speaker is returning to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Schneider Disability Issues Forum.

Kathy Nimmer, the 2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year and finalist for the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, will present “What Kindergartners and Canines Know: Lessons from a Life with Students and Service Dogs” at 5 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Woodland Theater of Davies Center. Nimmer also was the featured speaker for the 2012 Schneider Forum. The event is free and open to the public.

Diagnosed with a rare retinal degenerative disease in second grade, Nimmer’s vision started to slowly deteriorate in stages. Her presentation covers the strength and potential of both human and canine relationships working in alliance where neither is perfect. She will also discuss life hacks and teaching tips, along with her experience mentoring other teachers after winning the Indiana Teacher of the Year award.

Nimmer is the author of an anthology called "Two Plus Four Equals One: Celebrating the Partnership of People with Disabilities and Their Assistance Dogs" (2010). She also has written a book of poetry called "Minutes in the Dark, Eternity in the Light" (2006).

She has received the Dollywood Foundation’s 2016 Chasing Rainbows Award, the NFB’s Blind Educator of the Year Award and the Hasbrook Award, a lifetime achievement honor sponsored by Bosma Industries. Among other honors, she was named Sagamore of the Wabash in 2014, the highest civilian honor in Indiana.

Nimmer is a writer and blogger for The Huffington Post, currently teaches writing at Harrison High School in West Lafayette, Indiana, and serves as Tippecanoe School Corp.’s coach and mentor for new teachers across the district. She is a frequent motivational speaker at local, state and national events. Kathy earned her B.A. in English Education from Trinity Christian College in 1991 and her M.A. from Purdue University in 1992. Her life is grounded in faith, family, friendship and creativity. She enjoys working out at the gym, reading mysteries, following sports, adding to her perfume collection and going for long walks with her third guide dog, Elias.  

The Schneider Disability Issues Forum is free and open to the public. An interpreter for the deaf and captioning will be provided. Nimmer’s book, “Two Plus Four Equals One” will be available for purchase and signing after the presentation.

Through the Schneider Disability Issues Forum, renowned authors and experts come to campus each year to address accessibility issues for people living with disabilities. The event was established by Dr. Katherine Schneider, UW-Eau Claire psychologist emerita and author, who has been blind since birth.

The Schneider Disability Issues Forum is co-sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, the Chippewa Valley Book Festival and UW-Eau Claire’s College of Education and Human Sciences, Services for Students with Disabilities Office and Education Studies 385 course.

Parking is available on campus in any F or S parking stall. The Human Sciences and Services and Davies Center lots are closest to this event location. (See campus map for parking lot locations.) If you need accessible parking, please contact Debra Lang at 715-836-5607 or langda@uwec.edu to make arrangements.

Photo caption: Kathy Nimmer, 2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year, works with one of her high school students.