People of Whitewater: Nicholas Kliminski
October 21, 2015
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By Ashley McCallum
Oct. 20, 2015
This fall, Nicholas Kliminski went from a Warhawk to a Falcon as he started his first year as a seventh grade teacher at Franklin Middle School in Janesville.
Although he now wears a new pair of wings, Kliminski is still feeling the benefits of his time at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Kliminski is one of eight recipients from around the country to receive the 2013-14 Distinguished Chapter Officer Award at the Kappa Delta Pi biennial convocation in Orlando, Florida, Oct. 22-24.
Kliminski served as president of UW-W’s Delta Nu chapter in his first year at UW-W after transferring from Lake Forest College (Illinois).
“For the process he had to have two other members in the organization write letters of recommendation for him, I was one of them,” Leah Kennedy, Kappa Delta Pi- Delta Nu president, said. “He did a really good job of making an overly strong foundation for us to grow on.”
In his time on the executive board, Kliminski started a board trainee program that helped triple their active board membership in the first year. He revamped the organization’s induction ceremony, bringing in education professionals from surrounding school districts including Janesville, Fort Atkinson and North Lake that led to an attendance of approximately 400 people. Kappa Delta Pi’s membership doubled after Kliminski’s leadership.
During his time at UW-W, he was on the soccer team and also served as a Global Ambassador for international students after he spent time teaching in China.
As a professional, Kliminski uses skills he learned beyond the classroom at UW-W. His time in China opened his eyes to a broader understanding of education and with Kappa Delta Pi, he expanded on his leadership skills. His lifelong love for soccer and experience coaching inspired him to go into teaching in the first place.
“Soccer has always been such a big part of my life, it’s who I am, an athlete,” Kliminski said. “It also helps me in the classroom because especially middle school, and especially middle school boys, don’t have the listening skills. They’re just a really active, rowdy bunch sometimes, and I think I can relate to them that way and get them to see the importance in education.”
Kliminski continues to receive support from Kappa Delta Pi even after graduation. Current board members are attending the convocation to support Kliminski, as well as enhance their knowledge in education and take away skill that will help better their chapter.
“I didn’t know that I was going to get an award for my leadership services to the university and for the organization, but I think it reflects well on my abilities as an educator and a leader to go and accept it,” Kliminski said. “It’s awesome that my board members can get down there, a few of them are going. So that’s pretty big.”
As Kliminski benefits from Kappa Delta Pi, they continue to thrive on the foundation he started. The trainee program is still in effect and current board members, including Kennedy, have come from it with the skills needed to run the organization. The chapter continues to coordinate the Hoops for Hope wheelchair basketball tournament that began with connections made by Kliminski. The chapter also runs a book drive around campus that provided over 1,000 pounds of books to children last year.
“I think- especially for education majors- when you leave and you’re looking for a job, there are so many people applying for the same job with the same degree and you need something to set you apart,” Margaret Phillips, Kappa Delta Pi- Delta Nu secretary said. “That’s what this honors program does for you, when they’re looking at your resume when you’re in an interview you can talk to them about what you did, especially if you were in a leadership position.”
The chapter brings in resources to help education students grow their careers and make connections at their meetings. The current board has goals to continue bringing in new members and improve their retention.
As for Kliminski, in the long term he hopes to become a middle school administrator or possibly work at the university level. In the short term, he just hopes to get through grading for his seventh graders.