The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented annually by the UW-Barron County Foundation to outstanding UW-BC alumni who reflect the ideals of UW quality and have established an exceptional reputation in their careers and communities.
The UW-BC Foundation is soliciting nominations from the public for the Distinguished Alumni Award. The criteria and selection process has been determined by the Friends of the University Committee of the UW-BC Foundation. The nomination form should be submitted by April 1st of each year.
2015: Kathe Nickleby
Class of 1991
High school teacher/administrator Kathe Nickleby of Hammond was named as the recipient of the UW-Barron County Foundation’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Nickleby attended UW-Barron County from January 1989 through June 1991. While at UW-BC she served as president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and received the National Bierkoe Distinguished Member Award for outstanding leadership. She was also selected to represent UW-BC at the Women’s Studies Consortium workshop at UW-Madison.
She then attended Hamline University on a full scholarship and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1998 she earned a Masters of Educational Leadership from Bethel University and an Educational Administrative License in 2001 from St. Mary’s University.
She began her professional career as an instructor of physics and physical science at Rice Lake High School from 1993 – 1995. She then taught chemistry and physics at Mahtomedi High School from 1995 – 2005 after which she served as Director of Engineering for Mahtomedi School District for two years. From 2005 – 2009 she served in the position of Assistant Principal at Mahtomedi High School and currently is the principal of that school. In every professional position, Nickleby received accolades and numerous awards for her teaching excellence, student mentoring, and ability to instill into her students a passion for learning.
Under her guidance, a science club earned first place awards in the Minnesota State Rube Goldberg Science Olympiad competition, the school district was recognized as the 2009 K-12 Model S.T.E. M. School by Minnesota E4 Engineering Conference, and she secured more than $450,000 of monetary and in-kind grants for the school district in an 18 month period. While principal, Newsweek ranked Mahtomedi High School number two in the state of Minnesota and number 158 in the nation.
In volunteer community service she acted as coordinator for the Celebration of Excellence, was an engineering panelist at University of St. Thomas, was an Engineering Advisory Board Executive Committee member, and Zephry ‘M’ Club Executive Committee member.
In 1995 she was voted Rice Lake School District Teacher of the Year, in 2005 received the 3M TWEST Award, and was voted Assistant Principal of the Year in 2008 and Principal of the Year in 2012 by the Minnesota Association of Secondary Schools.
Previous recipients of the UW-Barron County Foundation Distinguished Alumni Award are Louis E. Muench of Cumberland; Lance Allan Hajdasz, a native of Rice Lake; John Paul Gamoke, a native of Arcadia; Karyn Nelson Schauf of Barron; Eric Ness, a native of Cumberland; Mark Gilbertson, a native of Rice Lake; Jeff Hile of Cumberland; Reverend Peter Muschinske, a native of Rice Lake, and Chris Fitzgerald of Rice Lake.
Read about our previous Distinguished Alumni honorees.