Four Blinn educators recognized with coveted excellence award
NISOD Excellence Award recognizes educators for outstanding teaching and leadership
March 21, 2017
Four Blinn College educators recently were honored with the 2017National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award in recognition of their dedication to student success.
Amy Jones, Child Development Program Coordinator; Kara Kleimann, Speech Professor; David Michener, Director of Student Leadership & Activities, and Karla Ross, Nursing Professor; will be recognized in May at the annual NISOD conference in Austin.
NISOD’s Excellence Awards recognize educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to their students and colleagues. In 1989, in connection with a University of Texas at Austin national study of teaching excellence, NISOD hosted its first ceremony honoring NISOD Excellence Award recipients. The response to that ceremony was so positive that NISOD began what has become the largest and most inspiring gathering that recognizes the contributions and achievements of community and technical college faculty, administrators, and staff.
“Blinn College is proud to recognize the extraordinary efforts of these educators,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, District President/CEO. “These award recipients are leaders not only in the classroom, but also on our campuses and in the community. We applaud them for their dedication and commitment to student success.”
Recipients were nominated by the heads of their divisions based on their character and integrity, effectiveness as instructors, involvement in student organizations and activities, service to Blinn College, and participation in professional organizations and professional development activities.
Jones joined the Blinn faculty in 1997 as a part-time instructor for the Child Development Program, and has run the program since 1999. Jones earned her Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Angelo State University and her Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M University.
“When I taught pre-kindergarten, I could set the foundation from which all other educational experiences would build on – one student at a time,” Jones said. “This philosophy has also guided my teaching at the college level. I try very hard to be the type of teacher I want my students to become.”
Kleimann has been a Blinn instructor since 1998, when she was hired as a part-time instructor on the Schulenburg Campus. In 2002, she became a full-time sociology and speech professor. Prior to joining the Blinn faculty, she taught at Columbus ISD for 12 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication arts from Texas Lutheran College and her Master of Education from Southwest Texas State University.
“What originally drew me to the profession of teaching was my own love of learning,” Kleimann said. “In the process of instructing my students each semester, the amount of knowledge I gain from them never ceases to amaze me. Teaching, for me, truly has been a win-win career.”
Michener was hired as Blinn’s Director of Student Leadership & Activities in 2015. A fourth-generation educator, Michener served as Coordinator of Student Activities & Recruitment at South Florida State College (2007-2010) and Associate Director of Multicultural Student Programs & Services (2010-2015) at the College of Charleston. He holds a Bachelor of Science in sport management from Florida State University and a Master of Arts in sports administration (emphasis in higher education) from Ball State University.
“My leadership style is grounded in observation, intentionality, openness, and action,” he said. “I am invested in fostering an environment that promotes collaboration and prepares students and staff to be successful in the global society.”
Ross was hired as a full-time Associate Degree Nursing Program instructor in 2010. She earned her Bachelor of Science in biomedical sciences from Texas A&M, her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Texas A&M International University, and her Master of Science in Nursing from the Texas Tech University Health Science Center.
“I believe my job as a nursing educator is not just to teach the information and skills necessary to pass exams, but to facilitate a love of learning that continues a lifetime,” Ross said. “I want students leaving my class with the ability to create solutions to complex healthcare problems, the confidence to advocate for patients, and the compassion to be effective in practice.”
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With an enrollment of 19,581 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence.