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News Story

Nicolet Trustees honor seven with Outstanding Service Awards

June 2, 2016

Board Award


The Nicolet College Board of Trustees recently honored seven college employees with 2016 Outstanding Service Awards for superior performance that advanced student learning, responded to community needs, and furthered the overall mission of the college.

Those receiving honors were front row, left to right, Ginny Leith, Academic Success adjunct instructor; Kaye Mathwich, accommodations specialist; Kelly Haverkampf, planning, development, and evaluation manager; back row, Jenny Bonardelli, engineering services coordinator; Judy Heikkinen, executive assistant to the vice president; Hakim Salaam, Culinary Arts adjunct instructor; and Warren Krause, Welding instructor. Denice Darges, assistant to the registrar, was also honored with a Board Award but was unable to be in the photo.

Below are selected comments from the nominating papers for each award recipient.

Ginny Leith – (nominated by a former student) I truly believe that if it wasn’t for Mrs. Leith, I would never be able accomplish my educational goals. Her enthusiasm and love of teaching was evident from the beginning. Eight years ago I was a pre-nursing student, doubting my knowledge and ability to learn in the new environment. However, with Ginny’s help and support, I successfully graduated from Nicolet’s Nursing in 2012 and in 2013 earned my bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Ginny recognized my love for learning and teaching and with her advice I decided to pursue my master’s in Nursing with the emphasis on Education. Mrs. Leith is more than just a professor, she is mentor, an inspiration, and a true friend. Someday, I hope to be as an excellent teacher as Mrs. Leith.

Kaye Mathwich - Kaye provides superior service to students on a daily basis. She goes above and beyond her regularly assigned duties to assist students in being successful during their time at Nicolet. She has developed strong partnerships with the Career Coaches, Academic Advisors, faculty, and other key staff. These partnerships allow Kaye to work directly with the students and staff to assure that the students will receive the support and guidance they need to be successful. Along the way, Kaye also teaches the students self-advocacy, a life-long skill that will help the students become successful community members and district employees.

Kelly Haverkampf - Kelly has organized and led the college through state-level funding transitions, biannual college strategy sessions, in-service planning, quality improvement work, and several successful years of grant planning that resulted in millions of grant dollars for the college. Kelly excelled during the successful 10-year Higher Learning Commission (HLC) re-accreditation during 2015. In addition, the HLC selected Kelly to speak at the 2016 annual HLC conference in Chicago on the subject of Nicolet’s success in switching to a new accreditation model. It is very apparent that Kelly thoroughly enjoys her position as Planning, Development and Evaluation Manager, and is a dedicated employee who works to advance Nicolet College.

Jenny Bonardelli - Jenny fully embraces the Nicolet mission, vision, and values and frequently goes beyond the call of duty in her position at Nicolet. She coordinates day-to-day maintenance for all Nicolet buildings and grounds, juggling support for inclement weather disruptions, fleet vehicle management, outreach center needs, small building modifications, and larger building addition and remodeling projects. She organizes with attention to every detail, and stays in touch with requestors throughout the process. She is also a committed volunteer, always willing to help with projects at Nicolet and in the community.

Judy Heikkinen - Judy has taken on much more than her regularly assigned duties during the recent 18-month Presidential transition, performing additional administrative duties and working longer hours when her supervisor took on additional interim vice president duties. Judy is a very experienced administrative resource at the college, leaned upon and recognized by many as an expert in scheduling and all things administrative. She always wears a smile, and it is clear that Judy thoroughly enjoys her position, and actively works to further the Nicolet College community.

Hakim Salaam – Hakim is a true a professional and an integral part of the Culinary Arts instructional team. He graciously and regularly goes beyond just teaching. He takes on any additional classes or educational opportunities offered, comes in for additional efforts to attract new students, and helps at our Open House events as well as many other volunteer activities. The service he provides to the community and our students is highly admirable and clearly furthers the mission of the college.

Warren Krause - Warren is the lead Welding instructor and has increased enrollment in the program over his time here to a record high of 55 students in the 2013-2014 academic year. Warren has also developed strong relationships with area employers in the manufacturing sector and has partnered with Nicolet’s workforce development to provide training to local industry, bringing in additional revenue to the college. Warren has also been a strong partner with area K-12 schools. He works closely with high school teachers and puts in many additional hours hosting an annual high school welding competition, bringing in more than 100 high school students for the competition. Warren should also be commended on his close relationships with industry, facilitating steel donations to cut down on student material costs for the welding program.

Denice Darges - Denice’s regularly assigned duties touch nearly every aspect and corner of the college, and these duties are always completed in a superior manner. Denice’s daily attention to detail ensures that student transcripts, state and national reporting data, course schedules, tuition and fees, and classroom assignments are accurate and error free. Denice has a thorough understanding of the policies and procedures of the college, and uses this to make independent decisions and to solve problems on a regular basis. Through her daily work, Denice provides superior service to our students, fellow employees, and the district community.