Kathy Nimmer is an award-winning teacher, author, and motivational speaker from Indiana. In 2006, she won first place in the Helen Keller International Memoir Competition and published a book of poetry called Minutes in the Dark, Eternity in the Light. She received the Butler-Cooley Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004, is a two-time recipient of the Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship, earned National Board Certification in 2003, and was presented with the Golden Apple in 1998. In 2009, she was named a Lilly Distinguished Fellow, giving her the opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream, the fulfillment of which is Two Plus Four Equals One. Blind due to a rare retinal disease, Nimmer looks to her faith, family, and friends as cornerstones in her life. 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.
Thoroughly immersed in the disability community, Kathy Nimmer was a 2008 semifinalist for the Paul Hearne Leadership Award, sponsored by the American Association for People with Disabilities. She worked for four years with an adaptive technology company as a part-time accessibility consultant. By opening her English classroom to numerous disabled teaching candidates for observations, Nimmer has learned more about other disabilities, broadening her perspective beyond blindness. In 1993, Nimmer participated in a multi-disability outreach to Russia with Mobility International, sharing support and information with disabled Russians.
A childhood love of dogs has blossomed into a fascination with all things canine for Kathy Nimmer. While looking for a new school from which to obtain her third guide dog in 2007, she researched many assistance dog schools. That same year, she created http://guidedogjourney.livejournal.com where hundreds of school children from around the country followed her process of obtaining a new guide dog. A year previously, she founded an e-mail list called Paws Forward, designed to give support to people newly working with guide dogs. Nimmer also completed an Indiana Workforce Development Internship in 2004, spending two weeks in a local veterinary office, working directly with the animals and their owners.
Kathy Nimmer earned a Master of Arts in English from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, in 1992. This followed a Bachelor of Arts in English education (minors in special education and communications) from Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, in 1991.
A cherished memory for Kathy Nimmer was when she served as an Olympic torch Bearer in 1996. This was very special to her as she competed twice as a teen in the National Gymnastics Championships for the Blind, winning seven gold medals and setting a national record.