NIC recognizes outstanding faculty, staff with annual achievement awards

To North Idaho College Business and Office Technology Instructor Kathie O’Brien, being an educator is about more than just teaching classes.
“As a positive role model, I can help my students become contributing members of society,” O’Brien said. “I strive toward this goal on a daily basis and continually work to affect positive changes in students’ lives.”
This passion and dedication for North Idaho College and her students earned O’Brien this year’s NIC Faculty Achievement Award.
O’Brien holds a master’s degree in business education from Portland State University and a bachelor’s degree in business education from Oregon State University. Even after earning a master’s degree, O’Brien has continued to take graduate level courses to further her professional development.
“I consider myself a lifelong learner in every sense of the term,” O’Brien said.
|photo1|O’Brien began working at NIC in 2000 after teaching in the office technology department of Spokane Community College for four years. In addition to working in the private sector for years as an office administrator, she has also taught for the Community Colleges of Spokane and Columbia Gorge Community College in The Dalles, Ore. Since 1987, O’Brien has served as anindependent contractor for various organization and individuals providing custom business services.
O’Brien is a member of numerous professional organizations, in which she encourages her students to participate. She spearheaded the effort to establish an NIC chapter of Business Professionals of America, and as the organization’s faculty adviser, she has seen the small group of six student members grow to a group of 27 active members, some of which have served as officers on the state level. In addition, O’Brien was selected as the Idaho Postsecondary Business Teacher of the Year by the Idaho Business Education Association in 2005.
“Katie O’Brien is not only a teacher; she is an inspiration to her students to excel at everything they do,” said student Cindy Kuhn, who was selected as the recipient of the national Star of Education Post Secondary Student Award by the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, another organization in which O’Brien is involved.
“She is a teacher that not only sees a student, but a leader. Kathie continues to ensure that her students are working to their full potential. I was fortunate to have Kathie as a teacher. She inspired me to continue with anything even when things seemed impossible. Her true dedication to the students is the reason she’s a great teacher.”
The award was presented to O’Brien along with a $1,500 check from the NIC Foundation at the annual Employee Awards Breakfast May 19.
The other finalist for the Faculty Achievement Award was NIC Biology Instructor David Cunnington, a 15-year employee of the college who was presented a check for $500 from the NIC Foundation and honored at the awards breakfast.
The Adjunct Faculty Achievement Award, for part-time faculty members, was presented to Accounting Instructor John Nilson, who has taught accounting in the Business and Professional Programs Division for 29 years. Nilson received $500 with the award, which is sponsored by North Idaho Title Company.
|photo2|Staff members recognized for their outstanding service to NIC with the Staff Achievement Award included Adviser Lewis Watkins, Office of Instruction Executive Assistant Pam Claflin and Maintenance Technician Steve Masterman. Each received $500 from the NIC Foundation.
Employees were recognized with Length of Service Awards, sponsored by the NIC Board of Trustees.
Five-year award recipients include Steve Baum, Janine Baxter, Curt Booth, Lita Burns, Sharla Chittick, Corene Cohen, Lynn Covey, Steven Cunliffe, Bruce Gifford, Willene Goodwin, Loralee Haarr, Lori Jacobson, Carol Jones, Katie Kelso, Kevin Lane, Pamela Marshall, C.J. Morrison, Don Murphy, Ken Ostaszewski, Jack Purdie, Marilyn Quinn, Christina Shaw, Amy Shibley, Wayne Smith, Claudia Stevens, Bret Taylor, Lori Wallin and Janet Warner.
10-year award recipients includeKathy Butcher, Mary Duval, Dan Erlacher, Dave McRae, Linda Michaels, Kevin Olson, Laurie Olson-Horswill, Jim Reynolds and Sue Shibley.
15-year award recipients includeRandy Brockhoff, Susanne Bromley, Gayne Clifford, Doug Compton, Tami Haft, Cynthia Hanhi, Ann Johnston, Robert Ketchum, Bill Porath, Donna Runge and Lewis Watkins.
20-year award recipients includeNina Bartlett, Robert Clark, Connie Dawson-McKenzie, David Foster, Mike Halpern, Jim Howerton, Terry Jones and Bruce Winegardner.
25-year award recipients includeEnglish InstructorFran Bahr, Transportation Supervisor Burt Crupper, English Instructor Jeanne Emerson, Philosophy Instructor Tom Flint and Math Instructor Janet Gossett.
Natural Sciences Division Chair and Biology Instructor Robert Murray was presented with a 35-year award and Communication/Fine Arts/Humanities Division Chair Virginia Johnson received a 40-year award.
Pictured above:
(Top photo) This year’s North Idaho College Faculty Achievement Award recipients were adjunct faculty member Accounting Instructor John Nilson, Business and Office Technology Instructor Kathie O’Brien and Biology Instructor David Cunnington.
(Bottom photo) This year’s North Idaho College Staff Achievement Award recipients were Maintenance Technician Steve Masterman and Office of Instruction Executive Assistant Pam Claflin. Adviser Lewis Watkins is not pictured.

For More Information
NIC Foundation Executive Director Rayelle Anderson, (208) 769-5978, or NIC Business and Office Technology Instructor Kathie O’Brien, (208) 769-3264

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2006

Email ArticleEmail


Go To Our Facebook Page Go To Our Twitter Page Go To Our Instagram Page Go To Our You Tube Videos Page Go To Our Flickr Photos Page

NIC Communications Contacts

Please direct all media inquiries to:

Tom Greene
Communications Coordinator
(208) 665-2759 or

Stacy Hudson
Communications and Marketing Director
(208) 769-7819 or

Please direct all public information requests to:

Mindy Patterson
Community Relations Executive Assistant
(208) 769-3316
Public Information Request Form [PDF]

News Search