Spotlight on Success
The Nienow Family
A Family Tradition Campaign
Kathy & Cal
Leah (Miller), Chad, Kori (Meyer), Troy, Jena
The active and amazing Nienow family has truly made UW-Washington County, “A Family Tradition!” Both parents, Cal and Kathy, as well as all five of their children: Leah (Miller), Chad, Kori (Meyer), Troy, and Jena, started their college careers at UW-WC. In addition, their two son-in-laws also attended UW-WC.
A familiar face to many in the community, Kathy Nienow has been a sixth grade teacher at Badger Middle School since 1993. In addition to participating in LOTS of extra-curricular activities with Badger, she’s also been very active with the West Bend Dance/Tumbling Troupe over the years, currently serving as Dance Camps Coordinator. Kathy’s talent and dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. Over the years, she has received the Rolf’s Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching, WBKV’s Top Teacher Award (several times) and recognized as One of the Top Five Dance Coaches in the nation (twice).
After completing a year of college studies at UW-WC, Kathy took time off from school to work full-time, get married and start a family. Her work background includes employment at Shopko in West Bend, where she started as a part-time cashier and worked her way up the ladder to full-time customer service manager. After their five children were born, she returned to college, earning a Bachelor of Science degree (Summa Cum Laude) in Elementary and Middle School education at UW-Milwaukee. In 2003, she completed a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Curriculum and Instruction from National Louis University’s College of Education. Kathy said, “Attending UW-WC allowed me to live at home and keep my job in West Bend, while attending college.” She “appreciated the reasonable tuition, small class sizes and knowledgeable professors.”
Kathy’s husband, Cal wasn’t sure of his path after high school graduation, so the “convenience and cost of attending college close to home was appealing.” UW-WC allowed him to “take the basic classes, which were the foundation of what turned out to be a career in small business ownership.” Cal also attended UW-WC for one year and later earned an Associate’s degree in Transportation and Distribution from MATC.
Self-employed, he manages Cartage & Transportation Services (C.A.T.S.), a truckload and expedited freight carrier that serves a 500-mile distribution area from south eastern Wisconsin. A successful entrepreneur, he also started and continues to manage a home-based business, specializing in product brokering and internet marketing. One important lesson that Cal learned at UW-WC is that, “if you are to succeed, you need to put the time and effort in – to reach your goals.” His profession made this clear, he said, “If you do the work, make the grade, you will obtain success.” With two successful businesses under his belt, it’s evident that Cal has done just that, and he “thanks UW-WC for this life lesson.”
Leah (Miller) Nienow was the first of the five Nienow children to attend UW-WC in 2000. After completing her Associate degree, she transferred to UW-Milwaukee, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree (MAGNA CUM LAUDE) in Education. Currently, she is a fifth grade teacher at Fair Park Elementary in West Bend. For Leah, UW-WC was a “great transition between high school and a four-year college.” According to Leah, “it is a strong, positive and cost-effective way to complete all of the general courses that will transfer to a four-year college.” Some of her fondest UW-WC memories include playing intramural volleyball, working in the weight room, and starting up the dance team with Debbie and Renee Butschlick.” The Dance team took first place in the Badger championships in 2001 and second place in 2002. Leah’s husband, Brandon Miller, also attended UW-WC before transferring to UW-Milwaukee where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. Brandon works as a copywriter at an advertising agency, Nelson-Schmidt in Milwaukee. They have one daughter, Tegan.
A dispatch manager for the family-owned, Cartage and Transportation Services, Chad Nienow also completed his Associate’s degree at UW-WC. For Chad, “it was a great way to save money by living at home while going to college.” Active in sports, he also wanted to continue playing soccer in college and “UW-WC has a strong soccer program.” Chad’s team won the All-Conference title in 2003 and he received an All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2001. Married last summer at the Nienow home on Wallace Lake, Chad and his wife, Lindsey (a neonatal nurse) live in the Barton area.
Kori (Meyer) Nienow followed in her mom’s and sister’s footsteps, completing an Associate degree at UW-WC and then a Bachelor’s degree in Education from UW-Milwaukee. She is a Reading and Math Title 1 teacher in the West Bend School District, teaching at Decorah and Barton Elementary Schools. While a student at UW-WC, she enjoyed performing with the UW-WC dance team, which won the state Badger championship in 2004 and 2005. She also played co-ed intramural volleyball teams, worked in the Rathskellar and performed in the musical, “Zombie Prom.” Her fondest memory “would have to be meeting my (future) husband during my freshman year at UW-WC.” She also remembers a Psychology professor “insisting I pick up my final essay the following semester in person, so he could tell me it was one of the best final papers he’s ever read!” These days, she hasn’t slowed down, in addition to teaching, she volunteers with the Badger Middle School All-School Dance Team and Competition Dance Team, and assists with Badger’s After-School Gymnastics Club and does choreography for the West Bend Dance/Tumbling Troupe.
Married to Kenny Meyer, they have a one-year old daughter, Ella. Kenny is also a UW-WC alumnus, who transferred to UW-Milwaukee, where he completed an engineering degree. He is employed at Caterpillar Global Mining as an engineer.
Troy was the fourth sibling to attend UW-WC. Currently a Staff Sergeant in the US Army, he has recently returned home from his third deployment overseas and is now stationed in Colorado. After attending UW-WC for two years, he transferred to Cochise College, where he completed an Associate of Applied Science degree in Intelligence Operations, with high honors. He and his wife, Stephanie, have a three-year-old daughter, Talia. Like his brother, Chad, Troy enjoyed playing soccer while attending UW-WC. His soccer team did very well and his fondest memories include winning the WCC All-Conference First Team awards in 2005 and 2006 and WCC Team Championship in 2005.
Youngest of the Nienow crew, Jena transferred to UW-Oshkosh, after completing her Associate degree at UW-WC, majoring in Physical Education with minors in Adapted PE and Health. She is employed by Theisen Middle School in Fond du Lac as a Physical Education teacher. She also is the Gymnastics Supervisor and Playground Supervisor for the West Bend Parks and Recreation Department.
During her two years at UW-WC, Jena enjoyed playing volleyball and performing on the Dance Team for UW-WC. She notes that “Mrs. Butschlick was a great coach; we had a winning team!” The volleyball team won the WCC Eastern Division Conference and Jena received an All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2007, while the Dance Team won the 2008 Badger Championship in Madison. Jena said that, “UW-WC was a great start to my college career because it provided me with a quality education while being able to save money living at home. In addition, I was able to continue to be an active participant in the West Bend Dance/Tumbling Troupe.” Like her sister Kori, she is still active with the West Bend Dance/Tumbling Troupe, serving as a choreographer and instructor. She also assists with the Badger/Silverbrook Middle School Competition Dance Team with choreography and instruction.
As Kathy sums up, “Because Cal and I both felt we greatly benefited by attending UW-WC after high school, we strongly encouraged all five of our children to follow in our footsteps. We were thrilled that they all chose to stay in West Bend to continue their education after graduating from high school. As you can see, we are confirmation that attending UW-WC is a family tradition!”
Learn about other families featured:
Scott Gross & Candace Brace Families