Job Title: Associate professor, Teacher Education / Special Education; Coordinator, Special Education Program; Director, Special Education Graduate Program; Director, Special Education Online Endorsement Program.
Years at UNK: 16
Hobbies/Interests: Genealogy, needle crafts, refinishing old furniture
Family: Daughter, Katina Tweedy, 43; Son, Robert Grymes, 39; Son, Daniel Grymes, who passed away in 2010; Grandson, Thomas Swartz, 23, who she has raised since age three.
Three words that describe your personality? Optimistic, easygoing, caring and dedicated, humorous, honest. Sorry I can’t count.
Share something about yourself that few people know? I find reasons to celebrate holidays, life and seasons. I show my celebration of seasons and holidays through my socks. For instance, Goofy is my favorite cartoon character because we all need to be comfortable with ourselves so that we can be goofy. Yes, I have several pairs of Goofy socks.
What do you like most about your job? Working with students. Also, when I came here the special education program was very limited. The graduate program was essentially nonexistent. Under my leadership, both undergraduate and graduate have grown and are successful and well known nationally. It is the legacy I leave behind.
What is the biggest change you’ve seen at UNK since you started? The move to online education. When I started at UNK everything was face-to-face. I remember in my interview someone even saying distance classes were not going over well. In special education, we moved from face-to-face to distance to online classes, and have continually grown in numbers.
What is the best career advice you received? My dad always told me to work hard and you will be rewarded.
What is your favorite thing about UNK? Working with, and exciting, my students to pursue their dreams of working with individuals with disabilities.
Where is your favorite place to visit on campus? Frank House. Even though I do not get to visit as much as I would like to.
Biggest challenge you faced in your time at UNK? Getting the online initial certification program started and recognized. This was an unmet need for many years.
What qualities make someone successful in your position? Passion and flexibility.
How do you measure success? I measure my success in terms of how many successful teachers have passed through my classes. I am excited when past students become excellent teachers.
Tell me about the time in your life at UNK when you worked the hardest? The past 15 years. There has been a lot of turnover in special education faculty up until the last five years. I have had to carry the load for the program until this year.
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently? Learn how to say no!
What is your fondest memory of UNK? One of my very first online initial certification students is very successful and still writes me and keeps in touch after many years.