When it comes to education, not many can say they have experience performing the roles of both student and teacher at the same university—yet this is exactly the case for Danielle Niermann.
In 2007, Niermann graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. This experience instilled in Niermann a passion for lifelong learning, a drive that was further developed by a community of support.
“I had the best experience at UW-Platteville,” said Niermann. “I made lots of great friends through my involvement on campus and continue to maintain those friendships today. I loved it so much that I returned to earn my Program Development Credential, which I completed in 2019. I suppose you could say that continuing education is my hobby. I love to learn, and support those around me to do the same.”
Before returning to UW-Platteville, however, Niermann’s journey from student to instructor took a few more turns. After earning her master’s degree and several childcare credentials, Niermann gained valuable experience working for different childcare centers until she grew into the role of director. It’s a position she continues to excel at—even amidst a global pandemic.
“My motto is to keep calm and carry on,” said Niermann. “We do the best we can each day, knowing that how we approach this experience will greatly influence the children’s experience within the pandemic. Not much has changed other than wearing a mask and social distancing.”
Niermann’s passion doesn’t end with improving the lives of young children, however, but extends to the educators who care for them every day. To Niermann, the two are connected, as improving the development of one group positively affects the other. Saying this, it’s no surprise that Niermann returned to UW-Platteville in 2019, where she currently helps childcare professionals as an instructor for both the Administrator Credential program and the Supporting Dual Language Learners program.
“I firmly believe that educators cannot pour from an empty cup,” said Niermann. “We must advocate for quality programming for children via quality development opportunities for all childcare educators. We know so much more about child and brain development that supports how critical this window is for our children and they deserve the best.”
Teaching isn’t without its challenges, but Niermann finds joy in both the little things and the greater goal of helping her students grow—especially when her students share the same passion.
“Teaching the adults working in early care and education is something I treasure and hold close to my heart,” said Niermann. “I am so excited to have this opportunity to help others grow and to further my own education along the way. We’re cultivating a community of learning and creating a space for directors and leaders in the field to walk into their programs feeling renewed about the important work they do each day.”
Outside of helping others grow both inside and outside of the classroom, Niermann enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters in New Berlin, Wisconsin.