- 1994, Ed.D., Northern Illinois University
- 1983, C.A.S., Northern Illinois University
- 1973, M.S.E., Northern Illinois University
- 1971, B.S.E., Northern Illinois University
Having begun his teaching career in Schaumburg District 54 as a science and math teacher in 1973, Dr. Nickisch became an assistant principal in the district in 1984. The broad array of experiences as an AP along with his advanced degree in Elementary Education, specializing in Reading, prepared him well for the next stage of his career.
In 1986 Dr. Nickisch was hired as Franzen Elementary School principal in Itasca District 10. During the next eight years as principal, he helped design and implement a new K-5 curriculum, integrated into the school’s educational system self-contained special education programs, and helped plan for implementation, a new educational delivery system that incorporated a grade level center concept.
In 1994 Dr. Nickisch was appointed as principal of Peacock Middle School in Itasca. Concurrent with that appointment he earned his doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Northern Illinois University. During the next five years the school, under his leadership, transitioned from a Jr. High model to the more inclusive and student centered middle school concept. In addition, a number of key programs were initiated that included a fully weighted foreign language program for 7th and 8th graders, advanced math at all levels, extra curricular programs that engaged a larger number of students with school sponsored activities and a community partnership with key stakeholders that brought mentoring and tutoring services into the school. This community outreach also included recognition of former students who have reached a significant level of achievement in their chosen field as legacy ambassadors. In 2000 Peacock Middle School was designated as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education and also received the State of Illinois School of Excellence award in 2009 and again in 2012. Dr. Nickisch was named DuPage County Middle School Principal of the Year in 2012.
During his years as a retired public school educator since 2012, Dr. Nickisch has served as an interim principal in Skokie District 73.5, Medinah District 11 and Bensenville District 2. In addition to teaching at Olivet he has done consulting work for the DuPage Regional Office of Education helping school districts implement the Danielson model for teacher evaluations, and has mentored 1st and 2nd year principals. Dr. Nickisch also supervised student teachers for the University of Illinois.
Dr. Nickisch is an avid competitive runner. He has two grown children, Ryan and Derek, with Ryan a middle school math teacher in Elk Grove School District 59, and Derek an assistant producer for an online stock trading company in Chicago. Ryan and his wife, Kelly have two children of their own, Emma and Aidan. Dr. Nickisch and his wife, Cindy also have a daughter, Lily who will enter Loyola University in the fall of 2016 focusing on pre-med studies.