Jeff Isaacson: Yellowjacket and Olympian - Aug 12, 2014 - University News - UW-Superior News and Events

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Jeff Isaacson: Yellowjacket and Olympian

Posted on Aug 12, 2014
2012 UW-Superior Educational Leadership graduate makes impact in the classroom and the Olympics.
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Jeff Isaacson competing in Russia.  Photo courtesy of USA Curling.

Jeff Isaacson competing in Russia. Photo courtesy of USA Curling.

A stone, a house, and a Yellowjacket. What do they all have in common? Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia of course.

For the second time in his career, Jeff Isaacson, Class of 2012 represented the United States of America as an Olympic curler. The UW-Superior alumnus also competed at the Vancouver Winter Olympic games.
Isaacson earned his master's degree in educational administration at UW-Superior and said it was all business while in Russia--he didn't get to do much sightseeing. "What I really liked about Sochi was the fact that everything was within walking distance. All the housing, venues, USA House, dining hall, etc. were at most a half hour away. We had everything we needed and never had to leave the secured Olympic Park."

The chance to represent one's country is an honor. "I think it was even more special to get to go to second Olympics. For me, it really shows the hard work and sacrifices I have put into the game. It takes an incredible amount of time and energy to get to that point," said Isaacson.

For the Iron Range native, the faculty at UW-Superior made the difference for him as he pursued his master's degree in educational administration. "I had most of my classes with Terri Kronzer. I enjoyed her classes and hearing her stories- especially with her law background and school experiences. She helped guide me through the program and keep me on track."

Kronzer wasn't the only one to make an impact on this world-class athlete. "I was happy to have my last class with Mary Lee-Nichols," said the two-time Olympian. "Mary is such a positive, supportive, and down-to-earth person. I've never experienced anyone who was willing to take so much time for each of her students. She cares deeply about what she does and is a fantastic role model for anyone going into the field of education."

Lee-Nichols watched the Olympics with even more focus with a former student competing. "He really is a remarkable person, and we can be really proud of him. He was sending great emails to Educational Leadership faculty while in Sochi - it has been fun to follow his experiences!"

Isaacson is currently teaching middle school science to grades 6-8 in Gilbert, Minn. "I also provide home-bound instruction for students who can't be at the school. I am looking forward to taking a break from curling. I enjoy it and the game has given me so much but we compete for little to no money and I can't keep on doing that forever. I am going to put more focus into my career and play the game on the more recreational level. At least that's the plan for now."

Isaacson used the Olympics to teach the world the true meaning of team. Jeff initially received a lot of national media attention for being a teacher, but on the final weekend of competition he received even more attention for what NBC Sports called, "an Olympic rarity" when he asked to sit out one of the final matches so that the team alternate could experience playing in an Olympic competition.

That Olympic lesson even impressed his former professor, Mary Lee-Nichols. "This really reflects how I know Jeff as a student and teacher, quiet and humble, thoughtful and caring. Here, teaching the world how we do things, honoring the hard work of an entire team."

While the Olympic curling stones didn't get to the house as often as they would have liked in Sochi for Isaacson and his teammates, this Yellowjacket had no regrets in his decision to wear the USA colors one final time.


News Contact: Tom Hansen | 715-394-8260 | thansen7{atuws}
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