by Dennis Dalman
A former St. Joseph resident, Nikki Knisley, has been hired as the new editor for the Newsleaders of Sartell-St. Stephen and St. Joseph.
Knisley (pronounced NIZE-lee), who now lives in St. Cloud, said she views her editing job as a kind of balancing act.
“I’ll spend a lot of time between what we’d like to do and what needs to get done,” she said. “I have a balancing personality and want to make sure every employee is happy doing what they’re doing. I want to lower any barriers that prevent them from doing that.”
Knisley lived in St. Joseph from 1999 to 2008 and earned a degree in liberal studies from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. For her degree, she concentrated on English, art and peace studies.
Born in Buffalo, N.Y., at the age of 17 Knisley joined the U.S. Navy for three years and was stationed at Norfolk, Va. and on Adak Island in the Aleutian chain in Alaska where she worked in the field of anti-submarine warfare.
She moved to Minnesota with her husband when his father, a farmer near Belgrade, was killed in a car accident in Paynesville. His mother was so badly injured she had to be placed in intensive care for three months. Knisley was still in the Navy during that crisis. She left the Navy and moved to Minnesota in 1990. Her son was born in 1994.
After graduating from CSB/SJU in 2002, Knisley joined AmeriCorps and worked for a year with the St. Cloud Head Start program, helping preschoolers improve their foundational reading skills prior to entering Kindergarten.
Knisley then returned to school, earning a master’s degree from St. Cloud State University in social responsibility, with an emphasis on sociology. For two years, she served as an adjunct faculty member at SCSU, teaching a required course called “Democratic Citizenship.”
Later, for 10 years she did medical case-management work with people living with HIV/AIDS, and joined a trauma-informed therapy agency as a Social Security advocate, assisting primarily refugees and military veterans in applying for benefits.
She then went to school once again – to study law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul. After earning a law degree, she became a mediator specializing in civil matters.
More recently she and a colleague, Sharon Press, wrote an article discussing mental health issues within active mediation processes. The article was published by the American Bar Association. In May, Press and Knisley did an ethics training based on their article for The Minnesota State Bar Association.
Knisley especially enjoys spending time with her wife, Sandra, and her son, Vincent, of whom she is so proud. Now 27, he works as a web developer for a company called “Camp Digital” in St. Louis Park.