The Rotary Club of Edina recently presented Betsey Nimmo with its 2022 Chrysanne Manoles Women In Leadership Award.
Reflecting society in 1905, the Rotary organization was limited to male members and remained so officially until 1989, when the Council on Legislation, Rotary’s parliament, voted to eliminate the male-only provision, opening up membership to qualified women across the world. However, the forward-thinking Rotary Club of Edina welcomed its first female member, Chrysanne Manoles, a year earlier in 1988. Manoles continues to be active in Rotary.
In Manoles’ honor and to celebrate the work of women in the community, the Rotary Club of Edina established an annual women’s leadership award in 2008. Previous winners include Dr. Laurel Wills, Ann Byrne, Donna Tilsner, Katey Taylor, Kim Foote, Kris Marshall, Lauren Morse-Wendt, Lexi Reed Holtum, Laura Hope Melton, Kathy Rendleman and Melody Zhou.
Nimmo recently completed her 15th year teaching at Edina High School. She came into teaching later in life after a couple of career changes. She initially graduated from school to become a lawyer. However, she found her true calling in education. According to her nominator, fellow teacher Brad Dahlman, she knows how to reach each and every student in her classroom. She once told Dahlman a story about how a quiet student came up to her and told her that her class brought him joy every day. It was the primary reason he found the drive to come to school. “This was not an isolated incident,” Dahlman said. “Betsy made each and every student and colleague feel important. She has kept many relationships with students after they have graduated.”
The most common question Dahlman heard Nimmo ask when working through any tricky situation was, “Is this fair to all students?” Dahlman said she wanted to make sure that every decision made had the student’s best interests at heart. She would always go the extra mile to make sure that every student had the ability to have success.
“Betsy was an icon at Edina High School. She carried a lot of leadership titles both in official and unofficial capacities,” Dahlman said. “She was an area leader for the Social Studies Department, Member of the Core Planning that was essential in the welcoming of the 9th grade to the high school and was Edina Teacher of Year in 2017. However, when her colleagues remember Betsy’s time at high school, they will remember how she was known as the ‘Mama Bear’ for students and colleagues. This was a nickname that many Model UN students gave her. She was the person who everyone went to because she cared for all of us. She knew how to motivate people when they were down, provide a listening ear to give advice and help push everyone to be become better. She knew when it was time for her to speak up and lead but also knew when it was time to empower others to speak up. She encapsulates what a strong leader should be like.”
For winning the 2022 Chrysanne Manoles Women in Leadership Award, Nimmo received flowers, a plaque and a Paul Harris Fellowship from the Rotary Club of Edina.
For more information about the Chrysanne Manoles Women In Leadership Award, contact club Past President Jennifer Bennerotte, 612-201-3467 or