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Alumnus Leaps from Tartan Editor-in-Chief to Passionate Teacher
By Emily Lewis
It was one of those long nights in the office. Steven Kaminski was just waking up from a nap on one of the old, beaten down sofas in The Tartan office. While rubbing his eyes, he was thinking about the talk he had earlier that day with his staff. Was it his own irritation or was his staff not committed to the paper they were producing?
“My best years were as editor-in-chief of The Tartan … we had such a great time changing it and making it something we would become quite proud of,” Kaminski said.
Kaminski, 46, was editor-in-chief for The Tartan at Radford University when he was a student in 1992-1995. He started off as an elementary education major but then changed to print journalism. After completing his undergraduate at Radford University and University of Richmond, Kaminski completed his graduate degree in higher education administration at Oregon State.
While completing his graduate degree he worked in the career services office and the office of the vice provost for student affairs. His first job was as associate director of student activities at Widener University in Pennsylvania. After Widener, he moved to the University of Richmond. While earning his teaching certification he worked for a non-profit called Virginia COOL, which later changed to Virginia Campus Compact.
After earning his certification, Kaminski taught fifth graders for two years in Hanover County. He later moved to where he is settled now, Chesterfield County. Kaminski has been teaching in Chesterfield for 12 years now.
Kaminski said that he swore to himself that he would not become a teacher. “I didn’t want to be that guy at the front of the room yelling at kids to be quiet.” Revisiting his earlier position, he continues, “If I had hung in there, I would have realized it doesn’t need to be that way at all. Teaching is a noble profession which drew me in to seek out the certification.”
In September 2016 he was featured in the Richmond Times Dispatch for his blog, “An Open Letter To My Future Students.” Kaminski’s article stood out to his viewers and the public because of his different point of view of being a teacher. He wrote about how he is not just there to teach students but leading these children to the right path of being good people and to help them find their true talents and gifts.
“I’m proud to have taught over a decade now, I’m at year fourteen. I’m proud to have survived the many stresses of teaching to witness students returning to see me, even after they have graduated high school,” Kaminski stated.
Away from his professional accomplishments, Kaminski states that, “My success story personally is my marriage and my being a father to two great children.” One of his children is a freshman in high school and the other is attending his first year in middle school.
Kaminski’s advice to college students and graduates is, “It really isn’t about the degree, but instead it’s about character and perseverance. You’ve got to have grit if you’re going to make a mark – however you decide to do that.”