Dr. John Niska began his two-year term as Finnish Council Chairperson in July of 2018. Raised in a bilingual home on a beef farm in Green, MI, a Finnish-American community near Ontonagon, John received both his Bachelor of Science Degree in Divisional Social Science and Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Michigan State University. His Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Educational Leadership was earned from Iowa State University.
His entire professional career – classroom teacher, guidance counselor, assistant high school principal, middle school principal, and state executive director – concluded this past year with a 15-year stint serving as a professor and director of the middle level teacher training college program at Rhode Island College. John has served as president of the National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education and currently continues as a member of a national cadre of trainers with his focus on student advisories and comparative education.
John’s involvement with Finland has been since childhood. He has visited relatives in Finland over the years, led and placed in homestays national groups of twelve high school students there for the Experiment in International Living (Brattleboro, VT), and has spent time observing in schools and universities in various parts of Finland. In 2018 he began his tenure as a member of the Board of Trustees at Finlandia University serving as a member of the Academic Committee.
Dividing his time now between his home in Providence, RI, and his cottage near Ontonagon, he continues to travel worldwide, study the Finnish language, cycle, cross-country ski, and enjoy good film, photography, and political discussions.
You can read more about his hopes for the Finnish Council here.