Student Spotlight: Casimir Grabowski

Casimir comes from Detroit, Michigan. However, before coming to Nashville he made a brief stop in Los Angeles where he found out what it’s really like to be a broke, literally starving artist. A great opportunity at a local TV station has introduced Casimir to some wonderful people and has given him a crash-course on everything Middle Tennessee. A job in news has introduced new ingredients to his writing recipes. Casimir became a student at NCE to meet other local writers who he can turn bounce ideas off and turn to for feedback, and so far so great, everyone in his creative writing class has been absolutely fantastic. NCE has introduced Casimir to some very talented Nashville writers, who he hopes will continue to join him in NCE classes this summer.

Instructor Spotlight: Russell Kirchner

Russell Spotlight PictRussell Kirchner has been a longtime instructor with NCE, and we are proud to recognize him in the Instructor Spotlight Russell teaches Pickles 101 and Advanced Canning. He is also teaching the Starting Seeds class starting on Thursday night. Russell is an eight year transplant from Texas with two green thumbs, and we are happy to have him as one of our instructors.

Get to know Russell:

I have been working with NCE for four years.  I currently work at Holtkamp Greenhouses so I get a lot my green thumb experience from here.  My wife and I help support the East Nashville Farmers market (on Wednesdays at Shelby Park ) with “Slocal,” our booth where we sell culinary herbs, peppers and tomatoes plants and teas and our chicken’s eggs.

Awards and Honors:

Russell currently holds a volunteer position of beautification commissioner for District 5,and is the 2015 Chair for the Tennessee State Fair Canning Division.In addition, he is the Davidson County Master Gardener for six years running.

Be sure to register for the Starting Seeds class on Thursday March 19th at

Steer into the Skid

By: Lovette Curry

When learning how to drive, one of the most important lessons is what to do when you begin to lose control of the vehicle.  When you hit a patch of ice or a slick spot in the road, you need to “turn into the skid.  This seems like terrible advice when you first hear it.  Your natural inclination is to turn away from the danger, to move your vehicle the opposite way of the chaos.  However, to get the car back under control you must turn into the skid.  You have to train your mind and prepare in advance so you can remain in control of your vehicle.  This lesson holds true for business as well.

Oftentimes, the best way to deal with a crisis or unexpected event at work is to face it directly.  Recently, due to the unexpectedly treacherous ice storm of 2015 the NCE office was at a standstill.  No one could get into the building and our students/ instructors certainly could not come to class.  Our offices were closed for seven business days!  This closure, along with the weather, is not the norm for Nashville in late February.  This unanticipated weather event had a dramatic impact on our yearly schedule, and thus, impacted all of our teachers and students.  As an office, we had to “turn into the skid”.

Immediately, our team had to implement our communications plan for weather closures.  We contacted all of our teachers and students to inform them of the closures on email, television, social media, telephone, and our website.  After the initial class cancellation communication, we immediately began to work with our instructors to build a make-up schedule for the classes.  Our team implemented our plan with precision each day, until we were back to our normal schedule.

Due to our planning, we could turn into the skid instead of blindly reacting to this unanticipated situation.   Our preparation allowed us to quickly communicate schedule changes with all of our key stakeholders.

Three lessons to remember for dealing with the unexpected

  • Have a plan.  Life happens, emergencies happen.  Build a plan and try to prepare for a variety of situations.
  • When the unexpected happens, don’t reinvent the wheel. Go to your plan and implement with flexibility based on the situation
  • Turn into the skid. Face this challenge head on knowing that you are prepared and capable.

Thank you NCE students, instructors, and staff for turning into the skid with us as we faced icepocalypse 2015.


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