Nikki Kipfmiller


Commissioning Editor, Primary ELT

Overseeing the creation of a brand-new course from concept through to publication, Nikki's job includes everything from meeting teachers and understanding their needs to reviewing drafts and making sure the project is on budget. Find out more about Nikki's role and why she thinks it's a 'perfect fit' for her.

Nikki believes education is… empowering

About me:

I’ve been at Macmillan for 6 months now. Before I came here I worked for another publisher for 6 years. And before that, like most Macmillan editors, I was an EFL teacher – I’ve taught in Argentina, Spain and Japan. My favourite teaching experience was Japanese pre-teens – they were so enthusiastic! My most difficult teaching experience was a group of Engineering students – they really didn’t want to be studying English so every week was a battle!  

I still teach a little at weekends. It’s good to keep your hand in, to remember who the learner is and why we do what we do. Living in London, I can meet learners from all corners of the globe, and I find it fascinating to learn about their experiences of learning English, their motivations, and their first language influences. EFL may be my career but it’s also my hobby – I love it!

What I do at Macmillan:  

My job is to oversee the creation of a brand-new primary English course, from concept right through to published product. We start by identifying who we want the course to sell to, then we speak to our local sales teams to begin putting together detailed profiles of what it is these markets need from a primary course. I’ve also been out to some of the markets to meet teachers, watch them teaching, and discuss how we can meet their needs. The fascinating (and very difficult!) thing for me about this stage is trying to ‘future-proof’ the course. It takes around 3 years to get a course from concept through to classroom, and once it’s in the classroom we hope it will be used for many years. But how do we know now what learners will need in 8 or 10 years’ time? That’s the challenge!  

Once we nail down our proposal, we get everything approved by the Board of Directors. Then the real work starts! We sign up authors who will bring the course to life, working with them on the very many drafts and proof stages until we come up with a beautiful finished product.

Day-to-day my job is very varied, which is one of the things I love about it. At the moment I spend a lot of time in touch with our teams overseas, asking hundreds of questions about what the teachers in different markets actually need. I also have to be very familiar with all of the other primary courses in the market, and  up-to-date with new technologies, methodologies, trends, and government policies.

Later on in my project it will be all about the content and the detail – reviewing drafts and proofs, making sure the Marketing department knows what our product is and when it’s coming, and ensuring that we’re on schedule and on budget. We’re always busy!

The best thing about my job:  

I love project-based tasks, so this role is a perfect fit for me. I get to see my product through from inception to implementation in the classroom. The thought of having teachers and students enjoying using our new, exciting course is what motivates me. I can’t wait for that day!