South Milwaukee educator Donna Cuyler is a 2018 NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow

From the NEA Foundation

The NEA Foundation named Donna Cuyler, an art educator at South Milwaukee High School and a WEAC Region 7 member, as one of the 48 public school educators to become a member of this year’s class of Global Learning Fellows. Cuyler will spend a year building global competency skills (the capacity to understand and act on issues of global significance).

As a result of the Fellowship, Cuyler will be better equipped to prepare students for global citizenship. Fellows also create valuable global lesson plans for their students that are freely shared with educators across the nation and the world through open-source platforms.

“The more that students experience varieties of art and design, and the more that they hear each other’s perspectives, the more every student becomes a more critical and empathetic viewer,” says Cuyler. She will use the Fellowship to bring new perspectives to her students.

This class of Fellows was selected from more than 400 applicants from across the country. These new Fellows teach all grade levels – and all subjects: from visual and performing arts to agri-science, vocational studies to history. They come from rural, suburban, and urban schools. They are National Board Certified, curriculum coaches, IB coordinators, foreign language speakers, and more. Some have participated in similar programs, and some have never traveled abroad. The diverse cohort will allow educators to learn from each other and bring global perspectives to a wide range of students.

“We believe that educators are the key to giving students the skills to thrive in an interconnected world,” said Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “We created the Global Learning Fellowship to provide professional development in teaching global competencies and to support educators as they integrate these skills into classroom instruction.”

Over the course of a year, the NEA Foundation staff, partners, and field experts will support Cuyler as she immerses herself in online coursework, webinars, and collegial study, including a two-day professional development workshop this fall and a nine-day international field study next summer, bringing the full cohort together with experts in global learning.

Past Global Learning Fellows have completed online learning focused on integrating global content into their core instruction. They created more than 70 global-focused, K-12 inquiry-based lessons which can replicated. Download these free, global lesson plans, and find additional lessons on Get to know all of the 2018 NEA Foundation Learning Fellows by visiting

The NEA Foundation will accept applications for the 2019 Global Learning Fellowship this fall.

WEAC President Ron Martin awarded eagle feather

WEAC President Ron Martin (left) is presented an eagle feather by Menominee Nation elder Dennis Kenote.

WEAC President Ron Martin, of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is recipient of an eagle feather for his work for Wisconsin’s public school students, educators and schools. The feather was presented to the Eau Claire eighth grade teacher by a Menominee Nation elder in a surprise ceremony at the WEAC Representative Assembly.

“Presenting an eagle feather is the highest honor among Native people,” said Dennis Kenote, a Navy veteran who was asked by Martin to say an opening prayer in the Menominee language. “You have to earn an eagle feather and ‘Duff’ did. In fact, there is no higher honor among our people.

“The feather symbolizes trust, honor, strength, wisdom, power, freedom and many more things,” Kenote said. “To be given one of these is to be hand-picked out of the rest of the men in the tribe – it’s like getting a gift from a high official, such as a president of the United States.”

WEAC’s Human Civil Rights Committee members came up with the idea after discussions about how proud Martin is of his Native American heritage and his dedication to protecting and fighting for all of Wisconsin’s public school children, staff and communities.

“Committee members were thrilled that the eagle feather presentation was able to be arranged thanks to help from our committee liaison Anne Egan-Waukau,” committee Chair Michelle Frola said. “We’ve enjoyed learning more about Ron’s Native heritage.

“We really caught Ron off guard,” Frola said. “He was very moved by this honor and we know he will uphold the responsibilities that this honor imparts.”

And Martin said he takes the responsibilities seriously.

“I am humbled and honored to be presented an eagle feather for doing what I love and in front of my esteemed colleagues and WEAC leaders,” Martin said. “My grandmother, relatives and tribal members have instilled in me the Chippewa traditions, strength and ways to fight to protect all that we cherish: Environment, children, education and elders. I carry that with me wherever I travel, be it in Wisconsin or Washington D.C.”

Kenote said he was honored to not only present the feather to Martin, but to speak to the members and leaders at WEAC’s annual meeting.

“It was quite an honor to speak to this great group of Wisconsin’s public school staff,” Kenote said. “They are important people in our society. I applaud the work they do and commend them.

“They grow and lead our students on the road to be our leaders in the future and not just Native American kids. They educate all students no matter what their race is,” Kenote said

NOTE: If a Native American Indian is given Golden or Bald Eagle feathers it is one of the most rewarding items they can ever be handed. The Indians believe that eagles have a special connection with the heavens since they fly so close. Many Indians believe that if they are given this feather, it is a symbol from above. Once an Indian receives a feather he must take care of it, and many will hang it up in their homes. It is disrespectful to hide it away in a drawer, closet or encase in glass. An eagle feather is a lot like the American flag, it must be handled with care and can never be dropped on the ground. The only people who can present or pick up an eagle feather from the ground is a veteran of the Military, who are revered as warriors by all native peoples.

Wisconsin CPAs honor Region 1 member Connie Becker as 2017 Educator of the Year

Connie Becker, Business Education Teacher at Boyceville Community Schools and a WEAC Region 1 member, has been awarded the 2017 Educator of the Year by the Wisconsin Certified Public Accountants (WICPA).

The award recognizes an accounting educator for excellence in teaching and innovation in curriculum development, who exemplifies the philosophy of the CPA vision and is actively involved in the accounting profession.

Connie’s curriculum is individualized using an online accounting software program. Students work at their own pace to complete the curriculum.

Connie credits her success to the support of the administration of the Boyceville Community Schools for allowing her to individualize her curriculum and provide opportunities for her students. She has received numerous educational grants through WICPA to provide experiences to her students to observe accountants while touring the Kohl Center, Miller Park, and Lambeau Field, Culvers, the Kalahari Resort, and a variety of public and private accounting firms.

3 WEAC members named Most Influential Teachers by Presidential Scholars

Wisconsin’s three new Presidential Scholars each named a WEAC member as their Most Influential Teacher.

The Department of Public Instruction on Monday announced that this year’s Wisconsin Presidential Scholars are Colin Gray-Hoehn, Brookfield East High School; Dylon Pokorny, Waupun Junior and Senior High School; and Maria Thurow of Monticello, New Glarus High School. Pokorny is a U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education, one of just 20 named nationwide.

Each scholar named a most influential teacher as part of their application materials, and each is a WEAC member. Gray-Hoehn named Emira Hot, his high school English teacher; Pokorny chose his high school agriculture teacher, Tari Costello; and Thurow said her high school mathematics teacher Lauren Walker was her most influential teacher.

Created in 1964, the Presidential Scholars Program has honored nearly 7,500 of the nation’s top- performing students. The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations, and transcripts as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. Of the 3.5 million students expected to graduate from high school this year, more than 5,100 candidates qualified for the 2017 awards determined by outstanding performance on the ACT and SAT college admissions exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, other partner recognition organizations, or the National YoungArts Foundation’s nationwide YoungArts competition.

More information about the Presidential Scholars Program is available on the U.S. Department of Education website at

Sheboygan’s Matt Miller named state’s Special Services Teacher of the Year

From the Department of Public Instruction

In a surprise ceremony at his school, Matthew W. Miller Sr., an English learner teacher at North High School in Sheboygan, was named Wisconsin’s 2018 Special Services Teacher of the Year.

State Superintendent Tony Evers made the announcement during an all-school assembly. As part of the Teacher of the Year honor, Miller – who is a WEAC Region 3 member – will receive $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

Matthew Miller

While some would term his teaching style as “relationship building,” Miller says he is trying to be a “future builder.” He considers every learner a potential leader and tailors instruction to meet students’ individual language, leadership, and life needs.

While living in Harlem in pursuit of his teaching degree, Miller offered tutoring or encouragement for the children of neighbors and workers. Later as a middle school English teacher, he learned that the more he served his students’ families, the more he earned his students’ respect and trust. When he moved to Sheboygan, Miller offered English classes to Spanish-speaking adults, many of them parents of students.

With a passion for leadership and community service, Miller has facilitated nearly 170 leadership, service learning, and community-building projects for students in the district. He created the Hmong Leadership Collective, a statewide student-led group and an outgrowth of the district’s Hmong Leadership Council, which provides more than 1,000 hours of community service. The collective seeks to strengthen Hmong culture, identity, and communities to positively transform society and build leadership skills. A teacher colleague noted that Miller helps Hmong students learn about and celebrate their own culture, while adapting to life in America.

A former student wrote that “Mr. Miller not only showed me and many other students what a leader should be like, but also how to become a leader ourselves.” The student praised opportunities to volunteer with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, attend leadership retreats and conferences, and participate in community arts collaboration as well as cultural and educational presentations.

In a letter supporting Miller’s nomination for a Kohl Fellowship, North High School Associate Principal Eric Spielman said that Miller’s “greatest success is the deep, meaningful relationships he establishes with students, staff, families, and the greater Sheboygan community.” He added that Miller’s role with students extends beyond teacher, to mentor, friend, liaison, and advocate.

Miller’s grant writing for a precollege program through the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan provided a “Language and Leadership” summer program that boosted college readiness and civic engagement among area English learners from lower-income families. A project with Bookworm Gardens, a children’s book-themed community center and park, brought together elders in conversations with teens who then created visual, literary, and musical artifacts based on the elders’ stories.

“Matthew inspires his students to do better, and he inspires teachers that way as well,” a colleague wrote. He leaves one “feeling that they can do more, do more for students, more for the school, and more for the community, and that doing more, for the sake of young people, matters.”

Miller began his career as an English teacher in New York City. He also taught at Hunter College in New York and for Northcentral Technical College and Upper Iowa University’s Wausau campus. For four years, he was an English teacher in Mexico City. He currently teaches English learners at North High School in Sheboygan. Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Lawrence University in Appleton and a Master of Arts in Secondary Education-English from City University of New York-Hunter College.

“Teaching is a career for optimists. People who see the potential in each student and meet challenges with innovative solutions that improve the lives and education of our kids,” Evers said. “A Teacher of the Year recipient inspires the young people in their school and their colleagues in the school and community. It is an honor to recognize educators who do so much for Wisconsin’s public schools.”

“The Teacher of the Year program highlights the many contributions educators make to our children, schools, and communities,” said Herb Kohl, philanthropist and businessman, who co-sponsors the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year program through his educational foundation. “Our teachers make extraordinary efforts to help all children achieve.”

Earlier this week, Evers named Genoa City’s Mary Ellen Kanthack (a WEAC Region 7 member) the state’s 2018 Elementary School Teacher of the Year, and last week he named Wausau’s Brent Zinkel the 2018 Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year. Zinkel is a member of WEAC Region 2.

On Monday, Evers named Jill Runde of McFarland the state’s Middle School Teacher of the Year.

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Four outstanding individuals honored with WEAC Awards

WEAC President Ron Martin presented four major WEAC Awards at the 2017 WEAC Representative Assembly. Below are his remarks:


Maggie Beeber

“I’m pleased today to present WEAC’s Friend of Education Award to a professional who shapes the future of our profession with her wisdom, example and dedication. Join me in congratulating Maggie Beeber, coordinator of undergraduate advising for UW-Stevens Point School of Education.

“With a comprehensive, high-touch, compassionate approach to student success, Maggie and her team is all about effective recruitment, support, retention and licensure of new teachers. She leads a program that includes graduation plans for EVERY student, peer advising and close partnerships to smooth the path of becoming a teacher. She’s also a co-advisor of WEAC’s Aspiring Educators.

“Maggie has made an impact on the lives of thousands of teachers. She has high expectations, empathy and knows how to have hard conversations with Aspiring Educators to make sure they’re prepared for the real world of teaching today.

“Olivia Guralski, of UW-SP’s Aspiring Educators, says Maggie’s there to help our student members learn, plan and prepare for their future careers. She attends events with our members and places Aspiring Educators ahead of herself. For all you do, Maggie, WEAC honors you with the 2016 Friend of Education Award.


Sharon Bowen

“I’m pleased to be here to honor a shining example of a teacher who has promoted equity for decades. Sharon Bowen, you are the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s 2017 Richard J. Lewandowski Award recipient for your humanitarian service to the Fox Valley.

“Sharon is a retired counselor from the Appleton Area School District and a lifetime WEAC member. She is a founding member of Fox Cities Multicultural Center/Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities. Sharon has worked tirelessly to build Community Conversations – fostering growth and healing injustice in her community. She also volunteers in the New Voices choir, Fox Valley Memory Project and countless efforts, like voter registration.

“She is well-known for her outreach – and was awarded by Outagamie County for AODA prevention efforts and received the Wisconsin New Promise Award. She successfully advocated for change in emergency room procedures at a local hospital to more sensitively relate to the Hmong and other diverse patients.”


John Linneman

“Every employee plays a part in inspiring students. I’m proud to announce the 2017 WEAC Education Support Professional of the Year Award, John Linneman.

“John stands firm in his support and promotion of unions and public education. He is president of the East Troy Education Association, a wall-to-wall local he was instrumental in forming to ensure the local’s survival.

“Those who know John say union is a way of life for him. He stands next to his members in support, and makes sure the union gives back to the community by running a food drive at Thanksgiving and a toy drive at Christmas.

“Michael Mass, tech ed teacher in East Troy, had this to say: ‘In a time when it is challenging to be a union member, John Linneman has not only continued to be a union member, but also a union leader and positively represent our union to the community.’

“John, congratulations. All of us – custodian, paraprofessional, bus driver, teacher – are called to make a difference in the lives of each other, the children who are entrusted to us, and the larger community.”

Miguel Salas

“I’m pleased to be here to honor a man who inspires WEAC members and helps them find the power within themselves. The Wisconsin Education Association Council’s 201 7 Cunningham, Dickinson, Watson Award recipient is WEAC Region 7 Director Miguel Salas.

“Miguel has demonstrated through his ideas, actions and performance why he is deserving of this award. Miguel, a former special education teacher, has worked on the local level as well as in regional and statewide efforts to empower educators in their profession.

“Rachel Meyer of WEAC Region 7 describes Miguel as an educator of educators who possesses calm professionalism, confident competence, reliability, integrity and leadership. Tammy Johnson credits his mentorship with shaping her into a union activist.

“He expertly helps members with things that come up in the course of our careers – retirement issues, insurance concerns, recertification strategy, electing pro-public education school board candidates, handbooks, legal help, EE, PDPs, SLOs, NBCT and so many other acronyms that are part of our world. Congratulations on this accomplishment, Miguel.”


Herb Kohl Educational Foundation increases the value of its educator awards

A surprise announcement that all Herb Kohl awards will double greeted Wisconsin students, teachers, and principals invited to the April 8 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation luncheon in Greendale to honor their selection as 2017 Herb Kohl award recipients.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers announced the award increase during the event, the first of five to be held around the state. Student scholars will receive $10,000 awards rather than $5,000 they were initially told they would receive in March. Teachers and principals will receive $6,000 with a $6,000 matching award given to their school rather than the $3,000 award and $3,000 matching grant for Teacher Fellowship and Leadership Awards.

“There are so many educators in our public schools who are deserving of being recognized for their dedication to students that goes above and beyond. The Honorable Herb Kohl knows this and has for years supported educators through this recognition of some of the best in our profession,” said WEAC President Ron Martin, an eighth grade teacher. “His is a great example of lifting up the professionals who provide opportunity to every student who walks through the schoolhouse doors.”

Herb Kohl, through his Herb Kohl Educational Foundation, established a student scholarship and teacher recognition program in 1990. Annually the Foundation awards 200 scholarships to graduating high school seniors, 100 teacher fellowships, and 16 principal leadership awards, with matching grants to teachers’ and principals’ schools. To date the Foundation has awarded $11.7 million to Wisconsin educators, students, and schools.

Thirty-seven WEAC members were among those receiving Kohl Foundation Teacher Fellowships this year (we have added two to the original list of 35 WEAC members receiving the award). The list of winners can be found HERE.

Clintonville’s Karen Petermann is a Phy Ed Teacher of the Year

Clintonville teacher Karen Petermann, a WEAC Region 3 member, has been named the Midwest Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by SHAPE – the Society of Health and Physical Educators.

Karen, who has been at Longfellow Elementary School for more than 30 years, told WBAY TV, Channel 2, Green Bay, that she believes in guiding students to being active “not only now but forever in their lifetime.”

She believes in providing activities “that are at every student’s level so that they can be successful.” Once they achieve success, she said, “they are going to become intrinsically motivated to be active.”

Watch the WBAY report:

Local teacher is national PE Teacher of the Year

Clintonville’s Karen Peterman is Shape America’s National Elementary P.E. Teacher of the Year


34 WEAC members win 2017 Herb Kohl Foundation Teacher Fellowships

Thirty-four WEAC members are recipients of prestigious Herb Kohl Foundation Teacher Fellowships for 2017. Each teacher receives a $3,000 award. Recipients were selected by a statewide committee composed of civic leaders, representatives of education-related associations, and the program’s co-sponsors: the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools (WCRIS), regional Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESA), and the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators. WEAC members who won Teacher Fellowships are:


  • Mary Caucutt, Oconomowoc Templeton Middle School, Sussex
  • Theresa Kruschke Alfonso, West Allis Greendale High School, Greendale
  • Genny Lambert, Delafield, Waukesha STEM Academy, Waukesha
  • Mary Laubenheimer, Milwaukee, Wedgewood Park International School, Milwaukee
  • Margaret Mulqueen, Oconomowoc High School of Health Sciences, Wales
  • Gretchen Nelson, Pewaukee Swallow School, Hartland
  • Judith Offenbacher, Milwaukee, Audubon Middle School (ATCC), Milwaukee
  • Cynthia Stemper, Sussex, Swanson Elementary School, Brookfield


  • Erin Barnard, Madison, Patrick Marsh Middle School, Sun Prairie
  • Mary Ellen Kanthack, Genoa City Brookwood Middle School, Genoa City
  • Joseph King, Madison, James Madison Memorial High School, Madison
  • Colleen Kollasch, DeForest, DeForest Area High School, DeForest
  • Jason Penticoff, Madison, O’Keefe Middle School, Madison
  • John Schimming, Whitewater Whitewater Middle School, Whitewater
  • Sarah Schnuelle, Palmyra, Sullivan Elementary School, Sullivan
  • Katherine Sinkewicz, Madison, Spring Harbor Middle School, Madison
  • Margaret Wachowiak, DeForest DeForest Area High School, DeForest


  • Matthew Nevers, Dodgeville, Mineral Point High School, Mineral Point


  • Sherry Brevick, Alma Alma Area School, Alma
  • Mary Czajka, West Salem, West Salem Elementary School, West Salem
  • Oakley Moser, IV, Tomah Tomah High School, Tomah
  • Tara Schuttenhelm, La Crosse, North Woods International School, La Crosse


  • Claire Fallon, Prairie du Sac, Tower Rock Elementary School, Prairie du Sac


  • Michael Fedyszyn, North Fond du Lac Sabish Middle School, Fond du Lac


  • Courtney DeArmond, Manitowoc Jefferson Elementary School, Manitowoc
  • Matthew Miller, Sheboygan, Sheboygan North High School, Sheboygan


  • Mary Keller, Lakewood Wabeno High School, Wabeno


  • Brent Zinkel, Wausau, Wausau East High School, Wausau


  • Julie Anderson, Bloomer Bloomer High School, Bloomer
  • Brenda Xiong, Altoona, Northstar Middle School, Eau Claire


  • Stephanie Belisle, St. Croix Falls, St. Croix Falls Elementary School, St. Croix Falls
  • Karen Lettner, Barron Barron High School, Barron
  • Rita Thorson, Lakeland, Meyer Middle School, River Falls
  • Matthew Wigdahl, Menomonie, Oaklawn Elementary School, Menomonie

If you know of a WEAC member who won a Kohl Fellowship but is not listed here, please let us know at

In addition to the Teacher Fellowships, the Kohl Foundation also announced Excellence Scholars, Initiative Scholars, and Leadership Awards. Click here for the complete list of winners.

Mukwonago teacher Kellie Arenz selected to take part in Space Academy

WEAC Region 7 member Kellie Arenz, a STEM teacher at Park View Middle School in Mukwonago, has been selected to attend the 2017 Honeywell Educators at Space Academy in Huntsville, Alabama.

Created in partnership with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, this professional development program is designed to help middle school math and science teachers from around the world become more effective educators in science, technology, engineering, and math. Educators are empowered with supplemental teaching techniques through simulated astronaut training and innovative educational tools that help bring science to life in the classroom.

Kellie is featured in an article in, which notes that only 400 educators from 55 countries are chosen each year for the week-long academy, and says Kellie is ecstatic about the opportunity.

“I heard about the Honeywell Educator Space Academy two years ago from a friend, and I knew right away I wanted to explore the chance to go,” said Arenz. “I applied last September and when word came early this year that I had been selected, I couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled.”

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Mukwonago middle school teacher picked to take part in national space academy

Park View Middle School STEM teacher Kellie Arenz is readying for an experience of a lifetime. Selected to attend the 2017 Honeywell Educators at Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, she will be joining educators from around the world to explore innovative techniques to educate and inspire students in science, technology, engineering, and math.