62 WEAC members earn National Board Certification in 2018

Sixty-two WEAC members recently joined the ranks of Nationally Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in Wisconsin, and 26 renewed their certification. Known as one of the top honors in the profession, NBCTs are assessed by their peers on 5 core propositions of accomplished teaching. WEAC is the state leader in providing candidate support; WEAC supports include intensive summer Jump Start training, monthly in-person cohorts, an online prep course, virtual mentors, and a winter writing retreat.

“The support that I received from WEAC was so instrumental that I do not believe I would have passed without it. It’s hard to believe that it was all free to WEAC members,” said Sarah Schnuelle a recently certified NBCT and educator in Jefferson.

If you’re interested in information on becoming Nationally Board Certified please click here or e-mail nbctsupport@weac.org.

2018 New NBCTs

TAMMIE ALEKNA
HOLLY BAUKIN
MEGAN BERGER
MOLLY BILSE
JILL BOECK
CARLA BONSIGNORE
KATHERINE BONTEMPO
BARBARA BORRE
RACHEL BURKEL
NATALIE COOK
SAMANTHA CRUZ
ANNMARIE DAHL
ANDREA DINNDORF
TRACY DOBKOSKI
AMANDA DOHMS
EMILY DRAIN
VIRGINIA ELSEN
BRENDA ERDMAN
MARY ANN FEUTZ
KARLY FRISCH
MARGO GOFF
ERICA GRETEBECK
SARAH GREY
LAURA GROCHOWSKI
MATTHEW HARMON
ANITA HARRISON
KATHRYN HATLESTAD
KARI HEDEMAN
SARAH HILL
ANDREW HOLDMANN
CHRISTINE HUMBERG
EMILY INSTENES
ABIGAIL KEAN
AMY KLEIN
AMY KLINE
LEIGH KOHLMANN
ERICA KOHLMEYER ZENKE
CHRISTINA LADURON
DIANA LEHNHERR
DAWN LEMIRAND-POEPPING
ELLEN LINNIHAN
ANDREW LIPSKI
ANN MARCHANT
SARA MCKITTRICK
JESSICA NARLOW
CORYNN NORDSTROM
ERIN PETERS
SUSAN PETERSON
KEVIN PODEWELTZ
JESSICA REED
JEAN ROBINSON
SHANON RODENBERG
LINDSAY RUDEBUSCH
AMY SCHAEFER
SARAH SCHNUELLE
LEXA SPETH
HEATHER STERNITZKY
DIANA STRATTON
MICHAEL TAMBLYN
DAVID WALKER
NATHANIEL WEISS
JOSIE WIESER

2018 NBCT Renewals

DANA ACAMOVIC
CHRISTINE AHRENS
CATHERINE ANDERSON
M GILLIAN ARBUCKLE KING
EMILY CHERONE
JAMI COLLINS
MOLLY COUGHLIN
MARY FASSBENDER
RACHEL GROVE
THOMAS GRUNDER
ELLEN GRUNDER
JAY JOHNSON
ERIN KRASE-MINCHK
ANN KRONCKE
ANDY KRUGER
REBECCA LETTER
PAUL MAJORS
CHERYL MIRACLE
KAREN REHORST PORRAS
JENNIFER SECOR
KIMBERLY SERENE
MARY SILVA
NICHOLAS SIREK
KATHRYN STEEDMAN
KIMBERLY TRENDEL
THERESE URBEN

We apologize if we missed you. If so, please send an e-mail to nbctsupport@weac.org.

5 honored with WEAC Awards at 2018 Representative Assembly

WEAC awards presented at 2018 RA:

Friend of Education: G-Safe

The WEAC Friend of Education Award goes to an organization that makes a difference for educators and students – G-Safe. G-Safe is a champion, creating schools where all LGBTQ youth and students can thrive. Co-director Brian Juchems and board member Evelyn Gildrie-Voyles with her son, Isaac, accepted the award. (Juchems and Gildrie-Voyles are shown here with Racine delegate Jeanne Schierstedt.) Brian works closely with outreach to educators and leads policy work with school districts.

In presenting the award, WEAC President Ron Martin said:

“WEAC partnered with G-Safe this January for first-ever train-the-trainer programs on creating safe and welcoming schools for our LGBTQ students. It was a huge success, and look for more opportunities coming soon.

“In fact, G-Safe was founded by educators leading in their district. Oftentimes, we’re the first adults an LBGTQ student might come out to. There are simple steps we can take to make the journey better for them – whether the intentional choice of words or being encouraging.

“G-Safe knows we educators are on the ground, day-to-day, doing the work to make things better for all students. G-SAFE knows it’s important for us to be empowered. Youth are looking to us to create those safe spaces, and our union is committed to foster leaders to make that happen. We are proud to stand with G-Safe and to honor you with the 2016 Friend of Education Award.”

Richard J. Lewandowski Award for humanitarian service:

E-Ben Grisby

The Lewandowski Award was presented to Green Bay teacher E-Ben Grisby.

In presenting the award, WEAC President Ron Martin said:

“Today, we honor a man who fosters partnerships to help others embrace the broad spectrum of diversity in the Fox Cities and beyond. E-Ben is a teacher at Green Bay West High School and member of the GBEA. Through his work with students and in the community, he speaks up where there is injustice and leads change. A true leader.

“He is a longtime activist at Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities, even serving as its Chairman of the Board, and also within our union ranks. He says diversity is more than just a catch phrase – it is a way of life.

“Above all, E-Ben is a voice for the voiceless. He believes public education rises above political affiliations and stands up for the most vulnerable of our students when they are threatened by policymakers on either side of the aisle.

“E-Ben, our thanks to you – and congratulations on your accomplishments.”

Education Support Professional Award: Tammy Erickson

Tammy Erickson

The winner of the 2018 WEAC Education Support Professional of the Year Award is Tammy Erickson, a ParaPRO in the Glenwood City School District.

In presenting the award, WEAC President Ron Martin said:

“Tammy is a budding activist and willing to step up, in any way, to elevate Education Support Professionals. Her commitment to her community schools spans her 21-year career. She worked in the same classroom that whole time. She came in as a sub, and she never left. Parents and teachers depend on her before, during and after school.

“Tammy is an anchor. She’s the first to say she’s not unique. Wisconsin Public School Education Support Professionals transport the kids, feed them, nurture them, keep them safe and connect with them. And while we show our appreciation to all support professionals, Tammy Erickson, you are our ESP of the Year.”

Cunningham, Dickinson, Watson Staff Award:

WEAC Executive Director Bob Baxter presents the WEAC staff award to Jeff Baas and Sue Sarbacker.

The winners of the 2018 WEAC staff award are Jeff Baas, WEAC Instruction and Professional Development Consultant, and Sue Sarbacker, WEAC Staff Assistant and Information Systems Technician. The Cunningham, Dickinson, Watson Award is given to a staff person for “initiatives, ideas, actions, or consistent performance that has enabled members in Wisconsin to better themselves and advance public education.”

Teach for America is not a ‘noble’ choice

Teacher turnover is an increasing problem across Wisconsin, creating instability for students in their neighborhood public schools. WEAC advocates for professional respect, support and resources for educators to attract and keep them in our schools.

Read what La Crosse teacher John Havlicek, president of his local education association, had to say at the suggestion that Teach for America is a valid option for our students.

Recently the Tribune published a column by syndicated columnist Leanna Landsmann, in response to a reader’s question about whether her college senior daughter should do a two-year stint for TFA before starting her “real career”. Ms. Landsmann’s response could not have been worse.

In her first paragraph, she asserts that teaching is a “great foundation” for other careers. No, it isn’t. Teaching is a highly complex, demanding profession that stands on its own as one of the most challenging, most rewarding, and most important fields one could name. It is not a stepping-stone toward something else, although it becomes clear later in the column that Ms. Landsmann clearly has that opinion of teachers and teaching. Becoming a master teacher takes years of honing one’s craft, not two years and then leaving for greener pastures.

Later, she states that many TFA alumni now have leadership positions in the education field. She is correct on that point, but she ignores how unfortunate that is. She brings up the example of Mr. Perez. After his two years as a TFA, he then became the education advisor to Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, TX. Rather than lament how unqualified someone with no education degree and only two years experience is to be the education advisor to the mayor of a major US city (all due respect to Mr. Perez), she states that this is an admirable career path. Why? Can you imagine someone with no qualifications being named the mayor’s economic development advisor? Would a summer course in marketing and then two years as an entry level office worker be sufficient qualification?

Further, she encourages a young accountant who wants to teach for a couple years, because she likes tutoring, and wants to use “data to help narrow the opportunity gap.” Tutoring is like teaching in the same way that Guitar Hero is like what Eddie Van Halen does. Also, we don’t need “data” to “narrow the opportunity gap”. We need proper funding for all public schools, instead of the regressive funding formula employed by pretty much every state in our country: schools in wealthy districts get more, while state aid decreases across the country, so that schools in poor communities get less.

Teach for America is the educational version of “voluntourism”, and TFA is making lots of people rich selling it. In “voluntourism”, people take a vacation of sorts and combine it with some kind of service. On the surface, it sounds good, but it frequently causes more problems than it solves, and it makes many situations worse. Often, an idealist with great intentions goes on vacation, spends a few days playing with kids in an orphanage, is shown around by a guide, and buys a few trinkets to take home. Although the sentiment is good, the voluntourist often has no idea of local customs, insults the locals by assuming they need his/her charity, in fact deprives the organization of needed funding because more money is spent on the “tourism” part, and departs without having made any significant improvements. Then, this person returns home and updates his/her Facebook status with pictures of the kids. Has this person really helped those kids?

For comparison, this would be like traveling to a developing nation, visiting some kind of rural development project, helping out for a week, and then coming back and applying for a job in the State Department. For some reason, I just can’t imagine that application getting a lot of attention: “I want to be Assistant Secretary of State to Mr. Kerry and I think I am qualified because I bought a hand-made bracelet in Bolivia and I think clean water is important.”

In the world of education, TFA does exactly this. College graduates, not teachers, get five weeks of training (as if that is somehow equivalent to my Bachelor’s Degree, my Master’s Degree, and my 30 credits beyond a Master’s Degree, and my 20 years of experience) and then are sent into very tough districts to work with challenging students who have needs that, in all likelihood, this college graduate has never experienced, or even considered, and will probably never understand.

As if this were not bad enough, this unqualified non-teacher is then often connected through the TFA organization to people who are at the policy-making level. So, the unqualified non-teacher is then put in a position to make decisions about teachers and education. Let’s be frank: TFA is not in the business of preparing people to teach. It is in the business of getting people into positions of making decisions. And, frequently, those decisions involve privatizing public education. Those decisions involve test, test, and more test, thus enriching standardized test writers. Those decisions often involve helping other people make profits off our children.

Finally, Ms. Landsmann equates teaching to “service to the country” as if it were a volunteer opportunity like Peace Corp or perhaps volunteering for the Red Cross. It is not. It is an estimable profession that should never, never be reduced to a five week training course and a drive through career. Ms. Landsmann even goes so far as to include the link to apply for TFA. This makes me wonder: Has Ms. Landsmann ever taught in a public school?

John Havlicek

President of the La Crosse Education Association

WEAC member Amy Reed named Wisconsin Special Services Teacher of the Year

From the Department of Public Instruction

AmyReed_180pxIn a surprise ceremony at her school, Amy Reed, a special education teacher at Kimberly High School, was named Wisconsin’s Special Services Teacher of the Year for the 2015-16 school year.

State Superintendent Tony Evers made the announcement during an all-school assembly. As part of the Teacher of the Year honor, Reed will receive $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

“A Teacher of the Year demonstrates an unwavering commitment to students,” Evers said. “It’s my honor to recognize Amy for the work she does and for being such an exceptional representative of educators in Wisconsin’s public schools.”

“Highlighting excellent work and leadership in our schools and bringing these individuals forward for recognition reminds educators of the important work they do and the reason they chose this career,” said Herb Kohl, philanthropist, businessman, and former U.S. Senator, who co-sponsors the program through his educational foundation. “Educators contribute to our communities in so many ways. Also, we want to encourage talented students to enter the field of education in Wisconsin.”

Reed describes her personal philosophy as educating “every student with maximum independence and soft skills in mind.” She stresses a focus on teaching not only core curricula but also understanding what each student would like to do after high school. This allows her to help them develop a plan to get there, teaching students not just what to learn, but how to learn.

“I work to guide the student toward the desired career while also teaching skills necessary for more comprehensive growth and learning, including evaluation and reflection,” she said.

Reed believes her work with the students is just one part of the equation and takes steps to engage the parents from the beginning.

“When working with teams to set up Individualized Education Programs, I begin with parents ahead of time. I send parent questionnaires and conduct parent and student interviews. This process enables me to uncover additional student strengths and interests, unrealized dreams, frustrations and concerns … to get students on track to meeting their goals.”

Described as “a tireless advocate for students with disabilities” and someone whose “unwavering dedication and continual service to her students sets her apart from her colleagues,” Reed has been instrumental in the development and implementation of many initiatives to improve inclusion and acceptance within the school and in the greater community.

Reed has helped start a week-long community event to increase awareness, culminating in a basketball game between high school students and Special Olympians. She seeks to increase the social benefits those with disabilities can experience through events such as an annual dance, inviting all families from neighboring schools who have a student with a disability to attend. Through her program to serve those with unmet needs, she has collected formal attire for dances for students from low-income families to wear so they can comfortably attend these events.

Reed has achieved high levels of professional achievement in her career as a special education teacher. Striving to meet rigorous standards, she is one of only a handful of teachers in her district to earn the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification. She has set additional goals for herself including earning a master’s degree in Thanatology: the science of death, grief, and bereavement.

“One area of need that I have been unable to help families fill is the need for specialized grief support. I have found few resources that apply grief and bereavement strategies to people with significant disabilities without using techniques designed for a much younger population in an effort to meet the person’s intellectual age,” she said.

Reed attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where she earned a bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education and earned her master’s degree in educational leadership. She began her career at the Boys & Girls Club of Oshkosh before accepting a position as a special education teacher working with individuals with intellectual disabilities at Kimberly High School in 2002.

Evers will recognize Reed as the Wisconsin Special Services Teacher of the Year during his State of Education address September 17 in Madison.