Three WEAC members recognized for ‘helping students see differently’

Three WEAC members are being recognized by the Department of Public Instruction for having “a colossal impact” by helping students “see school in different and important ways.” Teacher Frank Juarez of Sheboygan (WEAC Region 3), Joanna Rizzotto of South Milwaukee (WEAC Region 7) and Mark Nepper of Madison (Madison Teachers Inc.) are among teachers featured in a special issue of the ConnectEd newsletter. Here are their stories:


Frank Juarez is a high school art teacher for Sheboygan North High School; however, he is quick to establish the importance of varied artistic contexts and connections to help students see school in a different way. “As educators,” Juarez says, “we work to help students with self-discovery through a variety of opportunities — school, community, and across the state, to create in multiple ways, to make their art relate to how they see their world.”

Juarez believes that sharing the many facets of his professional life with students through his art gallery, and providing access to artists in the Midwest is key.

Frank Juarez
Frank Juarez

Whether or not they pursue art after high school, students must be able to navigate adult-like scenarios, including working with others, accepting criticism without taking it personally, and being comfortable with who they are. This requires implementing a strong art curriculum and getting to know kids in their element.

“I can have 30+ kids in a class, and each student is unique. I don’t know what they’re thinking or feeling unless they are vocal about it,” Juarez says. This realization informed his research into how to increase literacy in art classes. Instead of defining successful artists as people outside of their community, he started thinking about what he could do to make art relevant in students’ lives today.

Juarez and a few friends traveled to four states in the Midwest to survey artists. They compiled videos, interviews, photos, and websites. Juarez uses this information as another way to expose students to contemporary art. Now, he says, “students know how to navigate digital resources, how to ask questions to do artist research, how to talk to strangers and feel confident.” Exposing students to art in this way shows them that art is not just something that lives in galleries in big cities. Art lives everywhere– in notebooks, basements, laptops, and sketchbooks.

Students working
 Students working in the art classroom

Juarez admits that being a teacher today is extremely difficult. He also admits that he remains committed to doing the extra work it takes to connect his artistic interests and experiences outside of school to his classroom, in hopes of making an impact.

Getting to know all of his students, promoting their work, advocating for them, and exposing them to many different experiences is what sends a message to students that he cares about them. “That’s the power of education, especially in art, to get to know students’ likes and dislikes, and for them get to know each other. It’s also a testament to the relationships that are fostered at North High School, keeping an open channel of communication.”


Joanna Rizzotto has never cared much for labeling students. As a REAL Academy teacher for the South Milwaukee High School alternative learning community, she aims to offer an asset-based philosophy and program. “I don’t view my students as a bunch of weaknesses,” Rizzotto says.

“My students see school in a different and important way because I see them in a different and important way.”

The REAL Academy is a student-based program that focuses on healthy adolescent development. Their vision as an alternative program is to provide students equal access to education by addressing barriers to success through a personalized educational program. Rizzotto is trained in trauma-informed care and uses this background to teach students about how their minds and bodies work together. Through an inquiry-based learning model, students explore self-identified areas of interest related to adolescence or their own personal development.

Joanna Rizzotto
Joanna Rizzotto in the REAL Academy classroom

Rizzotto and her co-teacher, Hallie Schmeling (also a WEAC 7 member), emphasize productive-worker traits, open communication, and relationship-building. “We tell the kids it’s a 24-hour commitment — what they do in the program and outside of school.” Outside of the REAL Academy, parents report that their children seem happier, more productive, and enjoy going to school.

Their work goes beyond individual research and volunteer placements. Self-assessment and reflection are also major components of the work students do. They have their own entrance, check themselves in, put their phones away, order food, and participate in their community circle each day. They work on being healthy and developing an awareness of their thoughts and patterns in order to better hear and see others.

Rizzotto is proud of the fact that REAL Academy was designed within the current system using existing resources. More than 30 educators at South Milwaukee High School participate in a student-needs network, where Rizzotto and Schmeling rely on them as resources to present REAL Academy as a positive option for students.

In this intentional design and space, students reveal how disengaged they were. Some were issued truancy citations, and now have perfect attendance for the school year. Rizzotto states, “they bring their whole selves, and do very brave work that many adults would find very challenging because it’s about getting honest with yourself.”

Outside of the REAL Academy, Rizzotto’ students are happy and productive. “It’s hard for people to know what it was like for them when they weren’t in REAL,” she says. Part of the success is having two team teachers so that students are not getting bounced among the principal, counselors, and teachers. This makes school accessible for students and their parents because it’s a one-stop shop.

Some students stay with REAL Academy all the way, while for others, it is a brief leg of their journey. However long they choose to participate, educators like Rizzotto support kids with a unique approach to re-engage in school.


Mark Nepper, a high school English teacher at West High School in Madison, believes we are better when we get to know each other. In an attempt to see more of their school, Nepper and co-advisor, Lindsey Tyser (also an MTI and WEAC member), work with students in the Diversity Alliance Club. The club, made up of about 25 students, works to recognize the diversity at West and what that diversity brings to the school.

When the club formed in 2003, they raised money to purchase flags that represented all students’ ethnicities. “Once we had the flags, we had to explain why the flags were here. Then, the program evolved to All Nations Day,” Nepper says. All year, Diversity Alliance Club students work to produce an All Nations Day performance, where student populations at West are celebrated.

Mark Nepper
Mark Nepper

“We hear from teachers that it’s their favorite day of the school year because it shines a spotlight on how broad our diversity is. Students love it because they get to see different student groups in different ways,” Nepper says. The performance culminates with a parade of the flags, where students cheer and whistle as their flags are represented.

The Diversity Alliance Club also has a broader mission, beyond the walls of West High School. Each year, participating seniors establish a focus for the club, leading the way on something they want to try, like raising money to send books, food, and other needed items to schools in different countries. The club enjoys having a partnership with a middle school in Honduras, and sends them postcards and videos from the All Nations Day performance.

Irish Dancers
 Student Irish dancers from left to right, Juliana Cranley, Mattie Kantor, and Katherine Walsh

To Nepper, the work of the Diversity Alliance Club shines a light on the “hidden gems” at West, helping students experience a more extensive view of their school, outside of isolated friend groups.

“It is work I find valuable,” he says. “As we focus on the idea of celebrating diversity, it makes us stronger as a school. We look at the beauty and strength that students bring, and it makes our school a better place.”

Memoninee Indian educator – and WEAC member – Benjamin Grignon is state’s 2019 High School Teacher of the Year

Benjamin Grignon stands by a traditional basket.

From the Department of Public Instruction

Benjamin Grignon

In a surprise ceremony at his school, Benjamin Grignon, teacher of traditional Menominee crafts at Menominee Indian High School in Keshena and a member of WEAC Region 3, was named a Wisconsin 2019 High School 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, Grignon will receive $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

“Our teachers wear many hats, yet their dedication to children is constant,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “From the classroom to the conference room to the community, they focus on our kids and their education. It is an honor to recognize educators who do so much for Wisconsin’s students and our public schools.”

Herb Kohl, philanthropist, businessman, and co-sponsor of the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year program through his educational foundation, said he supports the program because “I want to help teachers pursue their unrealized goals for their classroom, their school, or their professional development.”

As a teacher of traditional arts, specifically Menominee arts, Grignon is unique in the world. “I work with students not only on the art forms of our people, but the language and cultural practices that go along with these arts,” he said. He works with science teachers to incorporate plant and mushroom identification and the chemistry of mordants and plants for dying weaving and basketry projects. Students learn geometry formulas as they design loom beadwork based on the geometric forms that are part of ancient Menominee aesthetics. “I am constantly finding opportunities to use our culture to reinforce other subjects in our school,” he said.

Grignon shows deep respect for the elder teachers, saying he strives to pass the knowledge on to the next generation of Menominee youth. “My students are taught about menacehaew (respect) for themselves, each other, and for the knowledge passed on to us from the elders.” He incorporates language learning into everyday tasks. Many of the expressions Grignon uses become a part of students’ everyday conversations, and students depend on the classroom community for help when they forget the Menominee language term for something.

“Within Menominee culture, we have a belief that you should never create something if your mind is troubled,” Grignon related. He uses classroom meditation to help students center themselves and offers alternatives for those who feel they cannot make art that day. These actions are part of his effort to create a safe place for students to learn and support programming to address Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which are prevalent in the high-poverty district. Grignon notes that through traditional art and symbolism, students reflect Menominee history in their creations, but also their present and future. He says that the elements in students’ work, the symbols and colors they use, allow them to share something about themselves, the struggles they face, and the accomplishments they have achieved.

Grignon serves as vice chairman of the Menominee Language and Culture Commission. The panel oversees immersion efforts at the Menominee Tribal Daycare, which is using a program based on the Language Nest idea developed by the Maori of New Zealand. As co-founder of the Mawaw Ceseniyah Center for Language, Culture, and the Arts, Grignon helps lead traditional experiences such as maple tree tapping, wild rice gathering, and storytelling activities that unite the school and community. By working with the University of Wisconsin Extension, Grignon was able to establish a Menominee Immersion Club at the high school that uses language to cook healthy foods. His principal notes that Grignon’s positive effect on the student body afterschool is so great that he’s had to request special busing so students can get home. Principal Jim Reif also commends Grignon as a resource for non-Menominee educators, calling Grignon “an irreplaceable embodiment of what it means to be a revered Menominee leader and teacher.”

In addition to working at Menominee Indian High School, Grignon teaches community art workshops at East-West University and the College of Menominee Nation. He previously worked at the Menominee Tribal School in Neopit, teaching kindergarten through eighth-grade Menominee Language classes. He earned an associate’s degree in fine art from the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, N.M. He holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s of fine art from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Grignon earned his teaching certification through Concordia University’s Appleton campus.

Other educators named 2019 Teachers of the Year are:

Special Services Teacher of the Year
Michael Wilson, a school counselor at St. Croix Falls High School and a member of WEAC Region 1
Elementary School Teacher of the Year
Liz Gulden, a kindergarten teacher at Willson Elementary School in Baraboo
Middle School Teacher of the Year
Maggie McHugh of Sparta, a sixth-grade teacher and adviser at the La Crosse Design Institute
High School Teacher of the Year (two this year)
Sarahi Monterrey, an English Learner teacher at Waukesha North High School


WEAC President Ron Martin celebrates Wisconsin educators

In honor of 2018 Teacher Appreciation Week, WEAC President Ron Martin celebrates educators throughout the state. “I am so honored to represent the educators of Wisconsin’s public schools,” he says. “We make Wisconsin.”

In addition to releasing this video tribute to educators, Martin appeared Tuesday morning on The Morning Show on Wisconsin Public Radio, where he covered a wide range of topics but emphasized the dedication of Wisconsin’s educators and the need for everyone, including policymakers, to give educators the respect they deserve. Listen to a podcast of the show:


Wisconsin Public Radio features in-depth news from WPR’s seven bureaus and NPR, entertainment programs, classical music and discussions on the Ideas Network.


St. Croix Falls guidance counselor Michael Wilson named 2019 Wisconsin Special Services Teacher of the Year

Michael Wilson

From the Department of Public Instruction

In a surprise ceremony at his school Tuesday, Michael Wilson, a school counselor at St. Croix Falls High School and a member of WEAC Region 1, was named Wisconsin’s 2019 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, Wilson will receive $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

“Our teachers wear many hats, yet their dedication to children is constant,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “From the classroom to the conference room to the community, they focus on our kids and their education. It is an honor to recognize educators who do so much for Wisconsin’s students and our public schools.”

Herb Kohl, philanthropist, businessman, and co-sponsor of the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year program through his educational foundation, said he supports the program because “I want to help teachers pursue their unrealized goals for their classroom, their school, or their professional development.”

A self-described champion for mental health awareness and reducing stigma around the topic, Wilson pioneered a Bandana Project for students to show support for mental health issues. The initial 100 white bandanas were intended as a visible message that mental health is important and that the bearers will either ask for or offer help when needed. Displayed on jackets, backpacks, and computer bags, about two-thirds of the high school population sport the bandanas. “Research shows that students typically go to someone their age for help in a time of need,” Wilson said. The bandanas, signs of support from one student to another, are a project of the Students Offering Support (SOS) group, which he leads.

Wilson has streamlined some components of the BARR (Building Assets Reducing Risks) program to provide real-time, shared data that improved efficiency and effectiveness. With staff focused on the whole child and acting quickly to intervene, St. Croix Falls has reduced the percentage of ninth-grade students who fail a class from a high of 34.2 percent in 2014-15 to 11.25 percent for the 2016-17 school year.

Wilson’s leadership brought mental health screening to first-year high school students to ensure their needs can be met on multiple levels. Additionally, he assisted area counselors in securing office space in the school so students can receive counseling services confidentially, without leaving school. He stresses that students’ lives outside of school directly affect their performance.

“Students in crisis or students who are dealing with serious situations need more than just a friendly ear. They need guidance, assistance, and a coach to help them through the tough times,” he said. In a letter of recommendation, Wilson is recognized as “a dedicated professional educator who forms meaningful bonds with his students as he helps them transition from adolescence to early adulthood.”

Wilson created Career Day, which brings community members in to teach students about a variety of professions. With 40 percent of parents having a high school diploma or less, Wilson recognizes that “first generation college students need extra support.” From increasing access to college campus visits to individual and parent meetings held throughout the year, Wilson makes sure students get the attention and information they need to think beyond high school and apply for college and financial aid.

Outside of school, Wilson has coached or been assistant coach for 20 plus baseball teams, sometimes multiple age groups in the same year. He serves as the St. Croix Falls Baseball Association President, helping the community-based organization raise money and improve the youth baseball program in St. Croix Falls. In the summer of 2017, more than 200 youth played baseball from tee-ball to eighth-grade traveling teams. Explaining the reason for his efforts coaching baseball, basketball, or football or leading an association meeting, Wilson said, “Our school is the center of our community and students’ connection to school through involvement fosters positive results in the classroom.”

Prior to working at St. Croix Falls High School, Wilson was a grade six to 12 counselor at Clear Lake Junior and Senior High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and at Master of Science in Education from UW-River Falls.

‘How my mentor saved my professional life’

By Chris Gleason
2017 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year

Chris Gleason teaches instrumental music at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, and is a member of WEAC Region 6. He is the 2017 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year and 2017 Finalist for National Teacher of the Year.

The day before my first concert the student band was falling apart. I called my father, a veteran band director, for some last-minute advice. He said, “Write up something about the music and give it to a student to read to the audience before you play the piece.”

The next day, with the band assembled on stage and the crowd listening intently, one of my students walked up to the microphone, read the first sentence of my introduction, and then suddenly stopped. She glanced over at me with a puzzled look and then said into the microphone, “Oh, that’s what the piece is about.”

It was a devastating moment. I felt like a failure and wanted to melt away. Later that night, my father called and asked, “How did your first concert go?” I said, “I’m not sure I’m cut out for teaching.”

The remainder of the year didn’t go much better. In fact, by the end of the year, I was convinced that I had made a huge mistake and needed to find a new profession.

If anyone should have had an easy start in teaching, it should have been me. My father was a well-respected band director in Wisconsin, and my mother had earned her doctorate in educational leadership and served as a dean at a technical college.

Both my brother and my wife are music educators. I grew up in my father’s band room observing great teaching taking place every day. I attended an amazing high school and university that prepared me well for this profession.

Yet, after just one year I was ready to quit the only job I had ever wanted to do.

In a last-ditch effort to save my career, I registered for a weeklong summer teacher workshop. Patty, a veteran music educator and small group’s leader, told me “Teaching isn’t the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

In the days that followed, Patty, along with the other veteran teachers in the room, taught me how to light a fire in kids.

The professional development I received from those master educators saved my professional career and challenged me to become the educator I am today.

Teaching is one of the few highly-skilled professions that expect you to teach like a veteran your first day on the job.

There is no “wading into this pool” — rather, you jump into the deep end and trust that you can keep your head above water. Mentors like Patty are lifeguards who protect and assist young educators when they are most at risk.

A recent study found that “92 percent of teachers assigned a mentor their first year returned the next year, and 86 percent were on the job by the fifth year. Only 84 percent of teachers without mentors returned in the second year, declining to 71 percent in the fifth year.” I am confident that I would not be teaching if it had not been for Patty.

Professional development has a profound impact on new teachers. In addition to meeting mentors, as a first-year teacher, I had the opportunity to participate in authentic teacher-led professional development.

The workshop, Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP), just celebrated its 40th anniversary this past summer. CMP is developed and led by veteran music educators who volunteer their time for the benefit of teachers and students.

CMP and the teachers leading it have made the single biggest impact on my teaching.

Why? The course content comes from real classrooms and real teachers motivated by deep thinking, effective practice, and elevating the profession. It is the perfect example of exemplary teachers banding together to push teaching forward.

Policymakers can support projects such as CMP and amazing mentors like Patty by fully funding Title II under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

This funding makes it possible for states to offer evidence-based professional learning for districts, support teacher mentor training, target professional learning for teacher leaders, and support workshops such as CMP. Simply put, this funding provided me with resources that are part of the reason that I am still teaching today, 21 years later.

Our most important resource as a nation is our children and the potential that resides within them. The work of a teacher is to cultivate, nurture, and develop this potential to the fullest degree possible. As such, we must provide our youngest educators with the support they need to accomplish this difficult, complex and rewarding work. Thank you Patty for taking me under your wing and saving me.

Last year, we visited with Chris in his classroom and put together this video to celebrate his being named Teacher of the Year:

Three WEAC members receive NEA Foundation grants

Three WEAC members have received Student Achievement/Learning and Leadership grants from the NEA Foundation. They are:

Roger King, Holmen High School, a $5,000 Learning & Leadership Grant. Educators at Holmen High School will learn how to instruct farm-to-school techniques in a number of settings. Educators will become familiar with greenhouse labs, outdoor gardens, and offsite farms, which they will use to provide students context for math and science concepts through the observation of food production. The project will create a learning environment that fosters the development of meaningful collaboration and problem-solving as students produce food for the school lunch program.

Janet Key, Lowell Elementary School, Milwaukee, a $2,000 Learning & Leadership Grant. Key will attend the International Baccalaureate’s workshop “Science Discoveries: Exciting Ways to Weave Science into the Program of Inquiry,” where she will learn how to integrate modern technology and the latest scientific discoveries into her inquiry-based science program. Upon returning to her classroom, she will use strategies learned to immerse her students in the dynamic process of inquiry. The work will allow 21st Century learners to develop the attitudes and skills they need to explore the world around them and to solve new problems as they evolve.

Traci Kramer, Princeton School District, $5,000 Student Achievement Grant. Kramer and Mrs. Berndt will create a maker space studio that will act as a creative space that promotes innovation, learning, community engagement, and workforce development. Students and educators will use the space to teach, mentor, and inspire the next generation of creators and innovators. Students will hone their critical thinking and problem solving skills through inquiry, project-based learning, and self-reflection by using the studio alongside professionals in the community.

The NEA Foundation, a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students, announced that it is awarding 72 grants to public school educators across 31 states for a total of $261,000.

A team of 15 educators, many former grantees, carefully reviewed hundreds of applications and evaluated each one against a set of criteria. Funded educator grants were selected for the quality of the grant proposal ideas and their potential for enhancing educator leadership and student achievement.

Since 2012, the NEA Foundation has awarded more than $2.4 million in grants reaching more than 35,000 educators and 512,000 students in 49 states. Each year, the Foundation awards approximately 120 Student Achievement and Learning and Leadership Grants.

The NEA Foundation awards its grants to educators three times a year: June 1, October 15, and February 1. Application forms and step-by-step instructions on how to apply can be found in the Grants to Educators section of the NEA Foundation website.


The NEA Foundation is a public charity founded by educators for educators to improve public education for all students. Since its beginning in 1969, the Foundation has served as a laboratory of learning, offering funding and other resources to public school educators, their schools, and districts to solve complex teaching and learning challenges. The Foundation believes that when educators unleash their own power, ideas, and voices, communities, schools, and students all benefit. Visit for more information.

Two WEAC members named UW-Oshkosh Adjuncts of the Year

Jason Walter

Bruce Moriarty

Fond du Lac High School social studies teacher Jason Walter – a member of WEAC Region 5 – and Neenah High School teacher Bruce Moriarty – a member of WEAC Region 3 – have been named 2018 Adjuncts of the Year by the Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

CAPP is a nationally accredited, concurrent enrollment program. Through CAPP, UW Oshkosh courses are taught by university approved adjunct-teachers in high schools around the state, thus providing students access to college credits, at a reduced cost in their own schools. CAPP is the oldest and largest program in Wisconsin offering courses from Art to Sciences, English, Communication Studies, World Languages, Business, Education, Mathematics, among many others. CAPP provides professional development opportunities for adjunct-instructors as well as pathways toward completion of the necessary requirements to become a CAPP adjunct.

In all, six educators were named CAPP Adjuncts of the Year. They are:

  • Jacqueline Hendrickson, Art – Algoma High School
  • Bruce Moriarty, Mathematics –  Neenah High School
  • Sharon Oestreich, Spanish – Menasha High School
  • Janet Rowe, Spanish – Hortonville High School
  • Jason Walter, Criminal Justice –  Fond du Lac High School
  • Edward Wyrembeck, Physics –  Howards Grove High School

The winners were all nominated by their UW Oshkosh Faculty-Liaisons based on excellence in:

  • Academic-content area expertise
  • Professional interactions with faculty-liaisons and CAPP students
  • Willingness to give of their time freely to impact CAPP students
  • Alignment of high school curriculum with UW Oshkosh curriculum
  • Pedagogical expertise in delivering college level material

Appleton educator Katie Chicquette Adams honored as one of Fox Cities Future 15

Katie Chicquette Adams

Katie Chicquette Adams, a high school at-risk educator in the Appleton Area School District and a member of WEAC Region 3, has been named one the Fox Cities Future 15. The Future 15 were selected by the Pulse Young Professionals Network, a program of the Fox Cities Chamber and the Fox Cities Regional Partnership in collaboration with USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin based on their professional dedication, strong sense of vision for the future of the Fox Cities and personal commitment to philanthropy in the community they call home.

These young professionals are cited for excelling “not only within their respective places of employment but also for giving back to the community in innumerable ways. These professionals shine new light on their diverse fields and positively influence our quality of life in the Fox Cities, an influence that plays an integral role in attracting and retaining talent in the area.”

Katie was asked:  What is your vision for the Fox Cities?  See her answer below:

“Increased empathy and understanding for the least understood and most judged members of our community is the dominant theme of my vision for the future of the Fox Cities. In my view, any measure that seeks to protect, support and understand those who have faced the greatest financial, physical, health-related and emotional difficulties is not only a kindness but a necessity.”

36 WEAC members named Kohl Teacher Fellows for 2018

At least 36 WEAC members have been named Herb Kohl Educational Foundation 2018 Teacher Fellows, educators who have been chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, their ability to motivate others, and their leadership and service within and outside the classroom. Each winner and their school receives an award of $6,000. The WEAC members named as Kohl Teacher Fellows for 2018 are:


  • Susan Bolly-Schlenker, Milwaukee Nicolet High School, Glendale
  • Cheryl Crosby, Milwaukee Transition High School, Milwaukee
  • Sarah Fadness, Milwaukee Milwaukee School of Languages, Milwaukee
  • Katelyn Morici, Waukesha Poplar Creek Elementary School, New Berlin
  • Janelle Osowski, Hartland North Lake Elementary School, North Lake
  • Sarah Ozurumba, Milwaukee ALBA, Milwaukee
  • Jennifer Reinert, Germantown Grantosa Drive Elementary School, Milwaukee
  • Patricia Rian, Milwaukee Wedgewood Park School, Milwaukee
  • Joanna Rizzotto, Milwaukee South Milwaukee High School, South Milwaukee
  • Amber Thornton, Milwaukee King International High School, Milwaukee
  • Rochelle Vlaj, Milwaukee Transition High School, Milwaukee
  • Lisa Wathen, Bayside Nicolet High School, Glendale
  • Karla Zuehlke, Milwaukee IDEAL, Milwaukee


  • Mikaela Hagen, Madison LaFollette High School, Madison
  • Mark Nepper, Madison West High School, Madison


  • Leif Carlson, Richland Center Richland Center High School, Richland Center
  • Judy Felsenthal, Lancaster Platteville Middle School, Platteville
  • Monica Kmak, Dodgeville Dodgeville Elementary School, Dodgeville


  • Laura Koll, Sparta Sparta Meadowview Intermediate, Sparta
  • Mary Sackmann, Sparta Sparta High School, Sparta
  • Heather Stern, La Crosse North Woods International School, La Crosse


  • Jan Imhoff, Baraboo Portage High School, Portage


  • Sam Appleton, Kimberly Little Chute Middle School, Little Chute
  • Robyn Bindrich, Kewaskum Kewaskum Elementary/Middle and Farmington Elementary Schools, Kewaskum


  • Amy Hanson, Brillion Chilton Middle School, Chilton
  • Frank Juarez, Sheboygan Sheboygan North High School, Sheboygan


  • Christine Kadonsky, Wausau West High School, Wausau
  • Joan Tabor, Merrill Merrill Area School, Merrill
  • Shari Wendland, Tomahawk Northwoods Community Elementary School, Harshaw
  • Michael Werdeo, Antigo Antigo High School, Antigo


  • Amy Hanna, Granton Granton High School, Granton
  • Katie Hatlestad, Withee Owen-Withee Elementary School, Owen
  • Beverly Pierson, Eau Claire Memorial High School, Eau Claire


  • Susan Olson-Rosenbush, Spooner Spooner High School, Spooner
  • Michael Wilson, Saint Croix Falls Saint Croix Falls High School, Saint Croix Falls


  • Susan Thurn, Cable Drummond Elementary School, Drummond

In total, 100 educators received fellowships. For the complete list of Educator Fellows, as well as Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Scholarship (students) and Leadership (principals) winners, click here. If you are a WEAC member who won a Kohl Fellowship this year but are not listed above, please contact us to let us know at

Excellence Scholarship recipients have demonstrated excellence in the academic arena and high motivation to achieve, have displayed a broad range of activity and leadership outside the academic setting, and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond. Fellowship recipients are educators who have been chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, their ability to motivate others, and their leadership and service within and outside the classroom. Leadership Award recipients are school principals who are being recognized for setting high standards for instruction, achievement, and character, and creating a climate to best serve students, families, staff, and community. Excellence Scholarship, Fellowship, and Leadership Award recipients are selected by a statewide committee composed of civic leaders, and 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 (CESAs), the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, and the Wisconsin Parents Association.

Initiative Scholarship recipients, chosen by their schools, have demonstrated exceptional initiative in the classroom and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond, but have not yet received other academic-based scholarships. “I think it is significant that Wisconsin’s students, teachers, principals, and schools are recognized for their devotion to education and learning,” said Dr. Chris Cody, WCRIS board president. “Herb Kohl, through his philanthropy on behalf of our educators and students, has provided opportunity and access to a better future for countless Wisconsinites,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers.

The Kohl Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship program was established by Herb Kohl, philanthropist and businessman, in 1990. To date the foundation has awarded $14.5 million to Wisconsin educators, principals, students, and schools. “Education is the key to the future of Wisconsin and our nation. I am very proud of the accomplishments of these students, teachers, and principals and look forward to the great contributions they will make in the future,” Kohl said.

Letters notifying recipients of the award were mailed by the Herb Kohl Foundation on March 16, 2018. Regional recognition luncheons honoring the recipients will be held in a few weeks. Following is the list of recognition luncheon dates and locations, and the list of recipients. Herb Kohl will attend all luncheons and present awards to recipients.

Sun Prairie couple – both WEAC Retired members – honored by Assembly

Pete and Terry Twedell were given the Assembly Hometown Hero Award for their contributions to the community of Sun Prairie and to all the people’s lives they have touched. Photo courtesy of the Sun Prairie Star.

Pete and Terry Twedell – both retired Sun Prairie teachers and both WEAC Region10/Retired members – were honored recently as “Hometown Heroes” by the State Assembly.

According to an article in the Sun Prairie Star, the Twedells were nominated by their State Representative, Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie), for their years of continued commitment to their community.

The Star said Pete Twedell was active in Sun Prairie education and athletics as a math teacher and football and basketball coach, creating a positive environment for students both academically and athletically. Terry Twedell taught elementary school and volunteered her time at numerous organizations that benefit the community.

Together as a couple, the Twedells have contributed their time and talents to bettering their community.

Read the entire article:

Sun Prairie couple honored as Hometown Heroes

Pete Twedell was active in Sun Prairie education and athletics as a math teacher and football and basketball coach, creating a positive environment for students both academically and athletically. Terry Twedell taught elementary school and volunteered her time at numerous organizations that benefit the community.