Alumni

With Pride and Gratitude

The School District of Elmbrook is proud of its Brookfield Central and Brookfield East graduates! For over 50 years our students have made a significant and lasting impact on their local, state, national and international communities. From a Pulitzer Prize winner, to state legislators, business owners, and professional athletes, our graduates are prepared to succeed in whatever they choose to pursue beyond high school. 

Connecting with our alumni is an important strategy to measure our long-term impact on our students. We are grateful to the alumni who responded to the 2013 survey and look forward to seeking input from others in the years ahead. To stay informed of reunions and general alumni information, follow us on Facebook.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Dr. Robert O. Marold

    Posted January 6, 2017

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    Brookfield Central Class of 1968

    Dr. Robert Marold’s impact has transcended from his time at Brookfield Central to his work improving the lives of countless animals for the past 38 years.

    During his time at Central, Bob Marold participated in track and field, Lancer football, Letterman’s Club, and was the first Swim Captain on Brookfield Central’s first ever Swim Team. “The basic sciences and math were very good at Elmbrook,” said Marold on the two subjects that would later drive his career. In 1968, Bob graduated from Elmbrook and continued his education at the University of Wisconsin. He studied at Madison for three years before transferring to Kansas State where he would receive his Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees.

    Following college graduation, Bob returned to Milwaukee to join his father’s veterinary practice at the State Street Dog and Cat Hospital, where he worked for five years. During this time, he also worked as a consultant for the Milwaukee County Zoo, where he acquired an interest in exotic animal medicine and he went on to specialize in birds and exotic animals for awhile. Then in 1983, he transitioned from his family’s practice to the Elmbrook Veterinary Clinic where he works today. “When I’m able to help an animal back to a normal life, it’s truly what drives my work and it’s the most rewarding aspect of what I do,” he stated.

    Dr. Marold currently lives in Brookfield with his wife and has two stepchildren and four grandchildren. For the past two, going on three years, Bob has given back to his school district by generously volunteering his time helping to run off-season workouts in the Brookfield Central Baseball Program.

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn. To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Hasan Nadeem

    Posted December 16, 2016

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    Brookfield Central Class of 2012

    2012 Brookfield Central grad, Hasan Nadeem is a leader on the University of Wisconsin campus, serving as president of ‘We’re Better Than That’, an organization dedicated to encouraging men to take part in speaking against gender-based violence and sexual assault.

    Hasan’s Elmbrook career traveled from Hillside Elementary and Wisconsin Hills to Brookfield Central, where he became very involved in school events that influenced his college experience. Taking part in Varsity Tennis, NHS, Key Club, Jazz Band, Tyro, and Science Olympiad, Nadeem was constantly pushing for excellence in academia and his co-curricular activities. “I really appreciate the opportunities that Elmbrook gave me to take challenging classes in various subject areas,” said Nadeem. “It was certainly a challenging experience, but nonetheless, the rewards validated the work and effort.”

    Nadeem continued on to the University of Wisconsin, where he graduated in May of 2016 with a degree in Biology and Economics. During his junior year at UW, Nadeem and his roommates formed the organization ‘We’re Better Than That- Men Against Sexual Assault’ after struggling with seeing how some of the women in their community were being treated. The group originated with fraternity members and athletes coming together in the cause and later grew to include female members and other peers around campus. Today the organization consists of over 100 members and has gained the attention of the greater Madison and Milwaukee communities.

    Since its formation, ‘We’re Better Than That’ has benefitted from a number of community donations, scholarships, and grants from UW. The group spends a great deal of time putting together content to spread awareness and educate the public. A few valuable techniques the organization utilizes are peer-to-peer discussions and bystander intervention trainings with fellow organizations and the general campus community, as well as heavily-educating incoming students in order to increase future awareness and subsequently decrease future assaults. “Now, given our strong base,” says Hasan, “our goal is to expand the reach of our organization to other institutions while simultaneously increasing our exposure and involvement at UW.”

    Nadeem illustrates that bystander intervention is an important tool, but at the end of the day, the change has to come from the culture and institutions that reinforce unacceptable behaviors. He hopes that more people will realize that the issue pertains to everyone and that more individuals will be willing to have conversations about the issue of sexual assault, how to prevent it, and its foundation in gender inequality.

    While Hasan is currently taking classes in preparation for applying to MD-PhD programs this coming summer, he will never forget those that helped set him on course in his academic career. “At Elmbrook, I learned the most content from passionate teachers,” he stated. “I’d especially like to recognize Senora Aslakson (Spanish), Mrs. Jakubowski (Hillside Elementary), and Mr. Perez (AP Literature) for their knowledge and guidance. Every teacher I had left a lasting impression on me, and I’ve carried those lessons and experiences with me in ever facet of life beyond Elmbrook.”

    Learn more about ‘We’re Better Than That- Men Against Sexual Assault’, its efforts in UW and the Greater Madison Communities, and see how you can get involved at https://win.wisc.edu/organization/wbttmasa.

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn. To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Ben Farley

    Posted December 1, 2016

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    Brookfield East Class of 2003

    As the head coach behind this year’s state champion Spartan football team, Brookfield East grad, Ben Farley, has been honored to give back to the district and community that raised him.

    Farley began his lifelong journey in education at Dixon Elementary before moving on to Pilgrim Park Middle School and ultimately becoming a Brookfield East Spartan. “I received a really great education,” stated Farley. “Each level of my Elmbrook education prepared me for the next and ultimately for the post-secondary level. I’m incredibly thankful for all the individuals, educators, and coaches that have come into my life as a result of the district.” During his time as a Spartan, Farley was involved in a number of activities including football, basketball, baseball, and the National Honor Society.

    Following his East graduation, Ben continued on to the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater where he received his Bachelor’s (2007) and Master’s (2008) of the Arts in Business Administration. Over the years following, Farley was able to put his studies to practice as a program coordinator for Froedtert Hospital & The Medical College of Wisconsin.

    His passion for helping kids drove him to earn a Master of Science degree in School Counseling from Concordia University in 2014; after earning his third degree, Farley practiced as a school counselor for Menomonee Falls High School. In 2016, Farley married his girlfriend, Lisa, and returned to Elmbrook as the district’s Training and Development Coordinator. During this same time, Farley began as the head coach for the Spartan football team. His leadership helped to take the team to a Division 2 State victory for the first time in school history with a 12-2 overall season. Ben was recently named the All-Freeman Football Coach of the Year by the Waukesha Freeman. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to coach this team,” said Farley. “This has been a truly special year as a coach and the team has made a profound impact on my life.”

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn.

    To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Jay Varkey, MD

    Posted November 10, 2016

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    Brookfield Central Class of 1994

    Dr. Jay B. Varkey, M.D. is one of the leading minds in the medical field of infectious diseases and was one of the doctors on the frontline during the 2015 U.S. Ebola outbreak.

    While attending Central, Varkey was involved in a number of clubs and athletic activities. He played tennis for the Lancers and was involved in shaping the course of Central and positively influencing his fellow students through Student and Class Councils, NHS, Principal’s Cabinet, Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), and the Elmbrook Youth Leadership Council (EYLC). His passion for making a difference in his community and impacting his peers through his involvement at Central drove him to pursue a career where he could continue to help others.

    After graduating from Central, Varkey continued on to Marquette University to earn his Bachelor’s degree in 1998, followed by his graduate degree from Milwaukee’s Medical College of Wisconsin in 2002. Varkey did both his residency and fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC and he began practicing medicine in 2005. Varkey has two certifications from the American Board of Medical Specialities in both internal medicine (2005) and infectious diseases (2009). He received the Department of Medicine Quality Achievement Award in 2012 from the Emory University School of Medicine.

    In 2015, Varkey was a key player in treatment during the U.S. Ebola outbreak, having treated multiple patients at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. During the outbreak, Varkey and his team treated Kent Brantley, an American doctor who contracted ebola while treating patients in Africa. “We are going above and beyond what is necessary to contain this virus,” said Varkey during the treatment of Brantley, who later survived the virus.

    On January 14, 2016, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak over, however, it came to be the deadliest ebola outbreak of all time. In light of the news of the virus’s end, Varkey and his team urge everyone to be vigilant of flare-ups in the future.

    Jay currently works at Emory University School of Medicine as an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases. His passion for helping others and positively influencing his peers has taken him from Brookfield to a global level where he is making an impact and saving lives.

    To learn more about infectious diseases and keep up with Jay, you can follow him on twitter @jaybvarkey.

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn.

    To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Michael Aprahamian

    Posted November 3, 2016

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    Brookfield East Class of 1985

    The Honorable Michael Aprahamian is a 1985 Brookfield East graduate, Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge (Branch 9), and current President of Vision Forward.

    During Aprahamian’s time at East, he was involved in Spartan football and wrestling, highlighted by a 1984 conference football championship during his senior season. Following graduation from East, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison with his high school sweetheart, Michelle Wenzel. “My Elmbrook experience prepared me well for higher education,” stated Aprahamian. “I had engaging teachers that really cared about me, and the rigor and high standards helped to prep me for law school later in life.”

    In 1989, he graduated from UW with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. Shortly after graduation, he and Michelle married before continuing his education at Connecticut's Yale University Law School. Mike graduated in 1992 with a Juris Doctorate in Law and clerked for a judge before joining the Milwaukee law firm of Foley & Lardner in 1993.

    In 1994, Mike’s close-family ties to blindness led him to join the board at Milwaukee’s Center for Blind & Visually Impaired Children in order to give back to his community. In early 2010, Aprahamian was instrumental in the merger of the Center for Blind & Visually Impaired Children and the Badger Association of the Blind & Visually Impaired. The two organizations formed Vision Forward Association of Wisconsin, where he is currently President of the Board of Directors. Vision Forward is an organization that helps visually impaired individuals of all ages achieve important developmental milestones and reach their personal, educational, and professional goals.

    Mike practiced law with Foley & Lardner for 20 years. In October 2014, he was appointed as a judge of the Waukesha County Circuit Court by Governor Scott Walker where he currently serves in the criminal division. “What I enjoy most about my judicial position is positively influencing those that come before me,” said Aprahamian. “Everybody makes mistakes and I believe in practicing restorative justice. I try to apply the law in a way that helps give people a second chance.”

    Today, Mike and Michelle have two sons and a daughter together who have all graduated from Elmbrook. He loves going back to visit Brookfield East and is appreciative of the lasting friendships and rigorous work ethic that was instilled in him through his Elmbrook education.

    To learn more about Vision Forward Association, visit it’s website at vision-forward.org.

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn.

    To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Alexandra Wehrley

    Posted October 28, 2016

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    Brookfield East Class of 2005

    Alexandra Wehrley is a leader in the world of female empowerment, as well as an experienced talk show host and 2009’s Miss Wisconsin USA.

    Beginning her modeling career at nine years old, Alex Wehrley worked on photo shoots for Kohl’s Department Store, as well as taking part in competitive dancing. Several years later during her time at Brookfield East, she was involved in the Spartanettes dance team and women’s chamber choir, where she was able to continue to hone her stage presence and performance skills.

    In 2005, Wehrley graduated from East and continued on to the University of Wisconsin where she earned her Bachelor’s in Communication Arts in 2009. She began her television career in 2008 as a college intern at NBC 15 in Madison where she gained anchoring experience. Her career got a jumpstart in 2009 when she was named Miss Wisconsin USA and competed in the Live Miss USA pageant.

    “I am so grateful for pageants, they often get a bad rap because all that people see is what is on the telecast,” said Wehrley. “Leading up to a pageant is a long period of really coming to an understanding of who you are and what you believe in and it can take a great deal of mental focus and communication confidence. It’s an incredibly empowering experience.”

    As well as hosting several morning news shows, she has hosted multiple entertainment news shows, such as the nationally-syndicated morning show Eye Opener, E! News Now, Oklahoma LIVE, and even the 2014 CMA Awards Red Carpet Pre-Show. Alex landed her first big screen gig as a reporter in William H. Macy’s film Rudderless.

    In 2014, Wehrley founded #Empowerista, an online movement and program that seeks to empower young women through mentorship and celebration of individuality. Wehrley describes the movement as a “tribe of bold, ambitious women building each other up.”

    Alex returned to the pageant world in 2015 to co-host the Miss USA Pageant. Her work and mission to empower women has been brought from her Elm Grove roots to a global scale in strides to make the world a better, more driven place.

    To learn more about Alex and her #Empowerista movement, visit her website at www.alexwehrley.com.

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn.

    To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Ayad Akhtar

    Posted October 21, 2016

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    Brookfield Central Class of 1988

    1988 Brookfield Central graduate and playwright, Ayad Akhtar has written, staged, and acted in plays all over the world, starred in the HBO film Too Big To Fail, and has even received a Tony Award nomination for his theatrical work.

    During his time at Central, Akhtar’s passion for becoming a writer was sparked by his World Literature teacher. "She gave me a passion for European modernism, the Existentialists. I wanted to write as a universal writer," said Akhtar. After his graduation from Elmbrook, Akhtar attended Brown University in Rhode Island where he majored in theatre. He later moved to Italy to study acting with Polish innovative theatre director and theorist, Jerzy Grotowski, to whom he later became an assistant.

    After returning to the United States, Akhtar taught classes in acting and eventually received his MFA in film directing from Columbia University School of the Arts. After several projects in different artistic mediums, Akhtar published his first novel, entitled American Dervish in 2012. His novel marked the beginning of a seven-work cycle Akhtar is penning on the Muslim-American experience- the works will include a total of three plays, three novels, and one film.

    Recently, Ayad began a four-year relationship with the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre to stage four plays over that time. Ayad’s play The Invisible Hand ran in early 2016 and was the first of the four plays for Milwaukee, as well as one of the plays featured in his seven-work cycle. The Invisible Hand is a fierce, deceptive play set in Pakistan that takes a look at religion and global free market conflict that arises from the corruption of self-interest. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel praised Akhtar saying, “[he] challenges us to question the assumptions with which we approach the world and those in it.”

    In 2013, Akhtar’s play Disgraced won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award nomination for its. Ayad’s plays have been performed from Broadway to St. Louis, and deal in the areas of the American-Muslim experience, culture, love, and economics. His career proves not only the power of art, determination and following your passions, but also the influence educators can have on helping to spark those passions.

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn.

    To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Jessica Tighe

    Posted October 11, 2016

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    Brookfield East Class of 1999

    After several years abroad, Jessica Tighe (East ‘99) was given the rare opportunity to come home to Milwaukee and share the news with her hometown each morning.

    Along with being a Brookfield East grad, Tighe is one of the morning news anchors for Milwaukee’s CBS 58! A career that began at East her senior year when she would read the televised school announcements. “I remember being incredibly nervous the first time I read the announcements, my legs were shaking under the desk. Needless to say, my legs don’t shake anymore,” joked Tighe. While at East, she was also actively involved in the yearbook and the Spartan Banner, including a year as Editor-In-Chief when she became the first to add color to the paper’s cover.

    Following her graduation from East, she attended Indiana University to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a second concentration in Spanish. The day after graduation, Tighe left for West Virginia to work as a reporter, and after a few months, she was promoted to an anchor spot! After a year away, Tighe took a reporting job in La Crosse, WI that turned into a Weekend Anchor position.

    Her next goal was to anchor five days a week, and after a couple years Jessica did just that when she accepted a morning anchor position for KWQC TV-6 in the Quad Cities, covering eastern Iowa and western Illinois. During her six years in the Quad Cities, she turned from a ‘night owl’ to a ‘morning person’, waking up in the middle of the night to bring the viewers breaking news from while they were asleep.

    In January 2013, Jessica got a call that would make her dreams come true- she was offered the morning anchor position at Milwaukee’s CBS 58 News. “It’s rare in this business to work in your hometown,” said Tighe. “It’s where my passion for journalism first flourished and I love the culture here.”

    There’s never a typical morning in news and that is part of what Tighe loves so much about her job. Through all her travels, she hasn’t forgotten where her love for journalism first manifested. “Elmbrook has high standards with challenging courses,” Tighe reflected. “My education in Elmbrook provided the foundation for what I’m doing now- from my honors English classes to my time spent on the school newspaper, I was able to realize that I wanted to get into journalism.”

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumi follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn.

    To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Kersti Niebruegge

    Posted September 30, 2016

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    Brookfield Central High School Class of 2000

    Kersti Niebruegge (Central ‘00) is an author and comedy writer whose Wisconsin roots have allowed her to create a fictional world all her own.

    During Kersti’s time at Brookfield Central, she was involved in a number of school plays and acted as an editor for both the school paper and yearbook. “I appreciate the diverse clubs and activities I was able to join in high school,” reflected Niebruegge. “My elementary school even had a drama club which was fantastic!”

    Niebruegge continued her education at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where she earned a degree in journalism. A couple years later, she studied comedy writing at Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center in New York City before working for Conan and Late Night with Seth Meyers where she conducted footage research and clip clearances.

    In late 2014, Niebruegge published her first novel, entitled Mistake, Wisconsin. The story was inspired by Niebruegge’s own perspective-shift after moving away from Wisconsin, and the book calls out the eccentricities of the state’s culture in a loving manner. “As a comedy writer, I like creating quirky, idiosyncratic worlds that are unique to specific settings,” said Niebruegge. “Revising is the best part of writing because that’s when I can make the story better. I love it when I get to the point where I’m punching up jokes because that means I’m almost finished.”

    The very next year Kersti released her second novel, The Zonderling, which drew from her experience of moving to New York City. “The stories exist within the same universe,” she stated, “none of my novels are directly related but I like the idea of a universe where goofy little towns and fictional companies carry over from one book to the next.”

    Ms. Niebruegge’s books The Zonderling and Mistake, Wisconsin are available in paperback and for Kindle at Amazon.com or on her website at www.kerstiniebruegge.com.

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alum, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn. To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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  • Alumni Spotlight - Anthony Jesmok

    Posted September 23, 2016

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    Brookfield East Class of 2012

    From Brookfield to Google to Harvard, Anthony Jesmok has been incredibly busy in the world of technology even before his college career began.

    Anthony is a 2012 graduate of Brookfield East whose passions for exploring new, innovative technologies and expanding leadership skills were solidified within his Computer Science and Business Education courses at Elmbrook. “I appreciate the opportunities my Elmbrook instructors gave me to go beyond the classroom, take on independent study projects, and receive one-on-one mentorship from teachers in school who had my best interests in mind,” reflected Jesmok. During his time at East, he was the President of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) where he became a national award winner in Web Design, as well as a member of the Spartan Banner and Mock Trial.

    Following graduation, Jesmok continued his education at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Information Science and Technology. During his time at UW-M, Anthony was involved in numerous activities and projects. He helped to begin the UWM App Brewery, a non-profit group of the University where students and full-time professionals work together to create mobile applications for non-profit organizations, researchers at area universities, and university groups and causes.

    In the summer of 2014, Anthony was selected to become a Student Ambassador for Google. “On campus, I held wildly successful recruitment sessions, helped facilitate connections between Google and campus groups, and participated in internal research projects.” As part of the program, Jesmok was able to visit the company’s headquarters in California for a deeper take on the company’s culture and environment.

    The next summer, Anthony began an internship at Misix marketing agency where he quickly became the full-time staff member he is today. He has been involved in projects involving large corporate clients and research in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and additional emerging technologies. Soon after beginning his internship, he graduated from UW-Milwaukee in December 2015.

    Jesmok has been involved in contributing to multiple scholarly articles on the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education) skills in today’s society. He spoke to the importance of STEM programs in education for today’s youth saying, “STEM skills are important today as our society becomes more driven by technology and trends quickly shift. These skills need to begin at a young age, we need people in the workforce with the analytical skills and mindset needed to develop new solutions and ensure that future generations will have the same learning opportunity.”

    Jesmok is currently enrolled at the Harvard University Extension School with a focus in Software Engineering and an expected graduation in 2018.

    For more alumni stories, district updates, and to connect with fellow alumni, follow Elmbrook Schools on LinkedIn. To recommend an alum for our series, please click here.

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