2021 Finalist Profiles
Meet the 2021 Engaged in Excellence finalists by clicking on the category tabs below!
Who will take home the Golden Apple? Find out May 3 (6pm) when this year's virtual awards show is livestreamed on Elmbrook's YouTube channel!
- Excellence in Teaching - Elementary
- Excellence in Teaching - Middle School
- Excellence in Teaching - High School
- Excellence in Teaching - New Educator
- Excellence in Virtual Teaching (K-8)
- Excellence in Student Services
- Excellence in Service & Support
- Excellence in Teamwork
- Excellence in Leadership
- Excellence in Teaching Support
- Excellence in Virtual Teaching Support
- Excellence in Coaching or Advising
- Excellence in Substitute Teaching
- Excellence in Volunteering
- Alumni Excellence Award
- Excellence in a Community Partnership
Nicole Gillette (Music, Burleigh)
Nicole Gillette is a dedicated Burleigh band teacher! She goes above and beyond to make band a wonderful experience for her students. She has a true passion for working with all students with a positive attitude. Her compassionate manner guiding band students to correct their mistakes is inspiring. She is a true problem solver and has been highly collaborative in the cohort model, delivering content area instruction outside of her music training.
Julie Hardie (2nd Grade, Swanson)
Julie’s classroom is always abuzz with students expanding their knowledge and engaged in learning. Julie creates a safe and welcoming environment that encourages students to reach their full potential. She is a strong communicator and serves as a formal and informal leader in her school. Her peers respect her for her experience, her dedication, and her commitment to serving the students and staff at Swanson Elementary.
Douglas Johnson (Physical Education, Dixon)
Douglas Johnson forms incredible connections with students that transcend the classroom. This year with changes from COVID protocols, he embraced the task of teaching all elementary specials. Douglas continues to build out his positive relationships with students and staff that help shape Dixon’s culture. As his role expanded this year, he has persevered and thrived in and out of the classroom!
Janet Leffler (4th Grade, Tonawanda)
Janet is a fantastic teacher! She has a genuine warmth and positive approach to all she does. Janet exudes stability, even on the most challenging days, her feathers seem unruffled to those around her. Janet has great engagement strategies for her students to assist her students' involvement in their learning. She exudes positivity and grace in all she does and is an asset to the school community!
Jennie Nellis (5th Grade, Brookfield Elementary)
Jennie Nellis’s teaching shows true compassion and care for her students as she advocates tirelessly for them. She has taken on a very diverse group of students with significant needs and challenges, and works very hard to make an inclusive learning environment. Jennie also makes herself available to students’ counselors and therapists and has been a leader in realigning her classroom for special education support. Every school day she puts forth 110%.
Lindsay Bialobrzeski (Math, Wisconsin Hills)
According to one of her student nominations, Ms. Bialobrzeski’s class is the best way to start a day. In addition to inspiring her students to like math and understand key concepts, Lindsay teaches her students how to be better people. Lindsay has been a leader in deploying AVID strategies and modeling successful math workshop practices for others across the District.
Mark Gimla (Social Studies, Wisconsin Hills)
Mark Gimla is a relationship builder who is passionate about social studies and engaging all students. Although Mark transitioned from elementary to WHMS this year, he has already made an impact on his teaching peers as a leader in the implementation of AVID strategies. Mark is thoughtful and reflective, and willing to go the extra mile to make a difference for just one student, and all of his students.
June Sadowski (Special Education, Pilgrim Park)
June Sadowski is a dynamic educator who continuously puts students first. June works collaboratively with both middle school “houses” and has an infectiously positive and kind attitude. This year, she is the sole special education teacher for all in-person eighth grade students at her school. June is the epitome of what a special education teacher should be and is a leader in equity work.
Stacy Stewart (Social Studies, Pilgrim Park)
Stacy Stewart makes learning fun and relatable for students with hands-on activities and engaging lessons. She helps students focus on their skills and incorporates AVID strategies in all of her lessons. Her classroom sets expectations for fellow staff members and she leads in her field.
Kathleen Evans (English, Brookfield Central)
Kathleen Evans is an English teacher at Brookfield Central High School with a great attitude! She adapted and thrived as well as any teacher during this challenging year, not missing a beat transitioning to remote instruction with high quality instruction. She demonstrates a calming presence in her classroom and continues to make learning fun for her students. This year has reinforced what a master teacher Kathleen truly is!
Mia Hot (English, Brookfield East)
Mia Hot is an amazing, one of a kind teacher. She embodies everything Brookfield East stands for, including honesty, respect, and acceptance. She teaches her students to believe in themselves and she sparks their passion in writing and literacy. She is an amazing instructor in some of the most rigorous coursework and all students thrive in this course because of her amazing ability to make every student a better communicator. Reading, writing and deeper thinking occur in her classes at an astounding level. She is a legend.
Jeff Ortman (English, Brookfield East)
He is simply a fantastic teacher. Through his guidance, students have the opportunity to flourish as beautiful writers. His dedication to students leaves a lifelong inspiration for reading, writing poetry and critical thinking. He has the ability to reach all kids through his sense of humor and his style, which all students can connect to and feel confident and competent as a result of his instruction.
Angela Sidebottom (Special Education, Fairview South)
Angela Sidebottom is an outstanding educator who goes above and beyond daily. She pours her heart and soul into everything she does for her students with special needs and leads her classroom team. She will jump in and help in literally any situation and can be counted on for support and compassion at all times. Angela treats her students with kindness and respect, and holds the bar high to ensure their success and readiness for adult life beyond school. Angela has developed positive and supportive relationships with the families of her students as well. She can be seen at any time of day carrying a PODD book to help students communicate their needs, wants and feelings, and has changed student lives by helping to give them a voice.
John Wilkinson (Science, Brookfield Central)
John Wilkinson is a physics teacher at Brookfield Central High School who has thrived in this unique school year. He has leveraged the Canvas and Zoom platforms to provide all of his students with access to engaging curriculum, high-quality instruction, and feedback-rich assessments. He has also devoted much time to professional development with his peers to assist them with these platforms. Students commend him for his engagement, flexibility and extremely positive learning environment. John has done an amazing job delivering a phenomenal teaching experience for students!
Lauren Adams (Math, Pilgrim Park)
With an unprecedented amount of nominations, Lauren Adams is beloved by students, staff, and parents alike. Lauren is a supportive, collaborative teacher, and makes math fun and engaging with lesson plans and instructional strategies that tie into student interests. Under her instruction, her students flourish and feel confident in their mathematical abilities. Lauren is able to make unique connections with her students and finds progressive, innovative ways to engage students in her lessons.
Trenton Coleman (Math, Brookfield Central)
Trenton Coleman is in his fourth year as a Brookfield Central High School math teacher. His ambitious approach to everything he does and the quality with which he does it has laid the foundation for an impactful career as an educator. He operates with a student-first mentality and a growth mindset. Students recognize the extra efforts he puts forth to help them achieve and appreciate the way in which he connects with them. He is on the co-serve team and also coaches basketball. He is a powerful force at BCHS!
Stephanie Docter (Math, Wisconsin Hills)
In her second year of teaching, Stephanie’s influence spread beyond her classroom this year as she worked collaboratively with her peers to deploy new math curriculum. Stephanie makes math accessible to all students and, as one student put it, one explanation from Ms. Docter helps everyone understand even the most challenging math concepts. Her care and compassion for her students is evident both in and out of the classroom and what drives her students’ success.
Nicole Enger (AP Psychology, Brookfield East)
Ms. Enger is an example of excellence. She is optimistic and fair, and she may be the kindest person to walk this planet. She leaves a lasting impact on her students as she teaches them the importance of psychology, and how it’s interwoven into every career, every conversation, and every relationship. She continues to create opportunities for kids to make connections and stretch beyond what they believe is possible, in one of the hardest classes at Brookfield East. The strategies she implements to see her students succeed, both academically and personally, are unmatched. The way she truly, deeply cares about the emotional, physical, & mental well-being of her students & coworkers is truly 1 in a million. She makes the world a better place every single day. Her level of care and concern to do the right thing is so genuine.
Margaret Geertsen (5th Grade, Burleigh)
Margaret Geertsen is a master at establishing a 5th grade Burleigh classroom community like no other! Her classroom is calm, collaborative and respectful. More importantly, students want to be there. In the words of an impressed parent, she improves you as a student and makes school a better place. Her ability to establish relationships has even caught the eye of the Superintendent. She is very collaborative with colleagues and is a positive influence on her grade level team. Her energy is like no other.
Carolyn Schroeder (Third Grade, Swanson)
Carolyn Schroeder is a virtual 3rd grade teacher this year at Swanson Elementary. Her positive and collaborative attitude, combined with her excellent teaching and engaged student learning, causes a colleague to describe her as a breath of fresh air. She holds her students to high standards, while creating a caring and fun environment for learning. Described as a forever-learner, she is on almost every leadership team in order to understand and help shape curriculum decisions. Carolyn has proven she will do whatever is asked of her for the benefit of our students!
Erin Kleber (3rd Grade, Dixon)
Erin Kleber is an outstanding teacher and colleague in her third grade virtual team. She has taken the lead on a new formed virtual grade level PLC, helping to make informed decisions that have a positive impact on students from across all five elementary schools. She is incredibly willing to share resources, strategies, and ideas with colleagues to positive impact students beyond her own classroom. In a district full of shining stars, Erin’s shines particularly bright!
Angela O’Regan (Social Studies, Wisconsin Hills)
Angela’s infectious personality motivates students to learn and meet her high expectations in her virtual social studies classroom. She finds the right balance between fun and learning, and her students are huge supporters of her approach. Angela’s influence extends beyond her classroom, she is a leader in her use of technology and has shared her growth as a virtual teacher with others in the hope that her experiences, both positive and negative, can help others grow in their own way.
Jacob Paul (Family & Consumer Education, Pilgrim Park): Jacob has worked incredibly hard this year to find fun and creative ways to teach Family and Consumer Science concepts and skills to his virtual students this year. His technology skills and flexibility regarding student choice support high student engagement. Additionally, Jacob has flexibly changed his role each quarter as enrollments have changed (he is also teaching Physical Education in Q4) and he has provided countless hours of training and support for his virtual teaching colleagues.
Megan Peterson (Science, Pilgrim Park)
Megan has become a model for excellence in virtual teaching this year, extending her already strong classroom practices to the virtual science classroom. Megan has successfully taken a hands-on content area and made it accessible to her virtual students in ways that are fun, engaging, and include all students in every class. This year, Megan accepted new opportunities this year to lead in planning and facilitating professional development for her peers. She is simply amazing!
Cindy Stemper (First Grade, Swanson)
Cindy Stemper is a virtual first grade teacher who is described as having a radiant passion for her students! She has developed creative ways to engage her students and has established very solid virtual learning routines. Cindy customizes her teaching strategies for students at different learning levels. Her signature warm, smiling face lights up the first graders and cheers up the parents. Without fail, every family absolutely loves her!
Aspen Verink (5th Grade, Burleigh)
Aspen Verink served as a virtual 5th grade teacher this year and has really thrived! Her principals have received more positive feedback about her than any other teacher any other year. Leveraging Zoom in a way that encouraged student interaction and accountability, Aspen motivated her students to do their best every day. Her organized, detailed and clearly communicated plans provided a consistent structure that served as a strong foundation for learning. She worked tirelessly to create such a strong virtual classroom community strong that students did not want to return to in-person learning. Aspen has also been instrumental in helping other virtual teachers be successful.
Jason Grodsky (School Counselor, Wisconsin Hills)
Like so many others this year, Jason’s flexibility has proven invaluable. He is seemingly everywhere each day; substituting, supervising, or intervening with students who need extra support. His student-centered focus never wanes despite his changing job duties, and his enthusiasm for learning encourages others to get excited about learning, regardless of the subject. Jason is highly professional and very approachable, and he takes every opportunity to build relationships and brighten someone’s day.
Greg Groh (School Counselor, Brookfield Central)
Greg Groh is a School Counselor at Brookfield Central High School who consistently demonstrates a genuine interest in the wellbeing of students. He exudes warmth and positivity, often sending students notes of encouragement. He works with families and outside groups to provide students with needed support, and his work helping struggling students with risk assessments is outstanding. Being a School Counselor is well above and beyond performing a job; this is truly Greg’s calling!
Joanna Hallmark (Speech & Language Pathologist, Brookfield Elementary)
Joanna Hallmark is the definition of collaboration. She integrates seamlessly into classrooms with her deep curricular and instructional knowledge alongside the creative and inclusive environment she brings with her. Joanna is the leadership representative for the Special Education team and has been an integral part of leading on executive functioning this year.
Sheila Hamill (Speech & Language Pathologist, Dixon)
Sheila Hamill is a leader within the community, school and in the field of speech pathology. Her warm personality and ability to connect with people provide a calming and safe environment as she works with her team and parents to develop and communicate the goals. During this most challenging year, she took it upon herself to plan weekly activities that helped get our staff through a time of uncertainty and brought laughter and smiles at a time when we needed them the most. She helped lead our school through equity training and helped to develop systems and procedures to support staff in ensuring equity through co-planning and co-serving to meet the needs of all students. She is respected and admired by her peers and the students she supports. She has positively impacted her school, community and the students she works with.
Cindy Lakatos (School Counselor, Pilgrim Park)
Cindy Lakatos is a supportive, understanding and kind counselor, and always makes sure to view situations through the Student Point-of-View. She makes herself extremely responsive to parents and students, and always has an encouraging and positive attitude. This year, Cindy has spearheaded the Words Hurt group which constructs student-planned lessons on diversity and inclusion that teachers then teach.
Lisa Jennaro (Senior HR Specialist / Leave Administrator, District Office)
Lisa has been the Substitute Coordinator for the District for over 15 years but has never seen a year like this one. Lisa is a problem-solver who pieces together a staffing puzzle each day so the District can stay open. She is calm under immense pressure, knows each staff member and substitute by name, and is endlessly resourceful. Lisa is a team player committed to helping our staff deliver a high quality product to our students and community each day.
Lisa Mueller (Health Room Assistant, Burleigh)
Lisa Mueller is a health room assistant at Burleigh Elementary School who has gone above and beyond expectations of her role to support social/emotional student needs. When you read about the difference one caring person can have in a child’s life, Lisa is this person! She has a heart for all students and makes students feel safe. She even goes above and beyond, baking her famous banana bread for students!
Joy Taylor (Receptionist, Brookfield Central)
Joy Taylor is in her second year as front office receptionist at Brookfield Central High School. She makes a great first impression of the school. Her willingness to share expertise and broaden her own is invaluable to the team at BCHS. No matter the job, she rolls up her sleeves and pitches in. BCHS is grateful to have Joy on their administrative team!
Carol Yach (Health Room Assistant, Dixon)
For over 30 years, Carol Yach has provided students with the health room assistance they need to learn at their happiest and healthiest. This school year, COVID protocols have added a number of additional responsibilities in the health room to an already demanding role, and Carol has continued to thrive. She is a cornerstone of her school and her work has helped to keep Dixon safe and healthy.
COVID Tracing Team (District Office;
Kathleen Adams, Kristie Attenberger, Tanya Fredrich, Lisa Jennaro, Leanna Manser, Amie Williams)
Nine months ago this team did not even exist yet it is difficult to imagine how the District could have stayed open this year without the work of this team. This team is responsive, on call 24x7 in order to quickly identify close contacts and limit the spread of the disease. Team members have developed expert skills in communication, offering support to students, families and staff impacted by COVID, sharing difficult and always untimely quarantine news with close contacts, and relaying absence information to ensure continuity of work and learning. This team’s work has been recognized as the gold standard in contact tracing for any organization across the state this year.
Kitchen Crew (Wisconsin Hills;
Dee Abezetian, John Broenen, Brigid Gaggioli, Linda Kosciuk, Robin Martin, Debbra Wojcik)
The Wisconsin Hills Food Service Team has been a model of flexibility and adaptability since the pandemic began last spring. From preparing and distributing boxed lunches, to reimagining food pickup in the cafeteria, to adjusting to new guidelines regarding distancing in the kitchen, this team has done whatever was necessary to serve the students and staff at WHMS. Amazingly, this team even navigated the short-term absence of its kitchen manager by accepting new and additional responsibilities with a positive mindset and skilled staff.
Virtual Leadership Team (Virtual Elementary & Middle Schools;
Brandon Buchmann, Martin Castro, Mekenna Ellis)
In response to feedback collected in September, three leaders were tapped to ensure a high-quality teaching and learning experience for our 2,000 virtual students and 80 virtual staff this year. Mekenna Ellis, Martin Castro, and Brandon Buchmann have since served as mentors, decision makers, advocates, and counselors throughout the year. As a result of their leadership and the work of our virtual teachers and support staff, so many of our virtual students have experienced great success.
Amy Benotch (Teaching and Learning Specialist, Tonawanda)
Amy’s capacity reached new heights this year as she expanded her coaching duties to include the 4th grade virtual team as well as leadership responsibilities for the District Math Leadership team. Amy organized the District’s Virtual Noetic Math Contest for all in-person and virtual learners. Amy’s positive approach is an inspiration to her peers and those with whom she works, impacting instructional practices at Tonawanda and across the District. As one of her peers offered, she is a leader among leaders.
Darcie Fellmeth (Associate Principal, Brookfield East)
Darcie’s work as an Associate Principal is not unlike other AP’s in the District and relies on two truths; you never know what is going to come next, and no two days are alike. Despite the unknowns of the job, Darcie’s leadership this year has been instrumental in both student and staff success at Brookfield East. From substitute teaching, calming staff anxieties, delivering quarantine news to students and families, and daily problem solving, Darcie has reflected her student-focused and positive mindset in all she does and her work has made a difference.
Jill McDonald (Director of Student Services, District Office)
Jill has led a team of talented educators to make sure all 700+ Individualized Education Plan goals and objectives were met for in-person and virtual learners. This has required flexible staffing, strong communication, and a passionate commitment to make sure no student is left behind. Once the service delivery model was deployed, Jill and her team turned their attention to interventions, laser-focused on preventing learning loss and rallying staff and families around every student in the District.
Luke Sadowski (Principal, Dixon)
Luke regularly reminds staff at Dixon that having fun, building relationships with students and each other, and making memories with our students are the most important parts of one’s job. His growth mindset sets the tone for a school that has amazing staff climate and culture perception data each year. Luke is transparent in his decisions, seeks feedback, and operates with the highest integrity. This year he absorbed the departure of his Associate Principal one week before school with grace, relying on his relationships with staff and families to fill the void and deliver a seamless experience for students at Dixon Elementary.
Julie Wessel (Teaching and Learning Specialist, Wisconsin Hills)
Julie Wessel works hard to build relationships with staff so that she can offer critical feedback and suggestions on high impact instructional strategies in a safe and supportive way. In addition to peer coaching and her ‘other’ pandemic duties such as recess supervisor, Julie is often the key communicator with families regarding math placements and even filled in as school administrator for several days this winter. This year, Julie has extended her influence by training Swanson staff on the use of Advantage Math Recovery (AVMR) in supporting all students’ math needs.
Sara Field (Library Assistant, Brookfield Elementary)
Sara Field has transformed the Brookfield Elementary Library into one of the most inclusive and seamlessly-operating settings in the District. Sara looks for ways to continuously support all virtual and in-person students, and works to support all Library Leads in the District which impacts every student. Brookfield Elementary consistently tops the list of print and digital book circulations thanks to Sara’s work, and she is also involved in Battle of the Books and District Author Visits.
Amy Glisczinski (Library Assistant, Swanson)
Amy’s work is recognized in small and big ways. She is just as thoughtful about how to create a sanctuary for students who need a break from their classroom as she is about ways to support Elmbrook’s Teacher cohort pursuing their reading licensure. She carefully procures books for her checkout carts, creates engaging library videos for virtual and in-person students alike, and still finds time to supervise recess. Her work this year has been nothing short of amazing.
Megan Laughlin (Teaching Assistant, Tonawanda)
Megan has done a great job taking on a very challenging role. She is someone who works extremely hard and keeps a positive attitude each day. She deals with some tremendously challenging situations and handles it with grace. She never gives up on kids. Her energy and positivity are contagious. Her commitment and dedication to her position is outstanding. She has helped navigate some incredible challenges this year and consistently works with others to creatively and flexibly meet student needs. She is invested in kids and she truly deeply cares.
Jennifer Sabinash (Special Education Assistant, Burleigh): Jennifer Sabinash has been an Early Childhood special education assistant at Burleigh Elementary for 15 years! Described as superhero, mind reader, coach, and mentor by her colleagues, she is extremely dedicated and gives 100% every day. She is not afraid to take on any duties asked of her and is always willing to learn new instructional strategies - all with a positive attitude. All this and adored by 3-5 year olds!
Lori George (Teaching Assistant, Swanson)
Lori George is the type of teaching assistant that makes a classroom not only function well, but also makes every student feel seen and loved. Lori has gone above and beyond in supporting the virtual kindergarten program at Swanson this year. She has worked tirelessly to not only increase her technology skills but to spend quality time in academic small groups with kids and has been an invaluable support assisting in large group lessons. She has also been heavily involved in co-planning for our students. The students love the time that Lori spends with them during small group informal virtual playdates. The academic and social support she provides to the students is amazing!
Anusha Mathavaraj Ganesan (Learning Support, Tonawanda)
As a Teaching Assistant, Anusha took on the challenge of providing our strongest 5th grade math learners an accelerated 6th grade math experience! With the complex structure of our virtual academy, Anusha stepped in to teach students from five different schools. This required a great deal of coordination and communication among the various teachers, a solid understanding of middle school math standards, learning a new math resource/digital platform, and much teacher responsiveness to ensure students were challenged and supported. Her commitment to these students is exceptional. Anusha is positive, solution-focused, and an asset to our school community.
Mary Townsend (Teaching Assistant, Pilgrim Park)
As a Special Education Assistant working with virtual students, Mary understands the importance and value of reaching one student at a time. She is persistent, holds her students to high expectations, and relentlessly strives for building independence. Mary’s commitment to the success of all students is powerful, and her ability to connect with students about their individual learning needs is extraordinary.
Andrew Mueller (Wrestling, Brookfield East)
In a very short time, Andrew has built a wrestling team that consistently performs at a high level. He focuses on team building, staying mentally & physically strong and learning that even in adversity they can make the best of it and persevere. Andrew is an advocate for, and passionate about inclusion. Every kid feels at home in his wrestling program, as he provides a level of comfort, and encouragement for kids to give it their best, and they perform beyond what they thought they were capable of because of the support Andrew provides.
Dan Pronley (Theatre, Brookfield Central)
Dan Pronley serves as a Brookfield Central High School theatrical advisor. He has transformed the Black Box Theater into a home for many students. He has a natural ability to get behind any project at hand, and that has included summer theater, music and athletic programs, honors night and graduation at both high schools. His enthusiasm, creativity and resourcefulness are an inspiration to all who have the privilege of working with him. The Elmbrook community has greatly benefited from such a dedicated, creative and nimble employee!
Mike Rose (Swimming & Diving, Brookfield East)
Mike Rose has won East’s first two girls swimming state championships consecutively during the last two years. His work has built an incredible program that empowers his athletes to become extraordinary swimmers, some even being nationally recognized and recruited. Mike was also named the National Federation of State High School Association's State Girls Swimming Coach of the Year for Wisconsin and the Central Section. Following those accolades, Mike advanced to become the National Girls Swimming Coach of the Year!
Ed Wang (Science Bowl Advisor, Wisconsin Hills)
Ed Wang is the advisor and coach to Wisconsin Hills’ Science Bowl team. For the 2nd year in a row, this team has won the regional competition and advanced to the National Science Bowl! Ed’s guidance has inspired students to explore advanced math and science concepts, while having fun and working as a team. We are grateful to Ed and all of our parent volunteers who have supported in-person and virtual clubs and activities this year.
Brianna Kesler (Tonawanda)
Brianna is a quintessential substitute - flexible, adaptive, and willing to do anything the school needs to bridge the educational divide for kids. Through her connections with kids, she is able to form unique and wonderful relationships that benefit both the school culture and the academics of students. She can pick up the pieces in any classroom environment she’s placed in.
Christine Schnabl (Swanson)
Christine has been a lifesaver this year. She has served in nearly every role in the building and with any downtime she has during the day, she volunteers to help in the library shelving books, jumps into a classroom as a special education assistant, or guides students during dismissal. Her presence, and her consistent quality of work, gives staff peace of mind wherever she is serving that particular day. Christine is a difference-maker at Swanson!
Joanne Wacker (Brookfield Elementary)
Joanne Wacker is more than a substitute teacher, she is a part of the school’s culture. Students cheer when they find out that she will be their substitute because of her reliable, helpful, positive, festive, and enthusiastic attitude. She is a vital part of the school that can jump in anywhere and pick up the pieces. Joanne can teach any subject matter and always does it with a smile on her face.
Shamuara Ward (Dixon)
We have found an incredible gem of a teacher in Shamura! She goes above and beyond to support students and staff. She has the capacity to teach all grades and all subjects, she is amazing. She faces each day with a smile and an incredibly positive attitude. She is an asset to our school and is highly regarded by our entire teaching staff. She has become one of the most sought after substitutes at Dixon. Her ability to come into a classroom at the last minute and provide a positive experience for every student is not often common with substitute teachers but it is second nature for Ms. Ward. She has made some strong connections and built relationships with students that needed additional support. She is truly a rock star educator and she has a heart of gold.
Ed Wucker (Brookfield Central)
Ed Wucker is an absolute delight of a substitute teacher at Brookfield Central High School! Despite the challenges of this school year, he has been a strong and steady presence all year. This includes fulfilling a regular supervisor role in classrooms with virtual teachers, accepting last minute openings, and serving as a long-term substitute in an English classroom Ed’s can-do attitude and positive spirit are contagious not only for students but for staff as well. BCHS feels beyond fortunate to have him as part of the BC family!
The Medical Advisory Board consists of 7 members including school board members and medical professionals in the areas of Infectious Disease, Pediatrics, Public Health, and COVID Response. Since August, the Advisory Board has met weekly to discuss local and regional data, current research, and emerging science in order to provide weekly recommendations to Board Leadership and the Superintendent on COVID safety, protocols and thresholds.
The District is thankful for the volunteer work and commitment of these individuals, who have made significant contributions to the District's ability to mitigate risk and support a safe learning environment for our in-person students and staff this year.
Dr. Mushir Hassan
Dr. Glen Allgaier
Dr. Michelle Mitchell
Dr. Zouyan Lu
Dr. Heather Paradis
Dr. Andrew Olaffson
Dr. Mustafa Hussein
The recipients of the 2021 Alumni Excellence Awards will be:
Brookfield East Class of 1979
Jill Kokta has been a dedicated Elmbrook employee for 43 years whose Elmbrook journey began in Kindergarten at Brookside Elementary. Kokta is the Senior Communications Coordinator whose legacy includes the new District logo, tagline, and website rebrand among numerous award-winning collateral projects. Jill will be retiring this year after 6 decades with the District. Click here to read the full alumni spotlight profile on Jill.
Brookfield Central Class of 1981
Lori Golomski has been a dedicated Elmbrook employee for 40 years whose Elmbrook journey began at Swanson Elementary. Golomski is the District's Benefits Coordinator and has impacted thousands of staff and retiree lives, and saved the District millions of dollars in healthcare costs as a result of her compassionate work. Lori will be retiring this year after 5 decades with the District. Click here to read the full alumni spotlight profile on Lori.
Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin
With the pandemic disrupting all normal and traditional blood drive collection operations, Versiti reached out to District officials to determine interest in partnering to meet the critical blood supply needs in our Community. 14 blood drives later, over 500 units of blood have been collected supporting the needs of nearly 1,500 patients in the region. The success of this partnership relies on the professional and competent approach of Versiti staff, as well as the efforts of District Communications and Facilities staff members to promote and service the needs of each event. This combined effort, along with the generosity of our staff member and community donors, has developed a sustainable approach that will meet the needs of patients in the months and years to come.
While District Staff were formulating plans and protocols to vaccinate staff beginning in January, a phone call from a District parent, Bushra Zaibak, changed the trajectory of the District’s vaccination schedule. With access to the COVID vaccine and the resources to vaccinate thousands in the Greater Milwaukee area, Hayat Pharmacy’s flexibility and responsiveness supported several opportunities for staff vaccinations. Hayat has been flexible and professional in its approach, whether serving one staff member or 400, and continues to find new and additional ways to serve the Elmbrook Schools community. We are grateful for providing such an invaluable service to our staff members, helping us to stabilize school operations and provide health protections and emotional comfort to our staff and families.
Brookfield Elm Grove Interfaith Network (BEGIN) and the Waukesha Food Pantry
In early December the School District and BEGIN representatives identified a growing number of families in our community suffering from food insecurity. With the holidays quickly approaching, a quick partnership was formed with the Waukesha Food Pantry to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and other food supplies to over 150 families in the community before winter break. Additionally, the District’s Food Service Team packaged breakfast and lunches for families with children, and an impromptu clothing drive collected and distributed over 200 items. Knowing that food insecurity is not a temporary challenge, BEGIN and the Food Pantry made a commitment to serving the needs of our families twice each month as we seek to develop more permanent solutions to support our community’s growing need. Thank you to Kathryn Wilson & Kris Androsky from BEGIN, and Karen Tredwell from the Waukesha Food Pantry, as well as Elmbrook’s Food Service Director Cheryl Peil, for your leadership and service to our families and our community.