Friday, May 15, 2020

This is a week for celebrations!

Lifetime Achievement Award: The Waukesha Education Foundation, Inc. (WEF) is pleased to announce the 2020 Sally Jo Michalko Lifetime Excellence in Education Award recipient is Superintendent Todd W. Gray. Dr. Gray is being honored for his twelve years of service to the School District of Waukesha as Superintendent and for his support of the Waukesha Education Foundation. He will be retiring in July.  To quote his nominator, “Dr. Gray has done an outstanding job as Superintendent of the School District of Waukesha for the past 12 years. When Dr. Gray assumed the role, the school district, like many school districts across the state, were facing challenging financial and funding issues. Todd used his background in finance to develop a solid foundation for the future financial stability of the district. He used his expertise to help the school district earn an impressive AA (Standard and Poors) bond rating.” Also, Todd and his team were instrumental in developing a plan focused on building improvements. Once the plan was developed, he and his staff educated the community on the plan, which led to the successful passage of the referendum in 2018 with 66% approval from the community. Todd has been instrumental in establishing a curriculum providing students with the tools and experiences required to prepare them to be successful in their career paths after graduation. He was very forward thinking when developing and implementing the programs so today’s students will develop the skills needed to be successful in tomorrow’s workplace. One of the major initiatives that Todd suggested–and which has become very popular among all staff–is the “Casual for a Cause” Campaign. With this fall program, staff members can pay $5 to wear jeans instead of professional wear one day per week. These donations go directly to help support WEF’s granting funds. Over the last several years, this campaign has raised over $13,000 annually to support WEF grants. 

The award recognition will occur at the Evening for Education to be held at the Marriott Milwaukee-West (Waukesha) on Thursday, October 29, beginning at 5 pm. The community is invited to this annual fundraising event for the Waukesha Education Foundation. Tickets will go on sale later this summer. 

Administrator award – Dr. Joe Koch, Deputy Superintendent, has been named Administrator of the year for Region #1 of the Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services (WCASS). The award recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions made everyday to enhance the lives of students with special needs.  His nominators noted his breadth of experience and ability to address complex issues; his ability to create a climate of trust and influence others to do the right thing; and his work ethic with high expectations of others while maintaining steadfast support.  Congratulations, Dr. Koch!

The Waukesha Engineering Preparatory Academy and Waukesha Academy of Health Professions have been named schools of distinction by Project Lead the Way! The PLTW recognition program is designed to honor districts and schools committed to increasing student access, engagement and achievement. 

Hadfield: Mike Elliott has been named Principal of Hadfield Elementary. Currently, he is principal of Hoover Elementary in the West Allis – West Milwaukee School District. Mike has more than 25 years of experience in education. He has been an elementary teacher; a Title I teacher and coordinator; and became a principal in 2017.  Mike received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Carroll University. Mike is a passionate leader who values building relationships with students, staff, parents and the community. He has a strong understanding of the social emotional learning framework. He wants to secure a culture and environment that includes a love of learning. He will begin his new role on July 1. Welcome, Mike!

Butler and STEM Saratoga:  Codey Gallas, art teacher at Butler Middle School, and Megan David, art teacher at Stem Saratoga, are working collaboratively on a project. Students are creating paper sculptures that will then be put together as a larger installation to be displayed in a storefront in downtown Waukesha. This project is based on creating art with everyday and accessible materials to all students. The team is using artist Crystal Wangner as inspiration. Students will be coloring paper using materials at hand, such as paint, markers, dirt, berries, coffee, tea. This paper will then be cut and attached to an armature, creating a flat low relief sculpture.  “We wanted to make something that the community could enjoy and show that art is without boundaries,” said Gallas. “Even though we are all working from home, that does not change that we are all in this together and by working together we can create something beautiful.” Stay tuned for the finished project. 

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