State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor has named five organizations as 2019 Friends of Education for their work on behalf of Wisconsin students.
“Commitment from the community is part of what it takes to raise our next generation, and I thank the Friends of Education for their wonderful work,” said Stanford Taylor in a press release. “From informing the public to inspiring students, providing financial assistance or emotional and social supports, these groups are making a big difference for young people.”
Stanford Taylor will present Friend of Education awards to Discovery World; GSAFE; Lena Lions Club; News 3 Now; and The Teachers’ Closet during her State of Education Address and Awards Program on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Capitol Rotunda in downtown Madison. Wisconsin’s four 2020 Teachers of the Year will also be recognized.
Additional information about each Friend of Education award recipient, as provided by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, follows.
◉ Discovery World, a premier, non-profit, family-oriented science and technology center in Milwaukee, offers fun, educational experiences. Focusing on two areas — technology and freshwater sciences — the center features hands-on exhibits and programs, the Reiman Aquarium, educational labs and programs, and other engaging activities. In addition, the center offers summer camp, Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs, community partnership programs, and learning experiences aboard a tall ship, the Denis Sullivan. Staff inspire young people to become the next generation of engineers, designers, scientists, and innovators. Receiving the award on behalf of Discovery World will be Paul Mech, director of education, and Larissa Yankovich, director of education.
◉ GSAFE is an organization driven by a mission to increase the capacity of LGBTQ+ students, educators, and families to create schools in Wisconsin where all youth thrive. From its roots in 1991, this statewide resource has grown from an all-volunteer group of dedicated individuals to a 501c3 organization with committed staff and statewide support. GSAFE develops the leadership of LGBTQ+ students, supports gay-straight alliances, trains educational staff, advances educational justice, advocates for public policy, and deepens racial, gender, trans, and social justice. Receiving the award for GSAFE will be Brian Juchems, Ali Muldrow, and Amber Sowards.
◉ Chartered in 1971, the Lena Lions Club supports students and families in the Lena community. Donating to the national Night Out program as well as providing funds for the district’s post-prom party and the Lena Parent Teacher Organization are just a few examples. The club also offers many supports that help meet students’ individual needs, such as glasses and Spot Eye vision screening annually, and financial sponsorships to help eighth-graders take part in their school’s annual trip to Washington, D.C. In addition to helping students directly, the club has been a major supporter of the Lena School District by funding a ticket booth and press box at the athletic field and a new sound system in the Lena school gym. Receiving the award on behalf of the Lena Lions Club will be Mike Diehlmann, Russell Glime, and Dave Manning.
◉ News 3 Now, based in Madison, provides coverage of local and state education topics and has been a visible supporter of education throughout south-central Wisconsin. In addition to education news, “Topnotch Teachers” spotlights great work by educators in the Madison area, reinforcing these efforts and reminding viewers how far teachers will go to make a positive impact on students’ lives. The “Time for Kids: Time to Talk” series is an online resource for children, parents, and schools. The #BeYou campaign encourages young people to feel confident in being unique. Receiving the award on behalf of News 3 Now will be Charlotte Deleste, Tom Keeler, Kathy King, and Dannika Lewis.
◉ Created to support educators in Oshkosh, Omro, and Winneconne public and non-profit schools, The Teachers’ Closet provides materials free of charge including teaching supplies and items for students in need. More than 400 teachers from every grade level shopped at the Closet last school year, for supplies like glue, scissors, and paper for the classroom and items such as mittens, toothpaste, and backpacks for students. Run by volunteers and available to teachers year-round, the Closet is in its eighth year. Receiving the award on behalf of The Teachers’ Closet will be Kay Kuenzl-Stenerson, Alan Stenerson, and Wendy Thompson.