West Elementary teacher honored by Kohl as among best in state|
|An Antigo school district elementary instructor is one of only 100 statewide honored for excellence in education.|
Wendy Simonis, who teaches cross categorical special education and program support at West Elementary School, has received a Fellowship award from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Inc.
She was chosen, the foundation said, for her “superior ability to inspire a love of learning in her students, her ability to motivate others and her leadership and service within and outside the classroom.”
Other teachers from this area who received the Fellows designation include Karie Blemke, a teacher at James Williams Middle School in Rhinelander; Corey Jeffers, John Muir Middle School, Wausau; and Ryan Winkler, Marathon High School.
A six-year veteran of the Antigo school district, Simonis said that her most important goal is the search to find the right intervention that helps each student succeed.
“The majority of the students I work with are diagnosed with autism,” Simonis said. “So much of the autism spectrum is a mystery. My students have so much knowledge buried inside and I feel that it is my mission and responsibility to develop methods to help them learn ways to bring forth that knowledge.”
Simonis said the key is to find that special method or strategy that will empower them to shine both academically and emotionally.
“That's my challenge, because my students are so unique that there isn't one magic answer,” she said. “While I know I may never attain that unrealized goal for some students, I am committed to never give up the quest because like any child, my students need to experience success."
In addition, two area local students were among 187 graduating high school seniors who received some form of Kohl student scholarships.
Erik Wick of Bowler, who attends Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School, was named an Excellence Scholar.
The award is for recipients who have demonstrated excellence in the academic arena and high motivation to achieve, have displayed a broad rage of activity and leadership outside the academic setting, and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond.
Students earning honors as Initiative Scholars include Brandon Bastle, Antigo High School.
Chosen by their schools, Initiative Scholarship recipients have demonstrated exceptional initiative in the class and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond, but have not yet received other academic-based awards.
The scholarship and fellowship program was established by Herb Kohl, a Milwaukee business and former U.S. senator, in 1990. To date, the foundation has awarded $8.6 million to Wisconsin educators, students and schools.
Each award is for $1,000.
“Education is the key to the future of Wisconsin and our nation,” Kohl said. “I am very proud of the accomplishments of these students and teachers and look forward to the great contributions they will make in the future.”
Regional recognition luncheons will be held later this spring.
West Elementary teacher Wendy Simonis, honored by the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.