Teacher of the Year award revived, expanded

District seeks to honor five recipients annually
Lee Pulaski
City Editor

SHAWANO — The Shawano School District is looking to change its Teacher of the Year program, but it will need to raise at least $5,000 to make its plans come to fruition.

The district’s executive committee met Wednesday and discussed changing the parameters now that the Jefferies Fund, which provided the original donation for the award, has been depleted. Until last year, the district honored a teacher annually at Shawano Community High School’s graduation.

“Historically, we have had an award, and there were funds set aside by an individual, and then we awarded a teacher,” said Superintendent Randi Anderson. “We’re recommending that we remove that out of the graduation ceremony.”

Anderson also recommended that the program expand to include a teacher of the year from each of the four schools, plus a fifth teacher considered a specialty teacher that might teach at more than one school. The teachers would be recognized at the district’s staff celebration at the end of the school year in June.

The teachers would be nominated by other teachers, staff, students and community members, according to Anderson. The nominations would be sent to the human resources department by April 1. District administrators and past winners would review the nominations and select the recipients.

Anderson said the administrators pondered what would be the most effective way to honor the teachers and had two options. One was to give the winning teachers an extra personal day to be used the following year, while another option was to give a cash award.

“We currently have $300 and something odd change left over from that initial donation,” Anderson said.

The committee liked the idea of a cash award, but instead of something for the teachers, members thought it might be more meaningful if they gave the money to a nonprofit of the teacher’s choosing, similar to what the Shawano Area Community Foundation does through its annual Celebration of Giving. Committee members also recommended the award be $1,000.

“I like the idea of paying it forward,” said school board president Tyler Schmidt.

Board member Michael Sleeper agreed, thinking the paying it forward option would entice service organizations like Rotary and Optimists to give toward the endeavor. He noted that fellow board member Chris Gull is already in favor of fundraising for the awards and thought the entire school board should weigh in on the final amount to be given.

Schmidt said he wanted to make certain that the organizations that agreed to give would be able to do so on an annual basis.

“I don’t want to do it, and then next year we don’t do it,” Schmidt said.

The committee recommended taking the matter to the full school board, which meets Monday.



WHAT: Shawano School Board meeting

WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Monday

WHERE: District conference room, Shawano Community High School, 220 County Road B, Shawano