Friends of Wingra Newsletter

Winter 2009
Volume 1 Issue 3
Erica Colmenares, Editor

A Vision
for the

Lights! Cameras! Action!! Wingra School’s new video is up on our website. This venture, produced by Tona Williams of BigBite Productions, and spearheaded by Greg Schultz, our Director of Development, has been an exciting learning process for us all. We hope that you enjoy the product as much as we enjoyed the process.


This video requires QuickTime for viewing. Visit this QuickTime page for a free download.

Fond Farewell to Lyn Ungrodt

It’s hard to believe that any staff member would ever leave Wingra School, but after 29 years, and a year’s sabbatical devoting her attention to her family business, Lyn Ungrodt is moving on to other endeavors.

This photo of Lyn (sliding with Meara S.), captures the spirit of fun and joy that Lyn brought to our school. She started out at Wingra as a parent. "She was an active parent," recalls former Wingra director Joyce Perkins,"with a great sense of balance . . . everybody loved Lyn." Lyn joined the staff initially as an administrative assistant, then as a classroom teacher. She took on the role of co-director with Betty Scholin in 1996-1997 while Ann Wilson was on leave. Lyn has done it all here, and Wingra School is a better place for her dedication and commitment. Not to mention the love that she brought to all her interactions. Kim Cotant, who co-taught with Lyn for 11 years, summed it up well, "Lyn can always see the good in every single child she meets." We’re going to miss you, Lyn!

Wingra Way Back Machine

Involvement in our community has always been a basic
tenet at Wingra School. Here’s historical proof, from a
1988 newsletter:

For a look at the full page on which this letter was published, visit our website


Alumni Night 2009

We had a very successful Alumni Night on January 22, despite conflicting finals at area high schools and cold weather conditions. Thirteen Wingra grads attended, ranging in age from high school freshmen to an alumnus who graduated from Wingra in 1988. We also welcomed alumni parents, as well as current students and their parents.

We thank all the former students who participated in Alumni Night:

Sarah Askey-Foss
James Atkin
Will Atkin
Sam Bond
Jacob Carlson
Jasmine Carter
Aaron Frank
Sarah Frank
Georgina Graff
Taewee Kahrs
Sara Levenick
Theo Streibel
Ali Stone

For details of the evening, and how life after Wingra is going for these graduates, visit our website’s Alumni Night 2009 page.

Wings for Wingra - Thank You!

Our Wings for Wingra campaign is underway. Thanks to the generous donations from current families, alumni students and families, grandparents, and our extended community. To date, we have received over $26,000.

Sarah Archibald   
Doug Batty & Cara Hoffert   
Julie Shiner-Bazan and Bernard Bazan   
Niles & Linda Berman   
Susan Bernstein & Daniel Kleinman   
Debbie and Mark Blitz   
Randall Blumenstein & Marci Gittleman   
Paul Brahce   
Lea Jacobs & Ben Brewster   
Ann & Dick Burgess   
Mary and Thomas Burriss   
Michael Callahan and Jaala Spiro   
Mary Campbell   
Mary Ellen & Ron Carne   
Erica & Phil Colmenares   
Kim Cotant & Ted Parker   
Allen Cross & Mary Klehr   
Howard Czoschke   
Jim Dahlberg and Elsebet Lund

Claire Silverman and Matthew Dregne   
Bruce Edmonson and Kathleen Massoth   
Rona Finman & Warren Palmer   
Larry & Marla Frank   
Peter Frascona   
Elizabeth Garcia   
Sally Garten Balkin   
Robert Godfrey and Iris Hengst
Doris Olander & Daniel Graff   
Jane Hallock   
Quinne Haugen and Josh Rankin   
James Hudson & Diane Martin   
Jack Opel & Melissa Huggins   
Jonathan Kane & Janet Mertz   
Lisa & Irwin Kass   
Dale Leibowitz & Amy Kaster   
Marvin Wickens & Judith Kimble   
Chris Larkins   
James Laudon   
Karen Laudon   
Tim & Janet Lee   
Janet Leino   
Dawn Liska-Tollefson and Dave Tollefson   
Inger Stole & Bob McChesney   
Alyce Amirian & Bill Megan   
Emily Hall & James Miller   
Kathy Oker and Dave Herrmann
Paul Ososky   
Joyce & Bill Perkins   
Joel Price   
Ron Raines & Laura Kiessling   
Holly Reif   
Glenn Reinl and Sara Krebsbach   
Colleen & Brian Remer   
Theron Caldwell Ris   
Claire Sandler & Michael Kramer   
Bonnie Schey   
Greg Schultz   
Michelle and Russell Sharpswain   
Eugene & Cecilia Sheets   
Judy & Robert Siegfried   
Angie Sparks   
Jo & Bob Sparks   
Marian & Rowland Todd   
Lyn Ungrodt   
Janet Washbon & Clare Stapleton Concord   
Claire Weiss & Alan Weinberg   
Carl Johnson & Barbara Westfall   
Ann & David Wilson   
Joan & Steve Ziegler   
Judy & Red  Zitske   
In the near future, we’ll be able to accept on-line contributions. For now, you can print off a PDF contribution form here.

What Is Progressive Education?

In our Fall Issue, Paul Brahce, our head of school, asked, "What is progressive education?" He wondered how you, the members of the extended Wingra School community, answered that question. Paul received a number of responses, with a variety of answers. We’re including them here, for your contemplation and enjoyment. It’s never too late to add your voice to the discussion -- Paul looks forward to hearing from you (

    “Wingra is a welcoming community for people of different backgrounds, a place where democracy is not just a catch phrase or buzz word, but where the ideals of democracy, debate and cooperation are at work every single day. To me, the single most important value that progressive education should embody is social justice. And I think Wingra does a good job of this!”

    “For me, progressive education is partially defined by what it is not -- it is not arbitrary, it is not externally defined or judged -- like the progressive political movement, it stands for the freedom to evolve and do what’s in the best interest of each child, rather than being confined to a predetermined goal. It’s about advancing the learning of children, just as the movement is about advancing the rights of people, to an ever-evolving, self-determined place.”

    “To me, progressive education means child-centered, child-led education and allowing the child’s natural curiosity and natural abilities to take the lead in planning the curriculum. It means allowing for creativity and self-expression, giving the child the freedom, and indeed, the encouragement, to ask questions, express ideas and opinions, and draw conclusions, with the guidance of the teachers, but not the tyranny of having to conform to or agree with everything the teacher says. It means having an integrated curriculum, so the child sees the world and education in a holistic way, rather than as a disjointed, disjunctive set of topics and subjects that have no application in the real world and no connection to each other. It means integrating real-life situations and realities into the curriculum and inviting the child to apply what has been learned in the classroom to what happens in real-life, day to day experiences. And it means a multicultural education that not only tolerates other viewpoints and cultural and religious experiences, but actually celebrates them. Most of all, it means an educational system that allows a kid to be a kid.”

    “I’ve been thinking about how to describe progressive education. The best description I can give is an adaptation of the proverb "Give someone a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach someone to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Teach someone a lesson and he’ll pass a test. Teach someone to learn and he’ll enjoy a lifetime of knowledge he can share with others.”

For many more wonderful contributions, please visit our Progressive Education: An On-going Discussion page.

Sincere thanks to Sarah Archibald, Jane Carlson, Jeanne Howard, Katie Dowling-Marcus, Linda Levi, Bonnie Margulis,
Barbara Perkins, Amanda Postel, Christen Ring and Ronen Zaidel-Bar for sharing their thoughts about progressive education!

Photos from the Wingra Gym:
lunchroom, physical education classroom, performance space . . .



top left, then clockwise: noon in the gym, Opera for the Young visits, Capoeira during physical education, and Seniors spontaneously entertain during lunch.


Family and Friends Event

November 26, 2008

Right top: Susan Spiro (alumni parent and grandparent), Jaala Spiro (alumni student, current parent, and board member), and Corrina (Room 102). Corrina’s brother Aden also attends Wingra School.

Bottom right: A Wingra alum visits two current Wingra students; the mutual joy is obvious!

Bottom left: The Carne family turned out in force, including alums Andy Carne (second from left, holding Matilda, current Wingra student) and Meg Carne (sixth from left).

Alumni 411

Alums often visit Wingra, or email, or call. We love hearing from our former students and families. Below are some updates. Send your news and photos to for our Spring Friends of Wingra e-newsletter!

Allison Adelman (photo left), 1986-1990, has spent a couple of years teaching in Japan and is now in a graduate program in linguistics at U.C. Santa Barbara.

Lizzie Aldag, 1989-1997, is making art and studying to be an art therapist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Max Blaska,  1988-1991, just emailed. It was good to hear from him, and learn that he’s working at the Boston Store and thinking of going back to college.

Caitlin Breedlove,  1986-1995, is working for Southerners on New Ground (, a group that works to build, connect, and sustain people in the South who believe in liberation across all lines of race, class, culture, gender and sexuality.

Tristan Breedlove,  1989-1997, is halfway through her program at Georgetown Law School.

Ariel Coberly-Horrall,  1989-1998, graduated from the UW-Madison in 2005 with a BA in art and now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. where she is a partner in a fledgling floral design and event business, La Maya Designs.  The website should be up soon.

Tara Coberly-Horrall,  1995-2004,  graduated from West High School in 2008 and is now a freshman at the University of Minnesota in Duluth.

Tara Converse, 1988-1997, got an undergraduate degree in psychology and dance from Knox College and went on to earn a dance/movement therapy degree from Drexel.

Lina Dahlberg (photo left), 1983-1992, is a Western Washington graduate student, and just defended her dissertation in biochemistry. She is teaching at Western Washington University this spring, and is working on a long-term plan.

Maria Dahlberg, 1987-1995, is currently in grad school at Penn State studying physics.

Sara Diamond, 1987-1996, studied environmental science at Antioch College and is now a grad student in entomology at the University of California in Davis. She is also doing a lot of yoga these days.

Emily Fleckner,  1978-1983, wrote to us from Mexico City. After high school, she attended UW-Madison and then the London School of Economics for grad school.  Emily worked for the Economist magazine in New York, then joined the American diplomatic corps (the Foreign Service).  Her first tour was in Dubai and she just started her second tour at the US Embassy in Mexico City.

Neil Graupner,  2004-2006,  stopped in on November 17. He’s a junior at West. He spoke of continuting work on the keen interest in science, specifically geology, that he developed at Wingra School, and mentioned missing the learning environment at Wingra.

Sam Highsmith,  1988-1993, is pursuing a masters degree in elementary education in Chicago, and wrote of his clinical experience in a second grade classroom: "I am writing this email because my time working in a public school has deepened my appreciation for the ways in which my own school experience at Wingra differed from a more traditional public school education. Also, because I am studying educational theory, I am now able to understand how the things I did as a child at Wingra fit into the bigger educational picture. It turns out that many of the school experiences I had as a child were not merely the result of Wingra quirks, but actually part of a larger discussion of progressive education. When I was a kid I guess I thought you guys were just making it up as you went along."

Zach Kaiser,  1989-1997, is in Madison, working as a graphic designer. He also teaches at a screen printing and design lab for teens called Mess Hall Press, which he co-founded in 2003 with another graphic designer. He runs two blogs, a social-political culture blog and one that is called The Online Journal of Awesome. Zach is also DJing a ton these days, and continuing to make music as well. He’s also been doing a bit of writing - some essays and super-short fiction stuff. Check out his website:

Sarah Napier (photo right), dates, is home with her daughters Katie (age 5) and Lily (age 6) but will likely return to work as a teacher/administrator in a few years. Most recently she taught and was the middle school coordinator at the Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge, a school she described as very similar to Wingra in philosophy.

Meg Larkins Nevling,  1986-1994, and husband Todd are in Phoenix, Arizona.  Meg works as an architect in an office that designs the Boys and Girls Clubs and the M&I Banks in Phoenix They are planning to return to the Dane county area this summer after their first child is born.

Alana Price,  1987-1996, worked last year with Lizzie Aldag and others to produce an art show of collaborative surrealist drawings in Chicago. In August 2008, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is working as assistant editor of Tikkun magazine, which offers a bimonthly critique of politics, culture, and society.

Joel Price (photo left), 1983-1992, graduated from Swarthmore College in 2000 with a BA in psychology/education with elementary teaching certification. Since then, he’s taught science to high school students who have been kicked out of public schools, toured with his band, ellipsis (, and now works at Friends’ Central, a Quaker pre-K through 12 school just outside Philadelphia, as webmaster/information manager. He’s still involved in music, photography, and travel. At press time, he’d just finished visiting all 50 states in the USA within 30 years -- North dakota and Alabama were the last states he needed. This photo shows Joel at his 2007 wedding, with bride Lela Patrik. 

Laura Schmid (photo right), 2008, is a Freshman at Arrowhead High School in Hartland, about 5 miles from here. She is doing well, likes school and her teachers! She’s shown here with her Golden Retriever puppies.

Becky (Levin) Silton (photo left),  1983-1989, is married and living in Seattle, Washington. Becky graduated from Macalester College in 2000 and also attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology 2009). 

Jules Skloot,  1986-1995, recently got an MFA in choreography at Sarah Lawrence in New York.

Sarah Sluder , 1993-2002, is working for the University Athletic department, living at home and plans to return to MATC for  the spring semester.

Keenan Smith,  2000-2007, currently a sophomore at West High School, has been chosen for the All-Big Eight Conference boys soccer team. Keenan was the only unanimous selection by conference coaches for the team. He’s also one of the few non-senior players chosen.

Wrede Smith (photo right), 1989-1993, graduated from DePaul in 2006. He writes, "I just started this year at GW Law, so I’m getting acclimated to DC. The past two years I’ve been living in St. Louis doing Teach For America, teaching little children (5th graders)."

Kristy Sprague-Klepzig, on staff from 1993-1998, sent us this beautiful photo of her two daughters
(photo left), taken in the Chippewa Falls area in October. 

Sean Sweetnam, 1991 -2000, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Carleton College in 2008 with a BA in physics. He’s currently in Switzerland studying at the Microtechnic Institute (IMT) at the University of Switzerland, Neuchâtel via a Fulbright Scholarship. In particular, he’s working with the photovoltaic group to improve solar cells and help pass the new technology on to industry. He hopes to be admitted to a Ph.D program next year to continue his studies in solar energy. Outside of academics, he’s an avid ultimate Frisbee player, and has found a frisbee team in Neuchâtel as well.

Linnea Vedder-Shults (photo right), 1987-1996, lives in Brooklyn and spends her time doing art and singing with a band called Lights Make Music. Visit her website,

Krista Williams, 1993-1995, is working on a dramaturgy MFA at Yale and recently got engaged.

It’s a Date!

Get out your calendar and jot down these opportunities to join us at Wingra School.

Community Conversation Evening,
March 5, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Community Conversation Evening,
April 14, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Community Celebration -- The Cake’s On Us!, May 30, 3:00-7:00 p.m. Look for details in our Spring Issue!

Let’s Keep in Touch

Drop Us a Line

It’s a genuine joy when former students or family members drop by and let us know what they are up to. It’s wonderful to see how people are progressing in their lives. Emails, especially those with photo attachments, are equally welcome. So stop by, or shoot us an email, and let us know what you’re up to. And if you have Wingra friends who may not receive this e-newsletter, send us their email address so we can get it to them, as well.

On Facebook?

Join the Wingra School Alumni group. Thanks to the Saltzman sibs, David and Becky, for setting it up!

We look forward to seeing you soon.



2010 Wingra School