Friends of Wingra Newsletter

Winter 2010
Volume 2 Issue 2
Erica Colmenares, Editor

Let's Keep in Touch! 

We're making a concerted effort to keep in touch, and reestablish connections. We've found you, but maybe we haven't gotten an updated email for a Wingra pal of yours. If you know someone who might enjoy our news, forward this along to them! We love knowing what you're doing.

We also want you to know what we're doing. You can find us on facebook, or follow us on Twitter! Most recently, we've started a YouTube channel — don't miss the staff montage set to a They Might Be Giants tune (many thanks to parent Zach Elliot for this gem).

Finally, if you want to shout out your Wingra connection to the world, be sure to check out our Wingra Wear!

In This Issue

Wingra Wayback Machine

We've unearthed a time capsule! Sky teacher Dawn Liska-Tollefson brought this cardboard box to the attention of the Friends of Wingra folk. Do you recognize this? If so, let us know. We would like to open it up with the proper pomp and circumstance, and you're invited!

Class Photos?

If you have a class photo from years gone by, we'd love it if you share. Send us a scan or image file, or if you send the actual photo, we'll scan it and return it to you. Thanks!

Wings for Wingra Thank You!

Our sincere thanks to all of you who have contributed to the 2009-2010 Annual Campaign. The Annual Campaign is important because it helps us close "the gap" between tuition and the actual cost of a Wingra School education. Money raised goes to support key aspects of our program, such as teacher salaries, classroom supplies, tuition assistance, technology, and building maintenance.

To date, we've received donations totaling $37,890. If you would like to make a gift, click here or fill out this form and send it back. Every gift — no matter its size — makes a difference. Thanks again to all of you who have contributed. Contributors to date include:

Anonymous (4)
Sarah Archibald
Suzanne Askey and David Foss
Teresa Atkin
Geoffrey and Amy Baker
Sally Garten Balkin
Bill Barker and Susan Paskewitz
Doug Batty and Cara Hoffert
Julie Shiner-Bazan and Bernard Bazan
Linda and Niles Berman
Gillian Blake and Irene Tapia
Debbie and Mark Blitz
Paul Brahce
Robert Brazas and Christina Hull
Ben Brewster and Lea Jacobs
Richard and Ann Burgess
Mary and Thomas Burriss
Eric and Jane Carlson
Carol Carlson
Mary Ellen and Ron Carne
Thomas and Shelley Caw
Catherine Coberly and Francis Stanton
Andrew Cohen
Erica and Phil Colmenares
Kim Cotant and Ted Parker
Sally S. and Thomas W. Coyle
Weslie Cymerman
Howard Czoschke
Elsebet Lund, Lina Dahlberg, Maria Dahlberg, and James Dahlberg
James Danky and Christine Schelshorn
Bruce Edmonson and Kathleen Massoth
Susan Elias
Kira Faulkner
Brian Fick and Kristina Stadler
Lisa Fike
Rona Finman and Warren Palmer
Larry and Marla Frank
Elizabeth Garcia
Jane Hallock
Teresa Rose-Hellekant and Goran Hellekant
James Hudson and Diane Martin
Holly Jellinek
Thomas Kammeyer and Joan Bartel
Jonathan Kane and Janet Mertz
Lisa and Irwin Kass
Waseem Kazi and Cheryl Sanchez-Kazi
Susan Bernstein and Daniel Kleinman
James P. Laudon
Karen A. Laudon
Lewis and Judith Leavitt
Dale Leibowitz and Amy Kaster
Dawn Liska-Tollefson and Dave Tollefson
A.J. and Sarah Love
Tim and Kathy Mazur
Bill Megan and Alyce Amirian

Gary and Monique Milhollin
Doris C. Minnerath
Marlon Mundt and Larissa Zakletskaia
Margaret and Gus Napier
Kathy Oker and Dave Herrmann
Megan and Kevin O'Malley
Jack Opel and Melissa Huggins
Colleen Pardun and Steve Nolan
Christine and James Pawley
Joyce and Bill Perkins
Dave Pfister and Rick Halbach
Allen and Judy Pincus
Tom Popp
Carmen and May Porco
Alana Price
Gary and Lanette Price
Joel F.W. Price and Lela K. Patrik
Deborah Ptak and Jennifer Pressman
Ronald Raines and Laura Kiessling
Holly and Matt Reif
Glenn Reinl and Sara Krebsbach
Theron Caldwell Ris
Matt Robinson and Mary Campbell
Bruce Rosen and Diane Seder
Barbara and John Rowe
Claire Sandler and Michael Kramer
Lili Sandler and Zeb Page
Bonnie Schey
Greg Schultz
Christine K. Schwab
Andreas and Susanne Seeger
Ron Serlin and Susan Anderson
Michael Sheets and Catherine Fox
Eugene and Cecilia Sheets
Philip M. Shultz
Judy and Robert Siegfried
Kay and Greg Simmons
Meg and Neil Skinner
Tresi Smyth
Angie Sparks and Andrea Hughes
Karl and Judy Stadler
Ken Strasma and Karisa Johnson
Rick Stulgaitis and Leslie Howard
Aman and Tanya Tandias
Penny and Steve Thacker
Ashley Van Sant
Kira and John When
Robert and Gail Weigl
Claire Weiss and Alan Weinberg
Barbara Westfall and Carl Johnson
Ann Jarvella Wilson and David Wilson
Liila Woods
Paul Grossberg and Dean Ziemke
Judith and Wayne Zitske


The Pond classrooms (ages 7-9) just finished a unit on Greece, or Pondopolis as they liked to call it.
The photos above are from their Pondopolis Par-tay!

Friends and Family Day 2009

Friends and Family Day is one of Wingra's finest traditions. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, students share our school with their extended family, with visiting friends, and with returning alumni.

We have lots of photos of the many visitors to the 2009 Friends and Family Day here.

Friends of Wingra Archive

If you're new to the Friends of Wingra e-newsletter, maybe you'd like a look at back issues. We've got an archive going, so settle in for a good read.

Friends of Wingra Archive

Community Service Sandwiches
In December, a Wingra student organized a sandwich-making event for Porchlight. Thanks, Mara, for making this happen!

Giving Back: Alum Works in Africa

This past December, Wingra School alum Ben Robbins (1990-1992) came and spoke with our Extended Day Program. He walked into the classroom, wearing a worn leather jacket, and one of the students asked, "Are you a rock star?" But music's not what brought Ben back to Wingra. He was pounding the Madison pavements in a quest to raise $100,000 for a school in Dar es Salaam, and spoke with students here about his work in Tanzania with Students for the Advancement of Learning and Medical Aid in Tanzania (SALAMA: Tanzania).

Since his time at Wingra, Ben's been to West High School, the UW-Madison, and Dartmouth College. He visited Tanzania as part of a medical internship while at Dartmouth, and the journey changed his life. He told WKOW-TV in Madison, "While I was there I just fell in love with the place." Ben is now back in Tanzania on a five-month Dartmouth Fellowship.

Wingra staff made a collective donation to SALAMA: Tanzania, and the Extended Day program students voted to contribute proceeds from their on-going fundraisers to Ben's project. If you'd like to know more, or make a donation yourself, visit SALAMA: Tanzania's website.

Alumni 411

Jessica (Milhollin) Cutler (1979-1985) was a producer for National Geographic. She is now very busy with three children: Mirabelle (three years old), Elodie two years old) and a baby boy, Burchill (7 months old). Her husband, Thomas, and she are back in Washington, D.C.

Nora Edie (1995-1996, right with her kids and dad) visited Wingra last week, during the annual Opera for the Young performance. Her daughter, Stella, is almost old enough for Wingra, and little Romeo won't be far behind.

Katrina Emmerson KugelKatrina Emmerson Kugel (1975-1980, left with her boys) just started a new online marketplace, The site spotlights 'underknown' boutique retailers each day, and offers one of their items or a gift card at a 50% or higher discount for 24 hours. Best of luck with the new business, Katrina!

Aliya Finman Palmer (1994-2003, right) was at Wingra in December. She and her sister Maya (2007-) are pictured right in their Wingra Wear garb! Aliya went to Memorial High School after Wingra, and is now a junior at Beloit College. She's a double major in Environmental Studies and Chinese (this is her sixth year studying Chinese). She's also a member of the Beloit College Peace and Justice Club.

Naomi Kritzer (1979-1985, left) is a science fiction/fantasy writer, and a mother to two girls (Molly and Kiera) She also writes on parenting for the online service ( A recent piece was on ways to teach kids about charitable giving. For more info on Naomi, visit her website,

Elliot Milhollin (1976-1982) is now an attorney in D.C. where he works exclusively for American Indian tribes. His wife, Kristen, and he have two little girls, Phoebe (three and a half years old) and Claire (one year old).

The Napier Family - We got an update on the Napier alums through a letter from their mom, Margaret Napier (one of the founders of Wingra School). Sarah (1972-1978) is ABD from Harvard's Education School, and was a teacher and curriculum director at the Fayerweather Street School in Cambridge. She is married and has two children. Mark (1973-1978) is a pulmonologist at Albany Medical Center in Albany NY. He is married with two children. Julia (their younger sib) is a writer and lives in Buenos Aires with her husband and two kids.

Mheagan (Larkins) Nevling (1986-1994, right) and her daughter dropped by Wingra in January. Mheagan just moved back to Madison from Arizona. Thanks, Mheagan, for stopping by!

We'd love to hear from you. Let us know what you're up to, and if you can send along a current photo, all the better! Just email us here (

Lianna Cotant (1993-2002. center front row) helped a class of Nest kids (ages 5-7)
prepare for an African-themed follies in January. Lianna is in her final year at St. Olaf College.

Capital Campaign News!

In November, Wingra School got some very good news: the deadline for the first phase of our capital campaign matching opportunity was extended.

As many of you know, the original agreement required that Wingra School raise two million dollars by the end of this calendar year (December 31, 2009) in order to qualify for matching funds from our anonymous donor group. In recognition that the current economic climate makes fund raising especially challenging, this deadline has been extended and we now have an additional two years to complete the first phase matching challenge.

We are thrilled to receive this amazing level of support from our donor group!

Where in the World is Tessa?

Tessa Michaelson, former 8-10 year old classroom teacher (with Tresi Smyth) and librarian & tech teacher (with Angie Sparks), currently lives and works in Pagosa Springs, Colorado with her fiance, Brett Schmidt.

Tessa moved from Madison to Pagosa Springs in July 2009 to take a position at the Pagosa Springs Public Library. In her new job, Tessa offers a variety of educational, enrichment, and entertainment programs for the community as well as reader's advisory and technology instruction. "Every day is like All-School Choice," Tessa explains, "there's something for everyone."

Tessa's also responsible for children's collection development at the library so she still has her hands on all the latest and greatest books for youth which makes her very happy.

When not at work, Tessa is enjoying all of the wonders and delights of living in the mountains. "It's my very own Norway--hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, and more" she reports. While Pagosa Springs is a small town (pop. 10,000) in southwest Colorado, the proximity to Durango, CO and Sante Fe, NM make trips to "town" enjoyable excursions. It's similar to living in Baraboo, WI--if Baraboo was situated near a national forest, snow-capped mountains, and natural hot springs.

If Wingra folks are passing through the area, be sure to stop by the library to say hello to Tessa. Although she's in the land of Pagosa Pirates, Tessa's still a Wingra Duck and a Wisconsin Badger at heart.

Wingra Alums in West High's Multico

West High's multicultural touring company, came to Wingra in January. Three Wingra alum were among the actors. Darien Power (1997-2001) and Sarah Frank (2000-2006) are pictured left performing in the gym. Dean Leeper (1997-2000) is pictured right, with Sarah, in a Sky classroom discussion.

Running into Wingra Alums in Unexpected Places
by Erica Colmenares

You run into Wingra grads in the most unexpected places. For me, it was my neighborhood picnic. I mentioned my work at Wingra, and one of the participants looked up and said "Hey, I went to Wingra!" It was Lisa (Ledford) Kerr, who attended Wingra School between 1973 and 1977. Lisa agreed to sit down and talk about Wingra, and where life has taken her since her times at 3200 Monroe Street.

Lisa KerrLisa's path to Wingra School was not unusual. She started out in a traditional school, and by first grade was finding it difficult to sit in a desk in a row. Wingra had opened its doors the year before, and she visited to see what it was about. Lisa liked the way she was allowed at Wingra to go on tangents while learning, not from "A" straight to "Z," and how she learned at her own pace. Although reading and writing were a "huge challenge" for Lisa, teachers at Wingra didn't make her feel bad or "less" for that. Her teachers were JoAnn Schoell for two year and Jackie Hass for three years "I loved those two teachers." Lisa still appreciates how her Wingra School art projects influenced her visual sense.

Nowadays, Lisa has two businesses, one doing corporate videos, and one in horticulture, designing flora container gardens. To find out more, click here.

Come Join Us!

Alumni Night - NEXT Thursday, February 18, 2010
While we specifically target our most recent round of grads for this event, we'd love to have you join us too, as we talk to current students and families about the transition to high school. If you'd like to participate, please RSVP so we can save you a seat!

Wingra Community Celebration - Saturday, May 22, 2010
The Wingra School front lawn will be alive with picnics and games, as we celebrate another year of building ownership. Don’t miss the cake auction, and the Book Walk.

Let us know when we'll have the pleasure of your company (, 608-238-2525).

Our success depends on embracing a curriculum focused on essential skills like reading, writing, computation, pattern detection, conversation and collaboration - a curriculum designed to raise children, rather than test scores. - Susan Engel, in New York Times op-ed article, "Playing to Learn"

2010 Wingra School