Winter 2014

Friends of Wingra

Letter From Paul: Celebrating Milestones and Mission

by Paul Brahce, Head of School

Last spring we recognized three staff members in their twenty-fifth year at Wingra—Kim Cotant, Allen Cross, and Bonnie Schey—and we belatedly recognized a former Wingra teacher, Lyn Ungrodt, for 29 years of service to our school. Stone plaques honoring these wonderfully dedicated individuals were fit into the brick work near our entryway, symbolically incorporating them into the school itself for all time.

This year, two more staff members reach the 25-year landmark—Lisa Kass and Angie Sparks. This means that just five current staff members, Angie, Lisa, Bonnie, Allen, and Kim, collectively represent more than 125 years of experience and professional service to our community!

What is it about our school that inspires such dedication and loyalty? I believe it’s much the same thing as that which engages and inspires our students. Whether student or staff member, each individual at Wingra is a valued member of an exciting community dedicated to learning. Every voice matters and everyone has something important to contribute. Our responsive and collaborative teaching model requires ongoing flexibility, creativity, and adaptability.

It is a huge responsibility to design, create, and implement curriculum that is truly integrated, but when done as well as it is here at Wingra, it generates a genuine sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing that one has contributed significantly to the lives of students.

Wingra encourages teachers to be the best professionals they can be by allowing them sufficient autonomy to make key curricular decisions regarding the students they know so well.

“You really get to know the kids,” says Angie Sparks. “It’s a lot of work to teach at Wingra, but it’s worth it. You know when it’s working; you can see it and you can feel it.”

Lisa Kass also values the close relationships that develop at Wingra. “It’s the people, the possibilities, the progressive approach and the opportunities,” she says. “I love working with pre-service teachers from UW-Madison as well as our own students. I’m always thinking of all the things we can explore together.”

Here at Wingra our teaching model requires ongoing collaboration, creativity, and critical engagement, and I am so appreciative of the longtime staff members who have contributed so much to our students for so long. They continue to bring open minds, creativity, and deep care to their work with children each and every day.