Model Teachers 2018
Mark Byom-High School Science: 9-12
Mark earned his Bachelor's in General Science with Minors in Biology and Chemistry, as well as his Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be his 3rd year at West Salem and his 16th year of teaching.
Mark's presentation focused on his use of data for grading and providing feedback for students. His ability to advance kids to achievement levels beyond expectations by accepting nothing less than their best performance is remarkable.
Andrea Ihle-Elementary School: 4th Grade
Andrea earned her Bachelor's in Elementary/Middle Education with a Minor in Social Studies from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and her Master's of Education from Viterbo University. This will be Andrea's 6th year at West Salem and her 14th year teaching. She is also a West Salem alum.
Andrea is a member of our high-functioning fourth grade team. Her use of student data in conjunction with her teammates is outstanding. What separates Andrea from her peers is her ability to create a safe, fun and exciting classroom for fourth graders.
Jonathan Jones-Middle School STEM: 6-8
Jonathan earned his Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management, as well as his post baccalaureate teaching license from Viterbo University. This is Jonathan’s 11th year teaching in West Salem.
Jonathan is West Salem's renaissance man. His creative approach to feedback, instruction, differentiation and assessment is impressive. His professional work at unpacking the standards and willingness to take on the new position of Projects and Innovation teacher are examples of Jonathan's professionalism.
Jason Mahlum-Middle School Social Studies: Grade 7
Jason earned his Bachelor's of Science in Middle/Secondary Broadfield Social Studies and History, as well as his Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This is his 16th year teaching, all of which have taken place here at West Salem.
Jason is a professional in every sense of the word. His willingness to provide leadership to the seventh grade team, to work with the university and to connect middle school social studies to the real world are the keys to his success. Impressive discussions around redistricting, civil rights, and the First Amendment illustrate how he makes government interesting for seventh graders.
Amy Marshall-Middle School Special Education: Grades 6-8
Amy earned her Bachelor's of Science in K-12 Special Education from Winona State University. Prior to obtaining this degree, Amy worked as a paraprofessional at WSHS. This is Amy's 16th year teaching, all of which have taken place here at West Salem.
Amy is the ultimate professional educator. She does whatever it takes to advocate for, and ensure success for her students. She is passionate about special education, about making a difference for kids and about providing leadership for her peers. She is a wonderful example of what model teaching is all about.
Erik Mathison-Middle School/High School Technology Education: Grades 6-12
Erik earned his Bachelor's of Science in Technology Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and his Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This is Erik's 16th year of teaching, and his 5th year at West Salem. Erik's wife, Erica, also teaches at our elementary school.
Erik's presentation included discussions about the use of rubrics, the development of new courses, safety standards and expanding our middle school programming. Erik is a wonderful example of the new world in technology education.
Kelly Rueckheim-High School Science:Grades 9-12
Kelly earned his Bachelor's of Science in Wildlife and Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. This will be his 18th year teaching and his 3rd year here at West Salem.
Kelly exemplifies professional risk-taking and professional growth. His willingness to take on the agriculture program, along with joining the high school science team, has created a valuable connection between these two programs. His recent work in our greenhouse developing our aquaponics program is an impressive example of his ability to dream big and make things happen.
Model Teachers 2017
Andrea Armstrong-High School English: 9-12
Andrea earned her Bachelor's in Middle/Secondary Education and English, as well as a Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be her 16th year at West Salem. She has become almost like a college professor to our high school students. She manages the journalism department and is an adjunct professor at UW-L. She has an ability to intentionally create opportunities for college prep kids to synthesize their work, and really break down their writing and the writing of others.
Andrea's presentation was highlighted by her use of iBooks and technology to communicate with kids. She has a strong willingness to lead as evidenced by her work with MLA standards for notation, ACT preparation and a universal writing rubric for all kids.
Quenten Brown-High School Art: 9-12
Quenten earned his Bachelor's degree in Art Education from Viterbo University and his Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be Quenten's 18th year at West Salem. He has a remarkable ability to connect with high school students. He is a true artist in that he also paints and displays his work at galleries, he sings folk music, and is dedicated to the notion of helping kids discover who they are through the use of art.
Quenten's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by his willingness to help the high school improve the SEP project by adding creativity to their display boards. He also helps manage the student gallery and has the ability to get high school students to effectively critique their work and the work of others.
Becky Buisman-Middle School English: Grade 6
Becky earned her Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education from Viterbo University. This is Becky's third year at West Salem. She is a dedicated West Salem alum, whose experiences teaching in other schools have benefited our district greatly. She does wonderful things using Edmodo and Google Classroom with her students, and continues to hone her craft by constantly seeking out ways to get better, and sharing those with her peers.
Becky's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her use of data binders for her fourth graders, and how she worked with her team to create common lessons and assessments. She also obtained her 316 reading license, which is a very impressive feat.
Amy Chambers-Elementary School Teacher: Kindergarten
Amy earned her Bachelor's of Science in Early Childhood Education from Winona State University. This will be Amy's fifth year at West Salem. She is a bright, talented professional in the prime of her teaching career. She is accomplished in the manner in which she prepares for and instructs the children in her room. Amy is intentional and purposeful in her work. Her excellent work is not an accident.
Amy's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her ability to use data to track her students' progress. She also has an eagerness for professional development and sharing that with others.
Deelyn earned her Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education from Viterbo University and her Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be her 18th year teaching at West Salem. She is also a West Salem alum. She is a remarkably professional educator that is a master of her craft. She has studied throughout her adult life to learn how to be a great teacher. She creates a family atmosphere in her classroom, and her professional talents connected to the craft of teaching result in her kids achieving at remarkable levels.
Deelyn's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by a meticulous use of data to help her first graders move along, as well as her willingness to share and help others with that data.
Nicole Friell-Middle School English Teacher: Grade 8
Nicole earned her Bachelor's of Science in Secondary Education-English (6-12) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master's of Education in Teaching and Learning from St. Mary's University, and Reading Teacher Licensure (PreK-12) from VIterbo University. This will be her 16th year teaching at West Salem. She has a tremendous amount of information in the area of professional development, and the area of teaching reading and literacy to adolescents. She does an outstanding job of connecting her literacy skills to the content areas she is teaching her students. She has also done wonderful work in developing vocabulary lists for middle schoolers.
Nicole's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her application of standards and planning to her teaching, as well as her ability to adapt her work to block scheduling. Her involvement in outside organizations for professional development has also been a wonderful asset.
Jacki Hickey-Elementary School Teacher: Kindergarten
Jacki earned her Bachelor's in Elementary Education with a minor in Early Childhood Education from Viterbo University, and her Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La crosse. This will be her 16th year teaching at West Salem. She is an outstanding professional, and has a wonderful mix of personality, determination and professional tenacity to help children grow. Her passion for serving our youngest children is what makes her a model teacher.
Jacki's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her involvement in professional development, and the instrumental role she has played in the use of Words Their Way and helping her peers to implement it. Her use of data and lesson planning are second to none.
Heather Jehn-Middle School Mathematics Teacher: Grade 6
Heather earned her Bachelor's of Science in Elementary and Middle Level Education and Special Education, and her Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be her 13th year teaching at West Salem. Heather is a passionate and dedicated individual who is steadfast in her unwillingness to give up on children.
Heather's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her application of standard based grade reporting and her leadership in the area of behavior interventions for 6th graders. She is a pioneer in separating behavior from achievement in the area of grading.
Justin Jehn-Middle School and High School Lead Teacher: 6-12
Justin earned his Bachelor's of Science in Secondary Education in Biology and Chemistry, and his Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be his 14th year teaching at West Salem. Justin is a former high school science teacher who has accepted the role of providing leadership and instructional support to our middle and high school teachers. He has become an expert in secondary instruction and how to improve the performance of, and support, his peers. He is a data and observation expert, and an outstanding asset to the district.
Justin's Model Teacher Presentation was highlighted by the videos he made to help improve student performance on the ACT, and those he made with teachers to help them reflect on their performance.
Lisa Jones-Elementary School Music Teacher: K-5
Lisa earned her Bachelor's of Science in Music, and a Master's in Education from Viterbo University. This will be her 13th year teaching at West Salem. She is involved in various school activities, and is a sort of renaissance woman in our elementary school. She is a master at delivering music education to elementary school students. She shares her leadership abilities by spearheading the environmental day and reading nights. She willingly shares and supports her peers, but most of all, she instills a love of music in our kids.
Lisa's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her desire to replace recorders with keyboards. She knew kids could learn more about music by using a keyboard. She is constantly looking to improve her teaching, and continuously involves herself in opportunities for professional development.
Paul earned his Bachelor's of Science in Industrial Education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be his 19th year teaching at West Salem. He is a leader in the state of Wisconsin in vocational education with an emphasis on preparation to become an automotive technician. He has an unbelievable dedication to creating job site experiences and career opportunities for our high school students in the area of automotive technologies.
Paul's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by his creation of a night school academy for automotive training and ASE certification for our high school students. Thanks to Paul's dedication, WSHS is the only school in the area that offers this amazing opportunity to their students.
Lindy Meyers-Elementary School Physical Education: K-5
Lindy earned her Bachelor's of Science in Physical Education and a Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be her 14th year teaching at West Salem. Lindy is a stickler for high-quality physical education for the youngest of our students.
Lindy's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her willingness to experiment with rollerblades and obstacle courses, and her ability to create a creative approach to curriculum that prevents kids from repeating the same activities. Her presentation was highlighted by an almost letter perfect approach to standards-based instruction.
Erika Olson-Middle School Physical Education and Health: 6-8
Erika earned her Bachelor's of Science from Luther College and a Master's in Education from Concordia University. This will be her 8th year teaching at West Salem. Erika is one of the most positive and energetic people you will ever meet, and her enthusiasm and passion for what she does rubs off on the kids she teaches. She has an amazing ability to connect with students, and her passion and excitement for what she does is just one of the reasons the physical education program in our district is second-to-none.
Erika's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her work at the WOW conference, and standards and assessment, and leadership of her PLC.
Kari Schultz-Middle School Reading and English Teacher: Grade 6
Kari earned her Bachelor's in Elementary Education, and Master's of Education in Reading from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She has also obtained her Reading Teacher license and Reading Specialist license. This will be her 10th year teaching at West Salem. She is an outstanding professional, and an officer in the Midwest Reading Council (MWRC). In addition to teaching at WSMS, she is also a presenter and professor at Viterbo University.
Kari's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her meticulous classroom instruction and attention to planning and detail that integrates her reading instruction with the other core areas.
Rhea Servais-Elementary School Teacher: Grade 2
Rhea earned her Bachelor's in Early Childhood Elementary Education and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and her Early Childhood Certification from Viterbo University. This will be her 13th year teaching at West Salem. She is a dedicated, hard-working professional that cares very deeply about kids, which is evident in everything she does as a teacher.
Rhea's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her ability to monitor and report student growth and lead her children to not only meet the benchmark, but exceed. In addition to helping her students to succeed, she has a constant desire to expand and improve her own skill set.
Laura Skemp-Deal-High School English Teacher: 9-12
Laura earned her Bachelor's of Science in Education and English, and a Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be her 16th year teaching at West Salem. Laura has an unmatched passion for teaching and is dedicated to serving kids. She is a great relationship builder, and a dedicated West Salem alum. She is a master in her content area, and was invited by the DPI to develop questions for the state test in English.
Laura's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her connection with the newly created independent learning academy at the high school.
Kim Volden-High School English Teacher: 11-12
Kim earned her Bachelor's of Science in English Education and Philosophy from Winona State University, and a Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be her 16th year teaching at West Salem. She has an amazing ability to connect with soon-to-be high school graduates. Her development of a classroom climate conducive to success for soon-to-be adults is outstanding. She creates an environment that allows them to be comfortable and work to their highest potential.
Kim's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her use of data to improve her work. She has worked hard at measuring the standards connected to her performance and getting students to reach those levels. She willingly offered her support in developing an approach to improving our ACT scores, and has worked with
English PLCs to increase scores in standards to improve English.
Laura Wagner-Elementary School Teacher: Kindergarten
Laura earned her Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education, and a Master's of Education in Professional Development from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. This will be her 13th year teaching at West Salem. She is an outstanding professional educator at the top of her game. She is a master of her content area an dthe pedagogy that goes with teaching children. She creates a family atmosphere in her classroom and reaches out to parents.
Laura's Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by her willingness to lead her peers by leading book studies and sharing her ideas. Her lesson plans are connected to standards, based upon the needs of her students, and reflect student progress.
Model Teachers 2016
Mary Hundt - Elementary School Library Media Specialist: K-5
Mary earned a Bachelor’s degree in home economics from Viterbo College and later a Master’s degree in elementary education and instructional media from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Mary completed a portion of her student teaching experience at West Salem Elementary School in 1997. In the summer of 1998 Mary was formally hired to become the second member of the Library Media team at West Salem Elementary School. Mary is an absolute super star in our elementary school. She lives our mission statement every day as she serves the students and staff by offering creative and innovative approaches to discovery and learning.
Mary’s model presentation highlighted her approach to developing media literacy skills in our elementary students. Her 4th grade Digital Citizenship unit is remarkable. From virtual field trips and STEM centers to more traditional browsing and reading activities, Mary epitomizes the modern day media specialist.
Carrie Johnson - Elementary School Lead Teacher: K-2
Carrie is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Stout in the field of early childhood education. Carrie joined the team at West Salem Elementary School in 1999 as a kindergarten teacher. Carrie later earned a Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 2005. In 2013 Carrie agreed to serve as one of the lead teachers in our elementary school. Carrie’s experience as a classroom teacher, passion for data, and determined service for others make her the ideal lead teacher. She helps our teachers provide the very best for our kids!
Carrie’s Model Teacher presentation exemplified the use of data in our elementary school. From leading PLC group discussions on fluency levels to working directly with students in Rti groups, Carrie is simply a master teacher and a wonderful leader.
Jane Macdonald - Title I and Kindergarten Teacher: K
Jane earned a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Winona State University in 1996 and a Master’s degree from Saint Mary’s University in 2001. Jane joined the West Salem team in 1996 and has served our district as a kindergarten, first grade, lead, and Title I teacher. Jane is a distinguished educator earning a Kohl Fellowship in 2005 and a WKBT Top-Notch Teacher award in 2010. Jane has presented at literally dozens of professional conferences on writing, literacy, looping, and handwriting. Jane is a passionate and tireless professional who freely gives of her time and talents to improve the lives of children and the skills of her cohorts.
Jane’s Model Teacher presentation included an in depth look at improvements in reading levels by students enrolled in her Title I program along with a varied discussion about her vast experience and a presenter and continual learner.
Jesse McKinney - Elementary School Teacher: Grade 4
Jesse earned a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 1998 and a Master’s degree in professional development - constructivist classroom from UW-La Crosse in 2002. Jesse arrived in West Salem in 2013 with fifteen years of teaching experience including the previous ten at Hintgen Elementary School in La Crosse. Jesse’s passion, energy and unrivaled determination have transformed our 4th grade team. Jesse is an inspirational, goal orientated teacher committed to creating a family of learners in her room.
Jesse’s Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by reference to a pre-set Student Learner Outcome connected to vocabulary skills as measured by the MAPS test. The presentation revealed a passion for continued personal growth and most impressively her unmatched ability to create a “family” of 4th grade learners!
Jenny Morgan - Middle School Social Studies Teacher: Grade 8
Jenny earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Platteville in 1991 and a Master’s degree of professional development from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 2003. Jenny joined the West Salem team in 1994 after three years at Potosi High School. Jenny is a national leader in the field of social science education. She has offered presentations at the national conference for teachers of social studies on 5 different occasions and recently completed an NCSS summer leadership workshop in the U.S. Congress along with a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship studying the Mississippi Delta. Jenny’s classroom is alive with the latest strategies for helping middle school students to develop a passion for history through a series of personal experiences.
Jenny’s Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by the impressive array of learning and leadership activities in which she has participated over the years. Jenny is literally a national treasure who shares her expertise with our kids!
Jamie Olson - High School Physical Education & Health Teacher: 9-12
Jamie is a 1999 graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in physical education and health. He followed up with a Master’s degree in professional development from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 2005. Jamie is a graduate of West Salem High School who returned to West Salem as a teacher in 2006 following six years of teaching in Winona. A recent presentation at a school board meeting regarding a board grant depicted the use of heart rate monitors to track “effort” rather than skill in a physical education class. The students acquire life-long skills for a healthy approach to fitness and exercise. Jamie also offers his talents to his coworkers by leading a morning “boot camp” for person fitness.
Jamie’s Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by his leadership activities including his work with PLC, LinkCrew, building committees, and classroom innovation.
Ryan Waldhart - Middle School Instrumental Music: 6-8
Ryan earned a Bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 1998 and a Master’s degree in Servant Leadership from Viterbo University in 2010. Ryan was selected to serve as the West Salem Middle School Band Director in 2008 after two years in Spring Grove, MN and five years at Tomah High School in Tomah, WI. Our middle school instrumental music program is regionally renowned. Ryan and his band have played in the state capitol and won accolades for excellence in marching. Ryan was recently recognized by his peers with a state-level award. Ryan attended a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in rural Mississippi studying the culture of the delta.
Ryan’s Model Teacher presentation was highlighted by a Student Learning Outcome connected to sight reading music. Ryan also serves our middle school by regularly volunteering for leadership positions. Ryan’s professional accomplishments are exemplified by the unmatched quality of our middle bands. Ryan and his bands are a gift to our community.
Model Teachers 2015
Rhonda Andres - High School Alternative Education
Rhonda is a graduate of West Salem High School and a life long "panther" at heart. Following high school, Rhonda earned her Bachelor's degree in music education from the College of St. Teresa in Winona. After serving three years as a music teacher in Marshfield, WI, Rhonda and her family returned to West Salem. In 1995 Rhonda was hired to serve as a para-professional at West Salem High School. In the fall of 1999 Rhonda began her new career as a teacher in the newly created alternative high school located within West Salem High School. In 2008 Rhonda earned her Master's degree in Literacy and Learning in the Content area from Walden University. In addition to her teaching duties, Rhonda has championed the annual homecoming celebration and plays a critical role in our highly acclaimed drama department. Rhonda's Model presentation was highlighted by her background in literacy, her relationships with children, and her commitment to serving our entire high school.
Christine Antony-Elementary School Teacher: Grade 1
Christine earned a Bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Following graduation Chris worked for 9 years at Gundersen Lutheran in their hospital child care center. In the fall of 1999 Christine was hired to serve as an elementary school teacher at West Salem Elementary School. In 2005 she completed her Master's degree in professional development from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Christine is the consummate professional. She studies the craft of education and is a natural at the art of teaching. Christine's Model presentation exemplified the use of data to drive instructional practice followed by the purposeful application of appropriate instructional strategies. Christine is a master tactician with an expansive set of skills and strategies to serve her students. A highlight of her presentation was a number of hand-written notes sent to children and families. This typifies her dedication to her students.
Randy Dammon- High School Teacher: Science
Randy earned a Bachelor's degree in secondary science education from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 1978. Following teaching stints at Belmont High School in Belmont, WI and at Aquinas High School in La Crosse, Randy arrived at West Salem High School in 1993 to serve as science teacher and athletic director. In 2008 Randy earned a Master's Degree from Glendale University Santa Fe, NM. Randy is a master teacher with an uncanny ability to connect with high school students. He has a tenacious drive to for improvement and continued growth - always willing to try new and interesting things. In addition to his teaching career, Randy had an illustrious career as a wrestling coach with a number of team and individual state champions. Randy's model presentation was highlighted by videos of "Rube Goldberg" machines as submitted by freshmen and by his mastery learning approach to graphing. Randy was instrumental in the development of the Model teacher process and took a comprehensive approach to presenting artifacts from 35+ years of teaching.
Amy Hanson- High School Teacher: Vocal Music
Amy is a 1994 graduate of Viterbo University with Bachelor's degree in music education. Following a 5-year run as music teacher in Shawano, WI, Amy agreed to join the team in West Salem in the fall of 1999. She continued her education by earning a Master's degree from Viterbo in 2002. This also marked the year Amy was selected as a Herb Kohl Fellowship award winner. Amy returned to Viterbo in 2008 to become certified as a teacher of theater arts. Amy is a inspirational instructor who has taken our vocal music program to new heights in terms of both the quality of the music and the number of students who participate. Amy is also the driving force behind the continuation of our long-standing community tradition of excellence in offering a summer musical production. The past ten summers included an impressive list of broadway caliber shows. Amy's model presentation took a page from the work done by our seniors as part of the SEP process. Amy offered an electronic portfolio detailing her approach to both student and curriculum development. The program included a student-produced music video and a lesson plan connected to literacy development.
Angie Hemker-Elementary School Teacher: Art
Angie earned her Bachelor's degree in art education from Viterbo University in 1997. After a year of teaching part-time in Onalaska, Angie began her career in West Salem in the fall of 1998. Angie earned her Master's degree in professional development from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 2000. Angie is a "maestro" with primary students in the art room. Simply look around the Heider Meeting Room and review the impressive list of state award winners as evidence of her outstanding work. In addition, Angie has a passion for the Odyssey of the Mind program. While serving as our lead coach and program director the program has grown in both accomplishments and participants. Angie's model presentation was highlighted by her list of leadership activities. Taking an active role in developing the award-winning PSIS program including work with the Trends software demonstrates an impressive level of commitment to school-wide growth. In addition, she shared her work in contributing to literacy development with student produced reflective journals. Angie and the entire team of art teachers are critical to the continued push for the integration of "creativity" into all we do.
Mike Lang-Middle School Counselor
Mike earned a Bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh in 1991 and followed up with Master's degree in counseling in 1994 also from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. Following three years of work as a school counselor in Lena, WI, Mike joined the West Salem team in 1998. Mike defines the role of middle school counselor. He engages with students, provides leadership for teachers, support families and models a professional approach. His work with the middle school A/A program and his contribution to events such as Winter Wellness and the 7th grade trip to the OEC typify his many contributions to our children.
Mike's model presentation was highlighted by his discussion of applying the Fundamental Five teaching model. Mike enrolled in a for-credit course offered locally by another faculty member. Mike applied the lessons learned to his approach to teaching Life Skills to middle school students in the A/A program. It demonstrated a commitment to professional growth, high-quality instruction, risk-taking and creating a positive environment.
Teresa Lassig-Middle School Success Center Teacher
Teri earned her Bachelor's degree with a major in elementary education and minor in Spanish from Viterbo University in 1995. Following time as a substitute teacher and one year as a Spanish teacher in La Crosse, Teri began her career in West Salem as a middle school Spanish teacher 1997. _Teri completed her Master's degree in 2007 from Viterbo University. The program included certification as a Reading Specialist. Teri currently serves as the Lead Teacher for our middle school. She is an adjunct professor in the area of reading education at Viterbo University. Teri works with our middle school staff in interpreting data and changing instruction to improve literacy development. Her connections with the state reading association and Viterbo are invaluable in improving the quality of our staff development. Teri's model teacher presentation included an impressive discussion on professional growth and development. Teri shared a lengthy list of conferences and professional development activities she has attended or lead. An additional point of interest was a discussion about Teri having two separate groups of students - she teaches both students and teachers. She is able to track the growth of both!
Chris Milne-High School Teacher: Math
Chris earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse in 1996. He completed his student teaching at West Salem High School in the spring of 1996. A retirement created an opening allowing Chris to formally join the WS team in the fall of 1996. Chris earned a Master's degree from Viterbo University in 2008. Chris accepted the challenge of instructing our best and brightest from day one. He recently elevated our calculus programming to the level of Advanced Placement. Also certified as a physics teacher, Chris worked closely with the science department to strengthen the mathematics component of our physics offering. Chris's Model teacher presentation was inspiring. The application of his graduate work to create a mastery learning and cooperative grouping approach was outstanding. His creation of a "flipped classroom" and standardized grading serve as examples for the changing landscape of high school assessment strategies. His use of the Fundamental Five approach was spot on. His model presentation will help us to better guide those who follow in terms of his thorough and purposeful approach.
Tracy Hesse- Elementary School Teacher: Grade 2
Tracy earned her Bachelor's degree in elementary education and a minor in mathematics. She is a graduate of West Salem High School. She was a paraprofessional at West Salem Elementary School from 1996-97 and a Title I teacher, grade 5-8, at Cashton Elementary School from 1997-99 until she was hired by WSSD in July 1999. Tracy's model teacher presentation shared about all the professional communities she has been a part of to establish new curriculum or adopt new educational textbooks. She also shared some of the programs she helped initiate, for example 4 Block and Words Their Way. The presentation mostly consisted of what she does in the classroom and how she communicates with parents.
Susi Holm- High School Teacher: Mathematics
Susi earned her Bachelor's degree from Mankato State University in 1995. Her major was mathematics and her minor was middle school. She also received her Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from Viterbo University in 2006. She was hired by the School District of West Salem in May 1998. Prior to WSHS, she taught at La Crescent High School from 1995-1998. Along with teaching, Susi has been actively involved with students outside of the classroom. Susi coached volleyball, basketball, and softball (all levels) for more than 10 years. Susi's model teacher presentation highlighted her success in reaching all levels of students in math. Susi demonstrated her ability to connect with students, staff, and parents.
Shelly Helland-High School Teacher: Spanish
Shelly earned her Bachelor's degree in Sciences and Humanities-Spanish from Iowa State University. She also has a Masters of Education in Professional Development from UWL which she earned in 2002. She taught at Houston High School in MN from 1986-1994, Rushford High School in MN from 1987-1991, and has been a volleyball coach in West Salem and other districts. Shelly's model teacher presentation was about using Comprehensible Input methods as opposed to traditional rote memorization methods to improve student retention of vocabulary and various structures of the Spanish language over time.