Stritch supports Wisconsin with award-winning educators

Monday, December 16, 2013 7:45:00 PM

Generations of women and men with bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in education from Stritch work throughout the state and nation leading classrooms, schools, and districts, and carry on a legacy set by the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi who founded the school with an early focus on teacher training programs.

In 2012 alone, Stritch conferred 324 education degrees, which places it in the top quarter of Wisconsin universities and colleges for number of graduates last year, according to rankings done by the Online College Database, a directory of U.S. colleges.

This year, among those thousands of Stritch graduates, the University is especially proud of the honor bestowed on three alumane, who distinguished themselves in their profession and gained recognition from national organizations.

In October, Sarah Berndt, '04 received a 2013 Milken Educator Award, recognizing her work teaching ninth-grade Spanish and an introductory international baccalaureate class at Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School in Milwaukee. The only recipient in Wisconsin this year and one of only 40 nationwide, Berndt received an unrestricted $25,000 award as part of the honor.

The Milken Educator Awards program rewards and inspires excellence in the world of education by honoring top educators around the country. According to its website, the award is "not an accolade for 'lifetime achievement' or the proverbial gold watch at the exit door; the Milken Educator Awards targets early-to-mid career education professionals for their already impressive achievements and, more significantly, for the promise of what they will accomplish in the future."

In September, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction named Anne Hasse, '99, one of four 2013-14 Wisconsin Teachers of the Year, chosen from 86 Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship recipients. A 5th grade teacher at Wakanda Elementary School in the Menomonie School District, Hasse began her teaching career in 1996. Along with the Elementary School Teacher of the Year honor, she received an unrestricted $3,000 award from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

To be considered for the award, parents, colleagues, students, community members, and school district administrators submit nominations to a statewide panel of educators, parents and community leaders. Chosen teachers are recognized "for their ability to inspire students' love of learning, instructional innovation and leadership, and commitment to community involvement," according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Early this year, Pewaukee School District Superintendent Dr. JoAnn Sternke, '88, '11, accepted Wisconsin's 2013 Superintendent of the Year award, presented by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators. She went on to represent Wisconsin in the 2013 National Superintendent of the Year program in February.

According to the WASDA website, the Superintendent of the Year program has become widely acknowledged as the most prestigious honor a school system leader can attain. Applicants are measured by such criteria as successfully meeting the needs of students; personal and organizational communication; professionalism; participation in local community activities; and an understanding of regional, national, and international issues. Nomination letters and letters of recommendation are also considered.

“The College of Education and Leadership is immensely proud of these three outstanding alumni,” said Dr. Freda Russell, dean of the college. “Stritch’s commitment to exemplary teacher training dates back to the very founding of this university in 1937, and this recent recognition raffirms the exceptional work that is being done by our graduates in schools across Wisconsin and beyond.”