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And Away We Go….

As Superintendent of the D.C. Everest Area School District, I have the honor of representing our students, teachers, staff, parents and community at a wide range of events across the state and nation. I also have the distinct pleasure of visiting our schools — participating in classroom projects, listening to student presentations or getting a lesson in the use of the latest technology — and attending DCE sporting events, musicals, exhibitions, plays, book launch parties and award ceremonies.

What have I learned while being “Out and About”? D.C. Everest is one of a kind. Our District is respected by others — for our integration of new technologies, innovative teaching and learning strategies and exceptional academic, artistic and athletic performance. As a whole, we are seen as leaders. Our District serves as an example for others and they are eager to learn from us. We have earned this reputation through the combined efforts of our local businesses, community members, families, staff, students and teachers, and because of those efforts I have been invited to represent our District at some of the educational industry’s top events.

This blog will attempt to encapsulate what I learn, whom I meet and what I experience while traveling within our District and ‘out and about’. Hopefully, by sharing perspectives from within and without our District, you will become better acquainted with what makes DCE unique and how it will impact our future generations and serve our community.

So, where to start?

Well, thanks to Pam Gresser, who teaches fifth grade at Rothschild Elementary — we start by making history. For the first time in our District’s history, we have a Wisconsin Elementary Teacher of the Year in our midst. Of the nearly 60,000 teachers in our state, Mrs. Gresser was chosen as the best-of-the-best and it is an honor she most certainly deserves.

On September 9, State Superintendent Tony Evers presented Mrs. Gresser with the award at a surprise ceremony held at the school. What struck me most about that day was Mrs. Gresser’s message. Despite the standing ovation, despite the nominations written on her behalf — by former students, parents, fellow teachers and Prinicipal Rena Sabey — Mrs. Gresser focused on those around her. She didn’t accept the award on behalf of herself — she noted the award was “not about me” and accepted it on behalf of the “wonderful educators and staff members at this school.”

This statement encapsulates our staff and teachers in a nutshell. When it comes to building a future for our children, our teachers and staff think in terms of “we,” not “me.” They care about students and their families. They devote countless hours to host student clubs that allow students to pursue interests ranging from biomolecular modeling, robotics and math, to origami, knitting and snowboarding. They are involved in community organizations that work for the greater good. And they tirelessly seek new ways to engage individual students, help them explore their interests and strive to reach their potential. As Mrs. Gresser put it, "I have one year when these kids are in my classroom. And that one year can make or break them, so every year I feel that they deserve my very best."

So, let us celebrate the Wisconsin Elementary Teacher of the Year — Pam Gresser. And in doing so, let us follow Mrs. Gresser’s example and thank all of the DCE staff and teachers who build a strong, supportive community for our students and their families.

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Dr. Kristine Gilmore