Whitewater educator among top teachers
Peggy Wuenstel, a fifth-grade speech and language teacher at Washington Elementary School, was given the honor during a surprise ceremony Friday. State Superintendent Tony Evers named her Wisconsin’s Special Services Teacher of the Year for her ability to inspire students and use creativity in the classroom.
“Recognizing Wuenstel in a substantial way not only rewards someone who has devoted her life to teaching children,” Evers said, “it also focuses attention on the importance of having caring, committed adults in our classrooms. We need quality educators to ensure that every student graduates ready for the workforce or further education.”
Wuenstel will receive $3,000 from U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl’s education foundation. Evers also will recognize her during his state of education address Thursday in Madison.
Wuenstel created several programs at her school, including a family math night, a science fair and a “Feeling My Letters” program to aid in kindergarten instruction.
She serves on the Leadership Team, Curriculum Council, Parents and Teachers Together, and the Building Resource Team.
“I believe that you can only work to become a better teacher if you are also working to become a better person,” Wuenstel wrote in her application.
One parent said Wuenstel expressed the desire to have her son with an autism spectrum disorder taught in a regular classroom. Wuenstel educated herself and her son’s teachers to help meet his needs, the parent wrote.
Wuenstel is a graduate of Marquette University and also teaches at UW-Whitewater. Before teaching at Washington Elementary School, she was at Lakeview Elementary and Whitewater Middle schools in Whitewater.
Teachers from East Troy, Waukesha and Wauwatosa also were recognized as the state’s top educators.