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By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — An Elk Mound middle school English Language Arts teacher has been awarded a $6,000 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Teacher Fellowship.
The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation announced earlier this month that Nicole Resch, a seventh and eighth grade teacher in Elk Mound, had been awarded the fellowship.
In addition to $6,000 for Resch’s classroom, Elk Mound Middle School also will receive $6,000.
The purpose of the Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship program “is to recognize and support teaching excellence and innovation,” and the “goal is to support Wisconsin teachers in pursuit of their unrealized goals for their classrooms or professional development,” according to the Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship application guidelines.
All together, 100 teachers and 100 schools will each receive $6,000 grants.
Teachers must be nominated for the fellowship, and Chris Hahn, principal at Elk Mound Middle School, nominated Resch.
“We were very excited to hear about her receiving this award,” Hahn said in an e-mail message to the Colfax Messenger.
“I nominated her because she has done so many things in our building to impact students. First of all, she is an incredible teacher in the classroom,” he said.
Resch is “always willing to do what is best for all of her students, regardless of what they need or when they need it. Nicole participates on several committees in our building. She often takes a leadership role in these groups and is always willing to help,” Hahn said.
“Nicole has started a successful Leadership Club for middle school students along with coaching track and volleyball. The Leadership Club has helped our students give back to the community in several ways. They have volunteered to help at Ruby’s Pantry, shoveled snow for people in the village, gone to an assisted living facility to meet with residents and made blankets for people during the holidays,” Hahn said.
“Nicole also greets students each morning by the front door where students unload from the buses. She greets every student with a positive compliment, a good morning, and a high five. She has music playing, and it’s wonderful to see all of our students enter the building with a smile on their face because she takes it upon herself to make a difference each and every day,” he said.
Hahn said he does not know how Resch is planning to use the $6,000 in her classroom, but Elk Mound Middle School will probably use the school’s $6,000 toward technology in the building.
“I’m so proud of all of our teachers at Elk Mound Middle School for making a difference in students’ lives. It truly is a great place for students,” Hahn said.
“I am so happy Nicole was honored with this award. She is a very deserving recipient. We are lucky to have her teaching students in Elk Mound,” he said.
According to the fellowship application guidelines, teachers must teach in a public school district and be nominated by students, parents, other teachers, community members or administrators.
Applicants for the Kohl Fellowship are evaluated on personal educational philosophy; how they work to raise achievement for all students; how they inspire students’ love of learning and engage parents; innovative projects and programs; unrealized goals for their classroom or professional development; positive aspects they see in education and changes they would like to see made; and commitment to their community, including service, citizenship and civic engagement.
The Statewide Selection Committee met early in 2019 to review the applications and make selections.
Resch will be honored at an awards ceremony at Chippewa Falls Middle School on March 31.
Recipients of the Kohl Teacher Fellowships are automatically candidates for the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year program.
Four Wisconsin Teachers of the Year are selected by a State Teacher of the Year Selection Committee.
The committee uses the teachers’ Kohl Fellowship applications to make a selection in four categories: elementary, middle school/junior high, high school and special services.
The four teachers are interviewed in Madison to decide which one will be the Wisconsin nominee for National Teacher of the Year.