Staff Profile

MS. BAGURDES - I attended Kindergarten: Cooper (MPS); Grades 1-8: St. Roman ; High School: Thomas More ; College: Cardinal Stritch.  I wanted to combine my two passions: teaching young children and children's literature.  This led me on the path to becoming a kindergarten teacher at Jefferson.

MS. BAHL - I attended Kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary, West Allis; Grades 1-8, Holy Assumption, West Allis; Gr. 9, John Dewey, West Allis; Gr. 9-12, West Allis Central.  Then I attended UW-LaCrosse and graduated with my Bachelor's Degree, attended UW-Milwaukee and earned my Master's Degree, and Lesley University, MA.   I first became interested in teaching when I worked for the WAWM Recreation Department as a summer playground instructor at Wilson School where I worked on my summer vacations during college.

MS. BENEDICT - Growing up in Madison, I went to Crestwood Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School, and Memorial High School. After graduating from high school, I went to UW -Eau Claire for four years and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. After graduation, I moved to the Milwaukee area and was a substitute teacher while searching for a degree as a graphic designer. After several years as a graphic designer, I missed the time I had spent in the classroom as a sub, and went back to school for my Master of Arts in Teaching at Cardinal Stritch University.

MS. BINA (MUSIC) - I grew up in LaCrosse, WI, and went to Hamilton Elementary School, Lincoln Middle School, and LaCrosse Central High School.  I graduated in 1990 and went to St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN to study music.  While there, I decided that teaching and making music is what I was meant to do.  I graduated in 1994 with a BA in Music Education and did my student teaching experience in Chicago, IL at Marie Curie High School and Disney Magnet School (elementary).  I began my teaching career at three area Catholic schools, and then found a full-time position in Kenosha.  I taught at Stocker Elementary in Kenosha from 1995-2001, when I made the move to Jefferson.  In 2008 I completed my Master's Degree through Marian University in Educational Technology.  And I keep learning every day.

MS. BOHNE-   I went to school at Kerrtown Elementary School, Meadville, PA. K5-5th grade; Bay Lane Middle School, Muskego, WI 6th-8th grade; Muskego High School 9th-10th grade; UW Whitewater/ UW Milwaukee - bachelors degree in education; Cardinal Stritch University - masters degree in reading.  I know it sounds cliche...but always wanted to be a teacher.  I was always drawn to children..I nannied and babysat a lot growing up.  I felt a connection to kids and still enjoy them after 25 years!

MR. BRAATZ - I grew up in West Bend and attended Fair Park Elementary School through the 4th grade. Half way through my 5th grade year, I moved to Slinger where I attended Slinger Middle School and High School. After graduating high school, I attended UW-Washington County, receiving my Associate of Science Degree. I then attended UW-Milwaukee, graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. After working as a police officer with the Menomonee Falls Police Department, I attended Cardinal Stritch University and graduated with a Masters of Arts in Teaching. I like to spend my free time cycling, kayaking, and farming.

MS. COLLINS (ART) - My education started with Lincoln Elementary in Port Washington for kindergarten through fourth grade.  I then attended Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Port Washington for fifth through eighth grade.  I graduated from Port Washington High School ini 2002.  I went on to study Art Education at UW-Whitewater and graduated in 2006.  I was thrilled to start my career for the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District in 2007.  I am currently working towards my Master's Degree through Concordia University.  One of the main reasons that I became an art teacher is because growing up, I watched one of my brothers struggle with the academic side of school.  What kept him excited about school was physical education and sports programs.  The physical education program made a difference in building confidence in my brother in the school setting, when he wasn't able to find this in other areas.  Being that art class was always my favorite in school, I decided to become an art teacher to especially support students like my brother.  My purpose is to do the same for the students who enjoy making art.  I want to empower all of my students in creating artwork and utilizing their creativity!  This is why I find my job meaningful.

MR. CRANDALL - I started my elementary schooling at Brodhead (WI) elementary school. I went to school in Brodhead until we moved into the Parkview School District (Orfordville, WI) in the 5th grade. I attended Parkview Junior/Senior High from 7th grade until I graduated High School. I earned my bachelor degree in Health Promotion and Wellness from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point (UWSP), and while attending UWSP I became involved in adventure education. This is what led me into the Counseling Field. I attended the University of Wisconsin Whitewater and earned a masters degree in Counseling. I feel that continue to educate myself is very important, so I continue to learn and I am currently finishing a degree in Educational Leadership from Marian University. I have worked with students in the West Allis/West Milwaukee School District from grades 4k-12, and am looking forward to working with the students here at Jefferson Elementary.

MR. DAKIN - I grew up in Vermont, and attended Chester-Andover Elementary school where I thought I had the best teachers ever - they made me want to come to school every day to see what would learn that would be different from the day before.  For high school, I attended Northfield Mt. Hermon school in Massachusetts.  Again, I thought I had the very best teachers, because I was excited about school, and that came from my teachers. I went to college at the University of Vermont and made up my mind - I wanted to give every child that same opportunity to feel like I did in school - excited, encouraged, and supported.



MS. GALEWSKI - I went to school at Oklahoma Avenue school, Audobon Junior High School, Pulaski High School, UWM, and have taken additional classes at Cardinal Stritch University, Mount Mary College, and UW-Green Bay.  My fourth grade teacher was an amazing woman.  She made learning so much fun that I decided being a teacher must be the best job in the whole world.  And it is!

I have been teaching kindergarten for more than 25 years and has helped to train 15 student teachers.  Previously an educational newspaper reporter, she is an award winning writer who has had articles published in newspapers and magazines.  But her first love is teaching children.

MS. GEISS - I was born and raised in Greendale, Wisconsin-- where I attended school from kindergarten through high school.  I was raised in a household of teachers-- in which I learned the joys and rewards of educating.  From there, I began my pursuit of teaching at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education with Honors in 1997.  My career immediately began after graduation in West Allis at Jefferson Elementary.  I was overjoyed at the chance to teach in this district as my father had before me.  I teach my students that learning never stops.  In order to practice what I preach, I slowly began my education towards a Master's Degree the summer following my first year of teaching.  I started by taking a few classes a year and slowly increased the amount of courses each year.  I am proud to say that I received my Master of the Arts with Honors this past summer.  I am excited to continue learning and implementing innovative pedagogical theories and techniques in my classroom.

MS. GENGLER - I attended both elementary (Victory) and high school (Pulaski) in the Milwaukee Public school system.  I got my Bachelors Degree from UW-Stevens Point and my Masters of Education degree from Lesley University.    I honestly don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a teacher or work with children.  I have always been involved with children, from babysitting and tutoring to working in daycare to pay my way through college and eventually teaching.  I have been teaching for 23 years and with the exception of 1 year of substitute teaching, I have always taught either kindergarten or first grade. 

MS. HAGENSICK - I have moved many times in my life, and am happy to now call the Milwaukee area my home! I attended grade school K5-4th grade at Valley Elementary School in Frederick, Maryland. I then moved to Stevens Point, Wisconsin where I attended Roosevelt Elementary School for 5th and 6th grade, 7th-9th grade at Ben Franklin Junior High, and graduated high school in 2002 from Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH). I attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Education. I taught 3rd grade for 3 years in Milwaukee, and taught Reading/Math Intervention to Kindergarten to 5th grade for 1 year in Milwaukee. After teaching for a few years, I decided that my passion for helping kids learn to read should be a focus in my career. In 2011, I enrolled in Cardinal Stritch University to receive my Masters of Arts in Literacy and Language Arts. I will graduate in the summer of 2014 with a License to be a Reading Specialist. I enjoy the challenges and rewards that come with reading a book. My goal is to inspire my students to be self-motivated, self-starting learners through their love of reading.

MS. HEBERT - My name is Sue Hebert.  I grew up in West Allis and went to school at General Mitchell, Frank Lloyd Wright, and graduated from Nathan Hale.  I went to UW Milwaukee to become a teacher.  I went on to receive my Master's Degree in the area of reading in 1995 from Cardinal Stritch University.  I have taught in the City of Greenfield for 20 years in first and second grade, and last year came to West Allis where I taught grades 2/3 at Madison Elementary.  I like to spend free time with my two teenage children and husband.  We like to go up north and spend time swimming, fishing, and boating in Winter Wisconsin.  I am very passionate about helping students to become confident, successful learners and I look forward to working with Ms. Sack, our students, and their families to have a great year!

MS. HUEBNER - My schooling was as follows: K through Grade 1 Winston Salem, NC; Grade 2 through 3 St. Sylvester Grade School South Milwaukee, WI; Grade 4 through 8 St. Rita Grade School Racine, WI; Grade 9 through 11 St. Catherine's High School Racine, WI; Grade 12 Marinette High School Marinette, WI; University/Undergraduate/Bachelor's Degree Mount Mary College Milwaukee, WI; University/Graduate/Master's Degree Cardinal Stritch College Milwaukee, WI; University/Graduate/Overseas Program Summer Study Abroad/England.   Teaching/Education seems to be a family legacy, with my grandmother and her two sisters earning degrees in various areas of education. My family history shows that my great/great- great and great-great-great grandparents all earned college degrees. My mother went back to college while I was in grade school, and earned a BA in English.  She taught grade school for 20 years. My sister (who does not have a degree in education) home-schooled her three children with tremendous success!  Her daughter, who attends the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will be serving as a Teaching Assistant as she works on her Master's Degree in Communication. My daughter, Diana, is currently studying Chiropractic Medicine (DC)/Accupuncture (MA) and a Diplomate in Rehabilitation/Sports Medicine and will be serving as a Teaching Assistant in her Clinical Lab studies. During the 2012-13 school year, I will be working at Marquette University as a supervisor to the students working on their Master's Degree in Reading in the MU Reading Lab. All in the family!!!

MR. IRWIN - I began my school career attending 5 year old kindergarten at Alcott School in Milwaukee.  After kindergarten, I moved on to St. Matthias Catholic School for 1st through 8th grade.  During the spring of my 8th grade year, my family moved into the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District.  I would attend Nathan Hale High School in West Allis for the next 4 years.  While in high school, I began to think about the age old question, "What do I want to do with my life?"  I really enjoyed math, so I thought maybe accounting.  Then, I started to work for the West Allis Recreation Department.  As I started to work with younger kids, I realized that teaching might be a better choice for me.  After I completed high school, I attended the University of Wisconsin--Green Bay studying elementary education as my major and a minor in mathematics. As a part time job in college, I worked for the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay.  I had awesome experiences working with many diverse kids, and this let me know that I had made the right choice and teaching would be the best career for me.  I took the education from UWGB and I applied it in teaching in the Milwaukee Public School system and currently teaching at Jefferson Elementary in West Allis.  I have continued my education by attending Lakeland College where I earned a general Master's Degree in Education. 

MS. KLEINOWSKI - Growing up, I never thought I'd become a reading teacher.  No one in my family had ever gone to college, however growing up in both West Allis and Menomonee Falls, I had dedicated teachers who took the time to get to know me, encourage me to rise above any obstacles life would throw my way, and to never, ever stop learning.  When I wasn't reading a pile of books, or writing in journals, I was babysitting.  Children have always brought so much joy and wonder to my day! After high school, I was determined to be the first one in my family to graduate college. When I went to Cardinal Stritch University for my bachelor's degree, I began thinking, "What job could I have that would be rewarding and challenging every day, and one in which I could help others?"  I realized that being a teacher would be just that!  After graduating in 2004 with an emphasis on literacy instruction, I began working in a parochial school as a 4/5 teacher.  It was during my first year of teaching that I thought, "I can't stop learning, I need to go back to school!"  In 2007, I graduated with a master's degree from Cardinal Stritch University, emphasizing on reading and learning disabilities. I worked in charter and rural schools after that, and now I feel very fortunate to be working at Jefferson, where I work with dedicated teachers; just like the teachers I had growing up!  My job is rewarding, challenging, and I have the opportunity to help out children each day.  My husband, Kent, is also a teacher in the WAWM district, and our son, Konner enjoys reading more than anything else. Maybe he'll be a teacher, one day, too!

MR. KLOBUKOWSKI (PHY ED) - I grew up living in West Allis and attended Longfellow and St. Rita’s elementary schools.  I then went on to Horace Mann Jr. High and graduated from West Milwaukee High School (when it was a high school).  My parents were a big influence in determining my direction after high school.  I first attended M.A.T.C. to learn what business was all about.  During my high school and early college years I was working part time for the WA-WM Recreation Department.  I soon found a passion working, coaching, and exercising with the children of our community.  So I followed my heart and transferred to UW-Whitewater to pursue a degree in Physical Education.  A fulltime instructor position opened up in the WA-WM Recreation Department so I applied and was fortunate to get hired.  So I transferred to UW-Milwaukee and graduated from there.  After working over 20 years in the Recreation Department I wanted to be able to teach so I attended Carroll College and earned my teaching certification.  I was then hired here at Jefferson.  During my time at Jefferson, I earned a Master’s Degree from Cardinal Stritch University in education.  Currently besides teaching I am able to coach Girls Cross Country and Boys Track at West Allis Central.  My goal at Jefferson is to keep our student body moving.  Exercise is so important as we grow and if students develop positive feelings towards exercising and working out hopefully this will carry on for them throughout their lifetime.

- I attended three different elementary schools in the Milwaukee Public School system.  I attended Fritsche Middle School and Bay View High School, all a part of the MPS school system.  I attended four different colleges and graduated from Cardinal Stritch College (now University).  When I was 16, I had a teacher who suddenly lost her husband in an accident.  She had five young children at the time and she set the example for me of how important it was to be able to provide for your family should something unexpected happen in life.  I took my time getting my college degree.  While in college, I worked at a day care, got married, and started a family.  It was very busy and very fulfilling.  About eight years ago, I went on for my Master's Degree.  Today I tell my friends and relatives to set your goals and work at them little by little.  Enjoy the journey, stick to it, and before you know it you've accomplished something great!

MS. KUKLA (SPEECH/LANG) - I grew up on a farm and attended Ashippun Elementary School from Kindergaren through 6th grade.  I attended 7th-9th grade at Oconomowoc Junior High School and 10th through 12th grade at Oconomowoc High School.  Upon high school graduation, I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and Speech Language Pathology.  I then attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for a Master of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology.  I knew from the time I was in Kindergarten that I wanted to be a teacher because I love working with others.  My philosophy is that your education is something NO ONE can ever take away from you -  it is yours forever!

MS. LEIGHTON - I began my school journey in a half-day kindergarten program at Tess Corners Elementary School in Muskego, Wisconsin.  Ironically, this is now where my own children attend.  I stayed there from Kindergarten until fifth grade.  After fifth grade, I moved on to Bay Lane Middle School.  I attended this school for three years.  When middle school ended, I went to Muskego High School.  I graduated in 1993.  I was very lucky to have been able to stay in the same district for my entire school career.  Then I began my college chapter at UW-Whitewater where I double-majored in education and special education.  I graduated in December of 1999 with a Bachelor's Degree  in education grades 1 through 9 and special education kindergarten through grade 9.  I was inspired to become a teacher in third grade.  I had the best third grade teacher named Mrs. Stolcen.  She was kind, caring, and funny.  She was a teacher that made learning relaxing and enjoyable.  I feel very proud that I could be inspired to be something at such a young age and follow through with that goal into adulthood.

MS. MARTIN (GCT/ TRANSITION READING) - I am originally from Irwin, Pennsylvania.  My elementary school was 5 year old kindergarten through sixth grade.  Our junior high was grade 7 through 9, and our high school was grade 10 through 12.  I attended Mount Aloysius Jr. College in Cresson, Pennsylvania.  There I received a degree in occupational therapy.  I worked in health care for twenty-five years.  I moved to Wisconsin and had a family.  My girls were in elementary school when I volunteered as a parent tutor and was heading our school's PTA here in Milwaukee.  I enjoyed working with students and making a difference.  I decided to go back to school and change careers.  I attended Lakeland College here in West Allis and received my Bachelor's of Science in Education.  Three years ago I went back to school and received my Masters in Reading from Concordia University.

MS. PALESSE (4K) - I went to Milwaukee's Manitoba Elementary School for 1/2 day 5K, then on to 1st grade at Blessed Sacrament School in Milwaukee.  We moved to West Allis and then I attended St. Mathias Catholic Grade school for 2nd to 8th grade.  It was onto West Allis Lane Junior High for 9th grade, followed by West Allis Hale H.S.  I decided to attend UW-Waukesha for a year to save money and live at home for my first year of college. Then I completed my degree in Early Childhood Education at UW-Whitewater.  The reason I became involved in education developed from my high school senior year's second semester internship at Hoover School and my many years of working for the West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation Department.

MS. PHILLIPSON - I grew up in Greendale, Wisconsin and attended Hales Corners Lutheran School, a small parochial school from Pre-K all the way through 8th grade.  The following year I attended another small parochial school: Martin Luther High School in Greendale.  After graduation I attended UW-Milwaukee where I received my Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.  Immediately following graduation I started working in MPS teaching first grade and later K4.  In 2012, I had the opportunity to become part of the Jefferson family as a long-term substitute teacher in third grade.  In 2013, I came back to Jefferson as a full-time teacher in the first, second, and third grade NxGL team.  What made me become a teacher were my high school teachers who really pushed me to become a better learner and who showed me my learning potential.  I worked very closely with children while I was employed at Children's Hospital, and wanted to combine the drive I had for education and children together.

MS. PODBIELSKI (TITLE READING) - I was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. So, except for college, I attended all schools in NE. I started at Huntington Elementary School (K-6), then went on to Dawes Jr. High School (grades 7-9), and finally, Lincoln Northeast Senior High School (grades 10-12). I graduated with the class of 1986!  During my senior year of high school, Government class was required. Well, at that time, teachers could require students to participate in volunteering as part of the grade. Therefore, this teacher required all of us to do 20 hours of volunteer work. I knew, even in high school and before, that I wanted to be a teacher. Therefore, I went to my elementary school (Huntington) and asked if I could do my volunteer hours there. It was approved and I worked with a 4th grade boy who was struggling in reading. Looking back, I had no idea what to do for him, but I listened to him read with patience. I think that was the best that I could have done…just listen to him read!  After that volunteering experience, I knew that I wanted to work with kids who struggled in school. I wanted to help them, and let school become a good experience, not a frustrating and embarrassing experience.  I started school in Nebraska at the University of NE-Lincoln and, after getting married, completed my education here in Wisconsin at UW-Milwaukee.  I've been a Special Education teacher for 13 years and so excited to start my 14th year teaching as a Reading teacher!

MS. RIVEST (IMC/TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATOR)- I started my education at Big Bend Elementary in the Mukwanago School District.  In middle school, my family moved to North Fond du Lac. I lived there until I graduated from Horace Mann High School.  I transported myself to Whitewater in the fall to study advertising.  I graduated with a bachelors degree in communcations from UW-Whitewater.  After college, I relocated to Milwaukee and started my professional career doing graphic design.  While working as a designer, I also mentored middle school students at the YMCA.  After three years, I made the choice to pursue a teaching certification so I could be of further assistance to kids in the community.  I earned my teaching certification from Cardinal Stritch University.  I've been teaching students in the Milwaukee Area for eight years.  I am currently working at Jefferson Elementary as a Technology Integrator.  This is a position that allows me to teach how we can use technology to communicate creatively to others.

MS. ROBILLARD - I spent the first part of my childhood in Ithaca, New York where I attended Caroline Elementary School and Dewitt Middle School. Shortly before eighth grade, my family moved to Pennsylvania where I attended Park Forest Middle School and State College Area High School. After graduating from High School, I went to Penn State University where I received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography.  During my first year out of college, I began working in the fields of Outdoor and Environmental Education, which is when I first began to see my future as teacher.  My love for learning, along with recognizing that all students need a teacher that believes in them are contributing factors that led me to become involved in education. Since then, I have received a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Education from University of Minnesota, and a Teaching Certificate from Cardinal Stritch University.

MS. SACK My name is Korinne Sack.  I went to school in the West Allis/West Milwaukee School District, I went to General Mitchell, Frank Lloyd Wright and I graduated in 2002 from Nathan Hale High School.  I have always wanted to be a teacher.   By the time I was fifteen I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I “grew up”.  I went to college at UW-Milwaukee where I worked hard to graduate from their school of education with honors.  I have been teaching here at Jefferson and in the Milwaukee area for the last six years, I hope to make this year the best. Please feel free to contact me, I believe that parents, families and community organizations are just as important to our learning community as the students or myself.

MS. SAGE - I attended a number of schools in my elementary and middle school years in Manitowoc, Two Rivers, and Kohler, Wisconsin.  I attended Kohler High School until my junior year and then completed my senior year and graduated from Whitewater High School.  I then went on to UW-Whitewater to get my undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in French and then continued at UW-Whitewater to get my master's degree in School Psychology.  I've worked as a school psychologist for 10 years in a district near Rockford, Illinois and currently have been workin as a school psychologist in the WAWM School District for 17 years.  I chose to become a school psychologist because I am passionate about helping children to have a mentally and physically healthy childhoold and to become successful adults.  Outside of school I enjoy my son, David, who is 20 years old and attending WCTC for culinary school and my daughter, Anna, who is 17 and planning to attend college to become an elementary school teacher.  All three of us are also very involved in a vareity of types of dance.

MS. SEMRAD - My journey through my educational career started at Mill Valley Elementary School, in Muskego, where I attended kindergarten through fifth grade. My interest in becoming a teacher began there when I was in third grade because of my teacher Ms. Hodgkinson. Her excitement for teaching made learning fun and I began to think about following in her foot steps! The next step was Bay Lane Middle School and then Muskego High School. During my sophomore year I was guided to focus on planning a career path and researching colleges that would meet the requirements for the degree I wanted to obtain. I decided to attend the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee mainly because their education program emphasized teaching in urban communities. Growing up in a small town, I had always wanted to move to a city and teach in diverse settings. Attending UWM allowed me to do both. My family, friends, teachers and colleagues have helped me grow into an individual and professional educator who is a proud member of the Jefferson Elementary community!

MS. SIMON -  I attended Longfellow Elementary, Horace Mann Middle School, and then Nathan Hale for high school--all in West Allis.  Then I spent 2 years at Elmhurst College, 2-1/2 years at Lewis University in Joliet, Illinois where I transferred to Division 2 for basketball (higher level of play) and earned my Bachelors in Education.  I attended 2 years at Concordia University for a Masters in Education.  I played the teacher for many years for all the younger neighborhood kids on my front porch.  I stayed after helping out the teachers at school.  It was my career plan since I was a kid.

MS. WAKEMAN - I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin and attended Forest Glen Elementary School, Bay View Middle School, Bay Port High School and graduated with my teaching degree at Carroll College.  My kindergarten teacher was really the reason why I wanted to become a teacher.  I loved her personality, the way she spoke to the students, and the way she always seemed happy around us.  I was als- o driven to become a teacher when I found out it had always been my Dad's dream and I thought if I filled that void for him, he would be happy too!

MS. WALL (PRINCIPAL) - I loved to play school when I was growing up.  I was the teacher and my sisters were my students.  (My sisters didn't love that so much.)  I went to New Berlin Center School for kindergarten through grade 6.  I had many incredible teachers.  My favorite was Ms. Steurnagel, who I had for a 1/2 combination class and then looped with for second grade.  She thought we were wonderful and I would have done anything for her.  I went to Glen Park Middle School for grades 7 and 8, and then to New Berlin West High School.  When I graduated, at first I wanted to be a social worker but then changed my emphasis to be an occupational therapist who works in schools.  While I was completing my undergraduate coursework, I realized that what I really want to do was become a special education teacher.  After my graduation from UW-Milwaukee, I was hired by the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District where I taught at Franklin School for twenty years.   During that time, I got my Master's Degree in Administrative Leadership from UW-Milwaukee, and continued to complete additional coursework in education from Cardinal Stritch, Mount Mary, Viterbo, & anywhere else where there was a class that I thought would help me to become a better teacher.  As much as I loved teaching and working with many dear students over the course of my career, I thought I could make even more of a difference for children if I became a principal.  I was hired at Jefferson School as principal for the 2008-09 school year, and I have never looked back.  The children here are the best!  I think that a solid education that not only teaches us to apply our academic skills and how to be creative problem-solvers, but one where we learn to be good citizens and the importance of giving back to our community is the greatest gift that anyone can have.   With that, you have the key to unlock the world.

MS. WEINBERG - I grew up in Wauwatosa and attended elementary school at Roosevelt Elementary, middle school at Longfellow Middle School, and high school at Wauwatosa East High School.  I attended at UW-Stevens Point where I graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhool Education (birth - 8 yrs) and Early Childhood Special Education (birth - 8 yrs).  I completed my preschool student teaching in Wausau, WI, and my elementary student teaching in Milwaukee Public Schools through UWM's Institute of Urban Education in collaboration with UW-Stevens Point.  I also spent 3 weeks in the summer of 2012 in Namibia, Africa working in a visually impaired school.  During the summer, I work for the Wauwatosa Recreation Department as the Wonderkids Summer Playground Coordinator working with children from ages 5-13.  I am very excited to be a new addition to the Jefferson Staff. I value students’ backgrounds, interests and developmental learning needs. I do my bests to maintain motivation and professional commitment to students. Teaching children of different backgrounds and disabilities is my passion. I look forward to a great year at Jefferson!

MR. WEISS - I grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin and attended public schools all the way through high school.  I attended Blair Elementary, Butler Middle, and North High School.  For college, I went to UW-Whitewater not knowing what I wanted to do.  I  just knew I needed to go.  My first thought was to go into business because the money was better.  My direction changed during my second year after my mom asked me to help chaperone an overnight camping trip with her school that she worked at.  When the trip was completed I changed my courses towards education and wanted to work with kids.  I graduated in four years and started teaching right away in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District.  I continued my education and received my Masters in Education degree from Marian University.  I am still continuing my education with over 30 credits earned beyond my Masters.

MS. WORDEN - I grew up in the West Allis Schools.  Two of the three schools I attended are now assisted living facilities.  I used to play school as a little girl in the basement of my home.  My dad brought home a black chalkboard from work one day and hung it up for me.  My Dad worked at Allis Chalmers.  My dolls and stuffed animals were my students.  I loved to teach my students neat handwriting and math problems.  As I got older and working summers at the West Allis Rec Dept. made me realize that I really enjoyed working with kids and becoming a teacher was what I wanted to peruse.  My favorite teacher was my 5th and 6th grade teacher at Lafollette School. Her name was Diana Christianson.  I was in a split for 2 years and was lucky to have her for both years.  The one thing that I truly remember about her is the strong literature curriculum that we had in our class. Today my favorite thing to do with my students is to read and become animated with the characters and plot in the stories that I read.  

MS. ZASTROW - I remember wanting to be a teacher from a very young age.  My cousins and I would play school house in a large closet tucked under a quiet stairwell.  I'm not sure exactly what intrigued me the most, the silky chalk dust under my fingernails, the fresh smell of books, or reading aloud my favorite story: The Pokey Little Puppy.  From that point on I was convinced that I was going to be a teacher.  As I matured, I wanted to explore my dream further.  My senior year of high school I signed up for a half-day job shadowing program.  I was placed in a kindergarten classroom and fell in love with the experience.  I looked forward to 11:50 every day so that I could go to work with my little friends and help out Mrs. Mastalier in her classroom.  After that, I started talking to my school counselor about my options for college.  She recommended to go through a community college first and then transfer my credits to a college with a reputable education program.  I took her advice and achieved my Associates Degree of Arts and Sciences from UW-Waukesha and later transferred my credits to Alverno College (this ended up saving me thousands of dollars).  Alverno had an exceptional reputation for their innovative teaching style and small class sizes.  I enjoyed my learning experiences through Alverno and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education.  I am so thankful for my decision to pursue my childhood dream.  I love what I do!  Teaching children is my passion.  Fostering their academic growth and curiosity is what drives me to become a better teacher every day.  Jefferson is another home to me.  The students, families, and faculty here are second to none.  I look forward to many more memories and accomplishments in this school district.  Who knows, maybe I will be the positive influence that motivates a child to live out his or her dream!

MS. ZITZKE - My name is Renee Zitzke, and I am one of the 4/5 combination class teachers.  This will be my ninth year teaching at Jefferson Elementary School.  In all of my nine years at Jefferson, I have taught fourth or fifth grade, so I am pretty familiar with this age group!  I graduated in May, 2004, from the University of Wisconsin –Madison with a degree in Elementary Education, which allows me to teach in 1st through 8th grades.  This is my second degree; I received my first degree in 1994 from the UW in the field of Journalism.   After working for six years in various fields involving Journalism, I decided to go back to school to get a teaching degree because I wanted to guide students in learning and social development.  I believe that school is not only about instructing students in the core academic subjects, but it is also about guiding students to develop appropriate social and emotional behaviors.  I am originally from West Allis, where I attended General Mitchell Elementary School and Frank Lloyd Wright Middle School.  In 1990, I graduated from Nathan Hale High School (Go Huskies!). I have worked in the past as a recreation instructor for the West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation Department and as an instructor in the Summer SAFE Camp program.  I am a big supporter of various dance programs in the West Allis area, as I was previously the coach of the Nathan Hale Dance Team and now enjoy judging at various dance competitions.  Some of my hobbies include running, reading, and cheering for my favorite local sports teams, such as the Brewers, Packers, and Badgers football and basketball (Go Badgers!).  However, most of my spare time is spent with my family, which consists of my husband Mark, my son Drew, and my daughter Emma.