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UWSP to host Educators Rising annual summit

February 27, 2024
UW-Stevens Point will host the Educators Rising Wisconsin Summit on March 6, featuring keynote speaker Lori Danz, the 2023 Wisconsin State Teacher of the Year.
UW-Stevens Point will host the Educators Rising Wisconsin Summit on March 6, featuring keynote speaker Lori Danz, the 2023 Wisconsin State Teacher of the Year.

High school students from across the state will explore future career opportunities in education at the 7th annual Educators Rising Wisconsin Summit to be held Wednesday, March 6, at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Hosted by the School of Education and the Harju Center for Equity in Education at UW-Stevens Point, the summit is intended for students in grades 9-12. Themed “Take Flight and Soar!,” the summit runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes speakers and competitive events where students will showcase their developing career-related skills.

Lori Danz, the 2023 Wisconsin State Teacher of the Year, will serve as this year’s keynote speaker with her talk, “What Nature can Teach Us About Connection?” Breakout sessions will be facilitated by distinguished educators, and 16 colleges and professional organizations will take part in a recruitment fair.

Nearly 300 students from 30 school districts will attend, including Abbotsford, Appleton, Augusta, Baraboo, Cambria-Friesland, Cuba City, Durand-Arkansaw, Granton, Greenwood, Hortonville, Lola-Scandinavia, La Crosse, Ladysmith, Mauston, Menomonie, Muskego, New Berline, Pardeeville, Pittsville, Platteville, Randolph, Rhinelander, Rio, Riverdale, Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Wausau, Wauwatosa and Wisconsin Rapids.

Educators Rising Wisconsin, coordinated by the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), is a network of educators and students who promote teaching careers and support future educators. The organization has grown to 98 chapters across the state and is part of many districts’ Grow-your-Own teacher recruitment strategies.

“Educators Rising provides opportunities to explore education careers, develop skills necessary for effective teaching and make informed decisions about pathways to achieve their professional goals,” said Lynda Fernholz, UW-Stevens Point professor and assistant dean for the School of Education. “The organization cultivates highly skilled educators by guiding young people from high school through college and into the teaching profession.”

Wisconsin’s teacher shortage continues to be a concern to school administrators, educational leaders, and parents across the state, said Peggy Wirtz-Olsen, a teacher and president of the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the host organization for Educators Rising-Wisconsin since 2018.

“This program is a direct solution to school staffing shortages because it supports and educates the next generation of teachers even before they graduate high school,” said Wirtz-Olsen. “Over half of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years, often citing lack of support and feeling unprepared. Educators Rising helps students develop strong leadership traits that are required of today’s high-quality teachers.

“The Harju Center is honored to philosophically and financially support the amazing work of Educators Rising-Wisconsin, as together we look for innovative solutions to develop positive, passionate and prepared teachers to address this very real and growing need in our state and schools,” said Perry Cook, Harju Center director.

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Since 1894, the School of Education has been the hub of teacher preparation programs at UW-Stevens Point. It prepares future teachers majoring in early childhood educationelementary educationphysical education or special education. The School of Education also supports students seeking certification in K-12 and secondary education. 

UW-Stevens Point’s Harju Center for Equity in Education focuses on addressing educational inequities in Wisconsin by supporting access to high quality teacher education preparation for elementary and middle level educators with an emphasis on rural settings.