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UW-River Falls alumni receive teaching awards

April 1, 2016

Two graduates of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls teaching programs have been honored as outstanding educators.

Sara L’Allier, a third grade teacher at Glenwood City Elementary School in Glenwood City, and Greg Kier, a fifth grade teacher at Starr Elementary School in New Richmond, will be recognized at an awards tea sponsored by the Wisconsin Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (WACTE) on March 13 in Madison. Both were notified of their award during a surprise visit to their classrooms by Larry Solberg, dean of the UW-River Falls College of Education and Professional Studies.

L’Allier will receive the Early Career Educator Award, which is presented to educators within the first three years of their career. It is based on their positive effect on schools or communities, their innovation in designing learning experiences and their advocacy for students. Betsy Haltinner, principal of Glenwood City Elementary School, called L’Allier “solution-focused and responsive to meeting her student’s individual and collective needs.”

“Sara is driven to help students find success,” Haltinner said. “She is focused on continuous improvement, jumping at opportunities to build her instructional practice.”

Greg Kier will receive the Pre-Service Educator Award. This award is presented to educators who have demonstrated a sustained pattern of mentoring pre-service educators for at least five years. They are selected based on abilities like modeling professional responsibility and effective classroom management.

“Greg has devoted his whole life to education, and his commitment is obvious through the daily interactions he has with the students, staff, and families of Starr Elementary, as well as his many endeavors as a lifelong learner,” said Starr Elementary School Principal Dan McGuire. “Mr. Kier is seen as someone who is an important leader at Starr Elementary, both formally and informally. His positive attitude, outgoing personality, and willingness do anything for the good of our kids, school or community is commendable.”

This is the third year that WACTE has sponsored the Early Career and Pre-Service Educator Awards. The awards ceremony continues to grow each year, with more than 175 people attending in 2015. Fifty teachers from across the state will be honored this year for their professional excellence. The Meemic Foundation is sponsoring the awards ceremony as well as the keynote speakers this year.

WACTE is a professional organization composed of the Wisconsin institutions that prepare individuals for teacher licensure. WACTE educator preparation programs offer diversity in size, focus, and delivery, but all are designed to prepare quality teachers for Wisconsin’s schools.

WACTE is an affiliate of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).

For more information, email larry.c.solberg@uwrf.edu or call 715-425-3774.