5 honored with WEAC Awards at 2018 Representative Assembly

WEAC awards presented at 2018 RA:

Friend of Education: G-Safe

The WEAC Friend of Education Award goes to an organization that makes a difference for educators and students – G-Safe. G-Safe is a champion, creating schools where all LGBTQ youth and students can thrive. Co-director Brian Juchems and board member Evelyn Gildrie-Voyles with her son, Isaac, accepted the award. (Juchems and Gildrie-Voyles are shown here with Racine delegate Jeanne Schierstedt.) Brian works closely with outreach to educators and leads policy work with school districts.

In presenting the award, WEAC President Ron Martin said:

“WEAC partnered with G-Safe this January for first-ever train-the-trainer programs on creating safe and welcoming schools for our LGBTQ students. It was a huge success, and look for more opportunities coming soon.

“In fact, G-Safe was founded by educators leading in their district. Oftentimes, we’re the first adults an LBGTQ student might come out to. There are simple steps we can take to make the journey better for them – whether the intentional choice of words or being encouraging.

“G-Safe knows we educators are on the ground, day-to-day, doing the work to make things better for all students. G-SAFE knows it’s important for us to be empowered. Youth are looking to us to create those safe spaces, and our union is committed to foster leaders to make that happen. We are proud to stand with G-Safe and to honor you with the 2016 Friend of Education Award.”

Richard J. Lewandowski Award for humanitarian service:

E-Ben Grisby

The Lewandowski Award was presented to Green Bay teacher E-Ben Grisby.

In presenting the award, WEAC President Ron Martin said:

“Today, we honor a man who fosters partnerships to help others embrace the broad spectrum of diversity in the Fox Cities and beyond. E-Ben is a teacher at Green Bay West High School and member of the GBEA. Through his work with students and in the community, he speaks up where there is injustice and leads change. A true leader.

“He is a longtime activist at Celebrate Diversity Fox Cities, even serving as its Chairman of the Board, and also within our union ranks. He says diversity is more than just a catch phrase – it is a way of life.

“Above all, E-Ben is a voice for the voiceless. He believes public education rises above political affiliations and stands up for the most vulnerable of our students when they are threatened by policymakers on either side of the aisle.

“E-Ben, our thanks to you – and congratulations on your accomplishments.”

Education Support Professional Award: Tammy Erickson

Tammy Erickson

The winner of the 2018 WEAC Education Support Professional of the Year Award is Tammy Erickson, a ParaPRO in the Glenwood City School District.

In presenting the award, WEAC President Ron Martin said:

“Tammy is a budding activist and willing to step up, in any way, to elevate Education Support Professionals. Her commitment to her community schools spans her 21-year career. She worked in the same classroom that whole time. She came in as a sub, and she never left. Parents and teachers depend on her before, during and after school.

“Tammy is an anchor. She’s the first to say she’s not unique. Wisconsin Public School Education Support Professionals transport the kids, feed them, nurture them, keep them safe and connect with them. And while we show our appreciation to all support professionals, Tammy Erickson, you are our ESP of the Year.”

Cunningham, Dickinson, Watson Staff Award:

WEAC Executive Director Bob Baxter presents the WEAC staff award to Jeff Baas and Sue Sarbacker.

The winners of the 2018 WEAC staff award are Jeff Baas, WEAC Instruction and Professional Development Consultant, and Sue Sarbacker, WEAC Staff Assistant and Information Systems Technician. The Cunningham, Dickinson, Watson Award is given to a staff person for “initiatives, ideas, actions, or consistent performance that has enabled members in Wisconsin to better themselves and advance public education.”