Hortonville High School biologist Jackie Dorow and Karen Brownell, a mathematics teacher at Pittsville High School, will be presented Lawrence University’s Outstanding Teaching in Wisconsin Award Sunday, June 11 during the college’s 157th commencement. Both will receive a certificate, a citation and a monetary award.
Established in 1985, the teaching award recognizes Wisconsin secondary school teachers for education excellence. Recipients are nominated by Lawrence seniors and are selected on their abilities to communicate effectively, create a sense of excitement in the classroom, motivate their students to pursue academic excellence while showing a genuine concern for them in, as well as outside, the classroom.
A native of Greenville and a graduate of Hortonville High School, Dorow joined the faculty of her alma mater in 1974. During her 32-year career, she had taught general biology, honors biology, botany, zoology as well as anatomy and physiology. She has served as the chair of the biology department the past four years and also leads Hortonville’s North Central Accreditation School Improvement Committee.
In nominating Dorow for the award, Lawrence senior Angie Geiger, a 2002 Hortonville graduate, praised her former teacher for her enthusiastic and nurturing style in the classroom.
“Ms. Dorow’s classes were nothing short of a challenge,” Geiger said in her nomination. “The assignments, projects and presentations demanded that we put forth the effort to become fluent in the language of biology. Ms. Dorow is a teacher any Lawrence student would adore and any colleague would admire. She changed my life and helped me discover my destiny as a biologist.”
Recognized as Hortonville’s Teacher of the Year in 1989, Dorow is a member of the National Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers and the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers.
She earned her bachelor’s degree at UW-Oshkosh in biology and her master’s degree in education at Aurora University.
Like Dorow, Brownell also returned to teach at her own former high school. Since joining the Pittsville High School faculty in 1976, Brownell has taught virtually every math course, including algebra, geometry and calculus. She also has served as the coach of the school’s math team during most of her tenure. Under her direction, Pittsville has been a consistent top-five finisher in the annual Central Wisconsin Math League Competition, including a string of nine consecutive first-place finishes in the 1980s and ’90s.
Lawrence senior Amalia Wegner, a 2002 Pittsville graduate, cited Brownell’s unflinching determination among the reasons why she was a special teacher.
“Ms. Brownell has never given up on a student,” Wegner said in nominating her for the award. “She believes in every one of her students. In turn, her students try their best because they know someone is trying to help them succeed.”
Wegner recalled Brownell spending her lunch hour, free period and after-school time to tutor a particular student who was struggling.
“When no one else was there to help, Ms. Brownell is there. She is a great teacher who goes above and beyond her duty for her students.”
Outside the classroom, Brownell has coached the girls’ volleyball team for 28 years, winning eight conference titles and making four trips to the state tournament, including second-place finishes in 1986 and 1995. She also has served as Pittsville’s track coach for the past 17 years.
A member of the National Education Association, Brownell earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UW-Stevens Point.