APPLETON, WIS. — David Ross, a social sciences teacher at Madison West High School and Kathy Sager, an English teacher at New Berlin Eisenhower High School, will be recognized Sunday, June 15 with Lawrence University’s Outstanding Teaching in Wisconsin Award during the college’s 159th commencement. Both will receive a certificate, a citation and a monetary award.
Ross and Sager are the 49th and 50th Wisconsin teachers honored for education excellence by Lawrence since the program began in 1985. Nominated by Lawrence seniors, recipients 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.
Ross, a Madison native and 1980 graduate of West High School, returned to his alma mater in 1993. He teaches a philosophy and a social issues class for seniors and also has taught U.S. history and Western civilization courses. He serves as an advisor to the Amnesty International Club and the Young Democrats and is a member of West’s scholarship committee. He previous was awarded two outstanding teacher citations by the University of Chicago based on nominations by his former students.
Senior Jeanette Devereaux-Weber praised Ross for his engaging and respectful style in nominating him for Lawrence’s award.
“Knowledge, in Mr. Ross’ classroom, was not something to be passively attained,” wrote Devereaux-Weber. “He was not content to let anyone lay low, but encouraged every opinion. He always expected a sort of nobility from his students. The students some dubbed ‘lazy’ or ‘uninvolved’ were involved in Mr. Ross’ classes.”
Ross holds a bachelor’s degree in history from UW-Madison and is currently completing a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at UW-Madison.
Sager began her teaching career in 1977 and joined the Eisenhower faculty the following year. She has taught courses on British and American literature, freshmen honors English and senior advanced placement literature and composition. She has served as a forensics judge and been active in the student-faculty acting troupe.
Senior Leila Sahar, who nominated Sager for the award, credited her former teacher for sparking her own interest in pursuing English as a major at Lawrence.
“Mrs. Sager has always been a very challenging teacher who expects a lot out of her students, however she provides every student with the tools they need to succeed,” Sahar wrote in her nomination letter. “She pushes them to rise to a higher level of both writing and literary analysis.”
A 30-year member of the National Council of Teachers of English, Sager earned her bachelor’s degree in education at UW-Milwaukee and holds a master’s degree in English from Aurora University.