Two state secondary educators will be honored Sunday, May 6 with Lawrence University’s 2012 Outstanding Teaching in Wisconsin Award.
Jeffrey Stiedaman and Benjamin Swanson, teachers at Whitefish Bay and Drummond high schools, respectively, will receive a certificate, a citation and a monetary award from Lawrence President Jill Beck in ceremonies at the president’s house. In addition, Lawrence will provide their respective schools with $250 for library acquisitions.
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 and outside the classroom. Since launching the award program in 1985, Lawrence has recognized 58 high school teachers.
A native of Rosendale and a graduate of Laconia High School, Stiedaman joined the Whitefish Bay High School faculty in 2003. Spanning grades 9-12, he teaches social studies, world history, psychology and AP psychology. He has served as an advisor to the student council, coached the freshman baseball team and is currently involved with the school district’s mentoring program for new teachers.
An Energetic, Passionate Teacher
In nominating him for the award, Lawrence senior Cam Blegen described Stiedaman as an “energetic, passionate” teacher who embraces the roles of advisor, mentor and role model.
“Mr. Stiedaman’s students are able to achieve success because he makes the subject fun, exciting and relevant to each and every student,” wrote Blegan, a 2008 graduate of Whitefish Bay High School. “He motivates his students to strive for excellence by doing the same in his own teaching. My experiences in his classroom solidified my interest in medicine and the skills I learned in his classroom helped me achieve success at Lawrence.”
Stiedaman earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UW-Madison and a master’s degree in education from Marian University.
Swanson has taught at Drummond High School since 2006 after beginning his teaching career in the Solon Springs School District in 2004. In addition to 9th-grade civics and 10th-grade U.S. history, Swanson teaches junior and senior class level courses in sociology, economic theory, modern U.S. history, current issues and a political science course focused on criminal and social justice issues.
Outside the classroom, Swanson has coached the girls’ varsity softball and basketball teams for the past six and two years, respectively. In 2009, he was selected to participate in the federally funded, professional development program “The Teaching American History Grant Project,” a three-year long ongoing workshop held in Superior, featuring visiting authors and historians.
Lawrence senior Leah Miller, a 2008 Drummond High School graduate, cited Swanson for having “a dramatic impact” on students in nominating him for the award.
“Mr. Swanson completely changed the way students felt about the social science classes…teaching us about real world issues and ways to approach these issues,” Miller wrote in her nomination. “He connects with his students, empowers them and encourages them to do well not only in his class, but in every class as well as outside the classroom. Mr. Swanson was the person in school who made me realize that I had the ability to do anything I wanted and I could change the world some day.”
A native of Solon Springs, Swanson earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a major in history and broad field social studies from UW-Superior with additional teaching certifications in economics and sociology.
About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries. Follow us on Facebook.