For the first time in 21 years, the Neenah Joint School District has three teachers who received Fellowships from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation in the same year. In addition, two Neenah senior students were honored with Kohl Excellence Scholarships.
Teachers Roxann Barrow, Scott Hertting and Rebecca Van Duser were all honored as Fellowship recipients, marking the first time Neenah has had multiple teachers receive Fellowships since 1998 and the first time the District has had three winners in a year since 1994. Seniors Margaret DiPoto and Celia Nalbach received Excellence Scholarships, which is only the second time since 2006 that Neenah has had multiple students receive the honor in the same year.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the foundation, each Fellowship and Scholarship has been increased to $3,000 for the individual and $3,000 to the school. Previously, the recipients received $1,000 each. They will be honored at a banquet at Traeger Elementary/Middle School in Oshkosh on April 18. A total of 101 teachers and 163 graduating high school seniors from across the state were honored with awards.
Barrow began her teaching career in Neenah in 1991 upon graduation from UW-Oshkosh and has been teaching wellness education at Spring Road Elementary since 1992. Barrow, who also earned a Master’s Degree from Viterbo University, has created numerous programs outside her daily teaching activities, including family fitness nights, a 100 mile club, “Walk to School Wednesdays” and a running club where students and family members build up to run the Fox Cities Marathon 5K.
Hertting has been teaching at Neenah High School since 1993. He has been teaching general physics since 1998 and advanced physics since 2007. Hertting, who graduated from UW-La Crosse and earned a Master’s Degree from UW-River Falls, has also taught general chemistry and physical science. He created a program where advanced physics students select a topic to teach to sixth graders at Horace Mann Middle School. He also co-founded and has led the “Phox Valley Physics and Physical Science Share Group” among local teachers since 2001.
Van Duser has spent her entire teaching career at Lakeview Elementary beginning with first grade in 1990. She has taught second grade since 1994. Van Duser graduated from UW-Stevens Point and earned a Master’s Degree from St. Norbert College. She recently created a summer reading program at Lakeview and helped redesign a spelling program to enhance student learning. Van Duser frequently uses a piano as part of her teaching methods and has helped write and produce Lakeview’s winter school concert.
Fellowship recipients are chosen for their superior ability to inspire a love of learning in their students, their ability to motivate others, and for their leadership and service within and outside the classroom.
DiPoto and Nalbach have both taken full schedules of advanced classes and are both active in Key Club, math club and cross country. Both students were part of a Habitat for Humanity project last summer that involved students from seven area high schools. DiPoto carries a 4.0 grade point average and also participates in French Club and soccer. She plans to attend UW-Madison and major in biology. Nalbach has a 3.96 grade point average and is part of Spanish Club and track and field. She also will attend UW-Madison and plans to major in chemical engineering.
Excellence Scholarship recipients have demonstrated excellence in the academic arena and high motivation to achieve, have displayed a broad range of activity and leadership outside the academic setting, and have shown strong promise for succeeding in college and beyond.
The Kohl Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship program was established by retired U.S. Senator Herb Kohl in 1990. To date the foundation has awarded $9 million to Wisconsin educators, students and schools.