Kim Floeter of Wautoma is WEAC’s 2016 ESP of the Year

Kim Floeter welcomes visitors to Riverview Elementary School in Wautoma.

Kim Floeter welcomes visitors to Riverview Elementary School in Wautoma.

Wautoma school secretary Kim Floeter – described as a “shining example” of an outstanding educator – was awarded the 2016 WEAC Education Support Professional (ESP) Award Thursday. In presenting the award to her at Riverview Elementary School, where she works, WEAC Secretary-Treasurer Arlene Braden said Kim – a member of WEAC Region 5 – is improving the lives of others and making her community a better place every day.

In accepting the award, Kim gave emotional thanks to the WEAC Board of Directors and to her colleagues at Riverview saying, “You’ve supported and encouraged me every day here, and that’s what keeps me going. Thank you!”

Braden went to to say:

WEAC Secretary-Treasurer Arlene Braden (left) and WEAC President Betsy Kippers (right) present the 2016 WEAC ESP Award to Kim Floeter.

WEAC Secretary-Treasurer Arlene Braden (left) and WEAC President Betsy Kippers (right) present the 2016 WEAC ESP Award to Kim Floeter.

I’m pleased to bring the highest statewide recognition from the Wisconsin Education Association Council to Riverview Elementary Secretary Kim Floeter, the 2016 WEAC Education Support Professional of the Year.

Kim is always looking for ways to improve her skills in working with children, parents and other educators. She demonstrates her dedication in many ways, including securing a grant from the National Education Association to train support staff right here in Wautoma.

She works closely with teacher Pat Schmidt – who nominated her for this award. Wautoma is what we at WEAC call a Wall-to-Wall union – where teachers and support staff all join together as a voice for their students, schools and profession. There are also those times as school staff we are faced with difficult situations and we all need to pull together, and I know here in Wautoma you do that extremely well.  Kim is the vice-president of this fantastic association, the Wautoma Unified Education Association.

Jean Lemke, who works next to Kim at Riverview, is one example of a professional who has benefited from Kim’s vision. Kim leads a class to teach other support professionals about reading, and encouraged Jean to take part.

Here’s what Jean had to say about it: “I am using the knowledge gained from Kim’s class in my tutoring position at our after-school reading program. I am much better equipped to help my students with reading.”

You may not realize this, but our association offers lots of professional training for support staff, and Kim often encourages her colleagues to attend conferences and workshops, as she did with Jean recently. Connecting with support professionals around Wisconsin and America, Kim wraps her arms around all students, finding inspiration everywhere.

In October, she hit the road to Random Lake to take part in a weekend-long renovation of schools there, working with teachers, future educators and other support professionals in the WEAC Student WEA Outreach to Teach Program.

Kay Hansen, an education support professional from Denmark, Wisconsin, and the chair of the WEAC Education Support Professional Committee, said Kim is a natural leader. Kim serves with Kay on that committee, and will be a trainer this weekend at the WEAC Professional Issues Conference.

Kay knows the extra hours and dedication Kim gives to Wautoma, and joins me in celebrating this achievement. Kay put it this way: “Wautoma truly benefits from Kim’s hard work and caring in educating the whole child.”

Kim, congratulations on this accomplishment. Thank you for reminding us that whatever our role – secretary, paraprofessional, bus driver, custodian or teacher – we all are called to make a difference in the lives of the children who are entrusted to us.