Briana Schwabenbauer wins WEAC award for member activism

WEAC President Betsy Kippers presents the Tenia Jenkins Activist Award to Briana Schwabenbauer.

WEAC President Betsy Kippers presents the Tenia Jenkins Activist Award to Briana Schwabenbauer.

Student WEA / WEAC Region 9 President Briana Schwabenbauer – who WEAC President Betsy Kippers says is a “true treasure in our association” – was honored Friday as winner of the 2016 WEAC Tenia Jenkins Award for member activism.

“WEAC is proud to have Briana involved, engaged and pushing forward to shape the future of the teaching profession in Wisconsin,” Kippers said in presenting the award to Briana at the WEAC Professional Issues Conference in Wisconsin Dells. “As president of Student WEA / Region 9, Briana inspires future educators. She inspires them all the time to get involved in their profession.”

Kippers said Briana is someone “who comes to understand an issue and quickly – and I mean quickly – takes action.”

“When legislators tried to sneak through a law that would gut teacher license standards, Briana launched an online movement that resulted in over 37,500 signatures against one more idiotic proposal from our legislators.”

She’s also taken the microphone at many press conferences to demand – “in her sweat sort of assertive way” – solutions to crushing student loan debt, Kippers added. And Briana has shared the stage at rallies against the “right to work for less” law.

Kippers noted that fellow Student WEA member Allyson Craft, who nominated Briana, credits Briana’s “infectious enthusiasm and refusal to give up on what she believes.”

“Activists like Briana are a treasure in our association and a true treasure to our state’s public education system,” Kippers said.

In accepting the award, Briana said she was “really really touched and honored” and credited her fellow Student WEA leaders for contributing “countless hours” to supporting public education.

“Honestly, you can’t do it without a great team,” she said. “All of theses ladies are absolutely amazing women and I have been so honored to serve with them and so honored to serve all of you over the last year, and I can’t thank you enough for the experience I have had as Student WEA president.”