Spotlight on Locals: Denmark United Educators

WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen presents Denmark United Educators officers Bill Otradovec, Deb DeGrave, Sarah Fredrikson, Mark Tomashek, and Kay Hansen with the WEAC Strong Local Affiliate recognition as members of the Denmark United Educators gather.

By Peggy Wirtz-Olsen, WEAC Vice President

“Denmark has always had strong locals,” Kay Hansen, co-president of the Denmark United Educators told me. “Even before we merged into one local, both teachers and ESP had individual locals but always stood with each other no matter what. We already acted as one before we joined together. Making the decision to merge into one wall to wall local was an easy one as we had been on the same path many years before we merged.”

Julie Zipperer, 2nd grade teacher, shared “it is our dedicated educators and dedicated leaders that have made our local strong. We have worked hard to keep our seat at the table and to make our presence known throughout the district.”

Sarah Fredrikson, high school art teacher of 13 years and co-president told me, “our local is strong because of the work we continue to do to support our students and our community. We continue to give two scholarships every year to our graduating seniors to give back to these students and our profession. Our local is always looking for ways to connect with the community.”

“Our local has always been active, and we have stood together during times of adversity. I am proud of the work we have done together. The accomplishments we have made. The respect we have always held for each other as teachers, education support professionals, as educators working together for the benefit of our union, public education, our school district and our students,” Kay shared.

Echoing that theme of unity, Sarah shared, “I am proud of our social events and our work to pull together and to build relationships with one another outside of school.” Never content with the status quo, we are looking to grow and are always looking for ideas of connections we can make with other locals across Wisconsin, Kay shared, “Respect each other as educators and as the professionals we all are. Respect one another’s roles and chosen careers; it shouldn’t matter if you are in administration, a classroom, a kitchen, or on a bus. We all need to work together for the students we serve. It is when we are together that we make the most happen.”    

Read all of Peggy’s ‘Spotlight On Locals’ columns at weac.org/Spotlight.