Professional Issues Conference

WEAC Professional Issues Conference

Registration is now open for the 2018 WEAC Professional Issues Conference, which is March 2-4 at the Concourse Hotel in  Madison. The conference will focus on the most important lever in improving our schools: building the knowledge and skills of educators. WEAC is committed to professional learning that is continuous, job-embedded, practical, and connected to student achievement. WEAC offers to our members the connections, tools, learning opportunities, and resources they need to promote meaningful and purposeful professional learning and embed it in the school day.

Keynote speaker: Janan Najeeb, President Milwaukee Muslim Woman’s Coalition

Friday, March 2nd 7:00 PM

What is the Role of Educators in Countering Islamophobia and Creating a Positive Classroom Culture?

Islamophobia is a distorted image of Islam and Muslims caused by faith misrepresentation and fear/exploitation of religious practices and beliefs. How can teachers connect this phenomenon to our nation’s history of intolerance toward minorities? Can the misuse of definitions and concepts fuel fear of the other? Is it possible to promote honest discussion while maintaining a positive classroom culture? Read more about Janan Najeeb.

Hear from two of Wisconsin’s 2017 Teachers of the Year

Speaking at Saturday’s luncheon:

Mary Ellen Kanthack, a fifth-grade teacher at Brookwood Middle School in Genoa City, is Wisconsin’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year. She embraces personalized learning in her classroom and is leading a personalized learning pilot in the district. “I believe in helping students to master standards by using multiple ways of teaching a concept and allowing students to engage in productive struggle throughout the learning process,” she said. Kanthack initiated an elementary forensic speaking program and in 2009 began writing and directing musicals, collaborating with school staff and community members. Her 9/11 Memorial Daffodil community beautification effort is integrated with themes of peace, tolerance, and remembrance, as well as lessons in social studies and science. On the 10th anniversary, the entire Genoa City community got involved, planting 2,996 bulbs for every life lost.

Brent Zinkel, a history teacher at Wausau East High School, is Wisconsin’s High School Teacher of the Year. He demonstrates and inspires a love of learning for his students through his lessons and sharing what excites him, from a book he’s reading, to a class he’s taking, to places he’s traveled. To “do the work of historians” his students must consider complex questions and understand history, not as a march of dates and facts, but as a set of decisions made by historical characters that shape the world in which we live. A tiered reading activity he developed allowed high-need students to be active in an all-class discussion of landmark Supreme Court cases. His work with the Wausau East Narrowing the Gap Committee resulted in the first Hmong Parent Night. Zinkel coaches multiple sports teams, including cross country and swimming. He is active in his community, volunteering for numerous special events in Wausau and serving as a liaison to provide International Baccalaureate students civic engagement and leadership opportunities to fulfill their community activity and service requirement.

Also presenting: Heather DuBois Bourenane

Heather DuBois Bourenane

Heather DuBois Bourenane, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Public Education Network, will speak at Saturday’s breakfast. Heather is deeply committed to ensuring that every student has equal opportunity to succeed in Wisconsin public schools. She and her husband are proud parents to two students in the Sun Prairie Area School District. She holds a BA in English and a Masters in African American and African Studies and her career includes many years of teaching and K-12 outreach experience at UW-Madison and Madison College. Her commitment to local-level action can be seen in her support for grassroots engagement in Sun Prairie. She serves as co-director of the SPARC Local Action Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that addresses hunger and equity issues in Sun Prairie public schools. She’s also co-founder of Support Sun Prairie Schools, an education advocacy team that helped ensure passage of a recent referendum. In 2016, she and the Wisconsin Public Education Network were named WEAC’s Friend of Education. Wisconsin Public Education Network is a statewide, nonpartisan coalition of individuals, groups, organizations, and districts who stand united to support strong and thriving public schools.

Click the image above for an overview of the agenda,
click HERE for a description of the sessions and
click the link below for a detailed agenda and to register:

Images from the 2017 Professional Issues Conference:

State Superintendent Tony Evers addresses the 2017 WEAC Professional Issues Conference. Read about his address.

State Superintendent Tony Evers addresses the 2017 WEAC Professional Issues Conference. Advocacy at the local level, he said, is generating strong support for public education statewide. Read more.

WEAC President Ron Martin addresses the Opening Session of the 2017 WEAC Professional Issues Conference March 3 in Madison. Joining him at the head table are WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen and Emily Sibilski, President-Elect of the Aspiring Educators of Wisconsin.

WEAC President Ron Martin addresses the Opening Session of the 2017 WEAC Professional Issues Conference March 3 in Madison. Joining him at the head table are WEAC Vice President Peggy Wirtz-Olsen and Emily Sibilski, President of the Aspiring Educators of Wisconsin.

More images from the 2017 Professional Issues Conference:

Tips and Tricks in Assisting the Whole Student


“I just wanted to thank you for hosting this event. This was
my first year coming to PIC and I learned more about
becoming a future educator in this conference than I have in
2 years of college! I’ve never been more inspired to being
going into the profession of education. I have nothing but
high remarks for every aspect of PIC and I can’t wait to
attend next year.

– Aisia Kendall Ackard
UW-Eau Claire