Register Now for July 22-24 Summer Leadership Academy

Meet Our Instructors

Instructors at The WEA Academy are accomplished teachers experienced with their content as well as how to teach it. They are dedicated to both quality and personal attention. In addition, their experience with each respective topic makes your learning relevant and effective to your daily work. In other words, what you may learn in a Saturday session can be applied in the classroom on Monday morning.


Nicole “Nikki” Janzen
Nicole “Nikki” Janzen is a social justice educator with a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction in Multi-Cultural and Urban Education from UW-Milwaukee. Ms. Janzen has worked in various nonprofits using spoken word and mixed media art in restorative circles work while also serving students, parents, and colleagues in Milwaukee Public Schools. She successfully worked for 13 years as a middle school teacher, later serving as a Social-Emotional Learning coach, and currently as a Restorative Practices coach. Ms. Janzen sees the power of restorative practices as an art to heal self, build community, and connect great divides.


Gina Pagel

Gina Pagel has taught elementary Spanish and social studies in Waunakee since 2007. In this role, she works with every student in the school & sees firsthand the diverse experiences, talents, and challenges young people bring to the classroom. Gina is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, & access for all. She has served in many different capacities in her local association & believes that our union has the potential to make lasting change in our schools & communities.


Amelia “Bedelia” McConnell

Amelia “Bedelia” McConnell is a proud School Sorceress, AKA school secretary, for the Verona Area School District at the helm of Verona Area International School and New Century Charter School. Miss Amelia is in her first year as ESP-at-Large on the WEAC board, and at the beginning of her journey with Equity Ambassadors and Leaders for Just Schools. She was part of the NEA’s Transformational Journey for Racial and Social Justice Co-Conspirators and has presented at the national ESP conventions in 2023 and 2024 with sessions on anti-racism and social justice. She was most recently part of the creation team of the WEAC Region 6 Anti-Racist Toolkit, and has worked for almost 20 years in Dane County public schools as an elementary and middle level music educator, recess and lunchroom supervisor, program secretary and school secretary. When not on the path of being a proud Union Thug, Miss Amelia is also a powerhouse Zumba® Fitness instructor.


Deanna Needham, M.Ed.                                                                 

Deanna graduated from UW-LaCrosse in 2001 with a degree in elementary and middle level education and a minor in special education. She started her career in special education at Boscobel Elementary School and received a license in special education from UW-L. She continues to be a life-long learner and leader and pursued her Master’s degree from Fielding Graduate University in Collaborative Educational Leadership. A few years later, she got a special education job in Fennimore where she currently teaches at the elementary school. Deanna received her licenses in administration for curriculum and instruction, principal, and special education director in May of 2020. Her passion and leadership assists her to use her expertise to educate and support paraprofessionals and educators do their best work for students with unique needs. She has a passion for teaching, special education, professional development, and life-long learning. She will be the first to lend a helping hand when someone needs to problem solve any situation.


Chauna Perry Finch
Chauna is a national speaker and restorative strategist who has provided training and consultation for a variety school districts and organizations across the country. After being the school social worker of the year in 2010, Chauna was the Restorative Practices Coordinator for Milwaukee Public Schools. She led the district in embracing Restorative Practices, creating a K-12 teacher guide and creating a high school social studies elective course. Chauna is a proven expert in the use of Restorative Practices as a tool for creating safe and supportive schools. Ms. Finch is the owner of Restorative TCS, LLC.

Meg Graham, NBCT

Meg earned her Masters Degree in Spanish and Education from Marquette University in 1985. She received her initial National Board Certification in 2004 and re-certified in 2014. Meg retired from Mukwonago High School in 2021 after 35 years teaching Spanish and serving as World Language Dept Chair. She was Wisconsin’s World Language Teacher of the Year in 2010. Author of the “Ahora Hablo” book series, Meg’s passion is helping people learn conversational Spanish.  In addition to teaching at the WEA Academy, Graham currently teaches Advanced Conversation at Carroll University.


Melissa Bollow-Tempel, NBCT
As a licensed bilingual elementary educator and a National Board Certified Teacher with a Master’s degree in Cultural Foundations of Education, Melissa has worked as a bilingual, dual language, foreign language, adult education, and culturally responsive teacher leader since 2000. She is currently teaching in the Waukesha School District. Melissa has been certified as a Welcoming Schools facilitator. She co-edited 2 books, Pencils Down and Rethinking Sexism, Gender and Sexuality with the nonprofit organization, Rethinking Schools, an equity and racial justice education publisher.


Amanda Desua, Ed.D., NBCT
Dr. Amanda DeSua is an elementary school counselor and has worked in education since 1999. While working as an elementary and middle school counselor, she achieved National Board Certification and completed her doctorate degree in educational leadership. Amanda is also a published children’s book author and teaches graduate classes for a local counselor education program.

David Nack, Ph.D.
David worked as an organizer and union representative in both the private and public sectors, and in different regions of the country, from 1976 to 2000. Since joining the faculty of the School for Workers in 2001 he has taught numerous classes including in Steward Training, Collective Bargaining and Bargaining Benefits, Union Leadership, and Labor History, among other subjects. He is active in both the Wisconsin Labor History Society and the United Association of Labor Educators. He has earned his Ph.D. American History from Rutgers University, his M.A. in Labor Studies from Rutgers University and his B.A. in History from Clark University.

Armando Ibarra, Ph.D.
Armando Ibarra, Assistant Professor, BA Sociology and Spanish, Master’s in Public Administration, and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine, joined the School for Workers faculty in January 2011. Dr. Ibarra has extensive and diverse teaching, research and organizing experience. His research and fields of specialization are Chicano/a Latino/a working communities, adult education on issues of diversity in the workplace, international labor migration, leadership development, organizing workplaces, and applied research.

Ron Borkowicz
Ron has over 35 years experience teaching at the elementary, middle, high school, and university levels. He holds masters degrees in both Curriculum and Instruction and Human Kinetics and a Ph.D. in Allied Health and Exercise Physiology for Heart Care. Ron has served as a consultant and speaker on worksite wellness programs for over 20 years and has certifications in biomechanics, personal training, beart rate monitors, tri-fit, health-fitness specialist, and health promotions director.  He is the founder and president of Enjoy Teaching Health LLC which provides health and wellness resources for K-12 teachers.

Regina Prahl, M.Ed.
Regina began her teaching career as a biology teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools. Seeing a need for literacy teachers and intervention in both her classroom and the district, Ms. Prahl pursued her Masters in Education with a reading emphasis from Concordia University-WI. Regina has taught reading intervention at the high school level for the past seven years and completed course work to obtain her reading specialist license. She continues to use her expertise to educate and support both students and teachers in her building.


Kalise Horst
Kalise has been a Health and Physical Educator for over ten years. She currently serves as a teacher and the Wellness Coordinator for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. She carries the title of a Certified Wellness Practitioner from the National Wellness Institute and is also a faculty member of the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA). In 2019, she was named the Wisconsin Health & Physical Education Association’s (WHPE) Advocate of the Year.

Pam Klein
Pam has worked to improve the health and well-being of her students, their families, district staff and community members for over two decades. As a health and physical educator primarily serving the Deerfield School District, Pam’s ultimate goal has been to educate, support and empower everyone she works with to live healthier, more fulfilling lives. Pam’s areas of expertise include self-care and wellness, student, family and community active schools and creating improved work-life balance.


Terri Froiland, NBCT
Terri worked as an elementary classroom teacher from 1987-2011 prior to becoming the respected instructional coach she is today. Ms. Froiland loves her current role, in which she supports educators at two suburban Milwaukee schools.  One is an arts-focused public elementary school and the other is a Dual Language School. Terri received her initial National Board Certification in 2005 and re-certified in 2015.



Shelly Moore Krajacic, NBCT

Shelly Moore Krajacic teaches high school English in South Milwaukee and has over 20 years of teaching experience. A National Board Certified Teacher, Shelly served six years on the NEA Executive Committee, where she helped to create the NEA Leaders for Just Schools program, and she currently serves on several boards of directors focused on teaching excellence, including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and Mira Education.