Milton Creagh to speak April 26 at Hamilton

The Hamilton School District and Get Connected Program are sponsoring a presentation by nationally renown speaker Milton Creagh April 26 at 7 p.m. The presentation is free and open to all parents and students. It will be held in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line Rd., Sussex.


Raised on Chicago’s south side, Milton Creagh is best known for his hard-hitting, inspirational talks to high school students. Speaking to more than 200,000 young adults annually, Creagh is one of the most in-demand speakers in America. He has spoken in 49 states as well as Canada, South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Africa. His career is marked with numerous distinctions: He has twice been a participant in the prestigious W. K. Kellogg Foundation Expert in Residence program, he has been invited to the White House, and he has presented at the NFL’s Super Bowl Experience.


Creagh is the former host of the national PBS series“Parenting Works.” He has hosted and been featured on numerous television specials and appeared on CNN, TBN, FOX’s “Fox On Family,” BET’s “Screen Scene,” “100 Huntley Street” and “The Amanda Lewis Show.” He has been featured in Jet and Right On! magazines, as well as hundreds of newspapers around the country.

April 19, 2010

District cuts expenses to meet revenue caps

Hamilton School Board members took their first official look at the 2010-11 budget at their regular meeting. The budget totals $50.07 million, which is a 2.79 percent increase over the current budget.

To present a balanced budget and fall within state revenue caps, administrators reduced more than $100,000 of expenses in the following:

  • Elimination of short-term borrowing contingency;
  • Reduction of capital improvement projects;
  • Restructure of employee assistance program services;
  • Reduction of paraprofessional and half-time hall monitor positions;
  • Elimination of middle school basketball and volleyball B team competition schedules (fewer teams from other districts are available);
  • Reconfigure schedule of “specials” including music, art and physical education to create greater efficiencies without cutting services to students;
  • Reduction of two hours of office clerical time;
  • Reduction of high school intramural schedule and some co-curricular payments;
  • Savings through renegociated software contract;

Despite the budget cuts, Hamilton Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said the district was fortunate for its situation as compared to other school districts. The district is growing, the School Board has positioned it well with good fiscal decisions, and employee health insurance and per-pupil spending is low compared to other districts.

“We are not in the same environment that many surrounding districts find themselves,” Cooke said.

The budget was created with the assumption that state aid will increase 5.75 percent and the district will educate 35 additional students. The tax rate is projected to be $9.71 per $1,000 of equalized property value – a 1.79 percent increase over the current rate. For each $100,000 of property owned, citizens will pay $971 to support local school taxes which is $17 more over last year’s rate.

The School Board set the Annual Meeting for June 21 when residents will be able to vote on the levy. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center. It is preceded by the Annual Public Hearing which begins at 6:15 p.m.

Software error results in water undercharges

A Village of Sussex software error resulted in the district being undercharged $32,577 for its water use since a water meter was installed at the Hamilton Fine Arts Center in 2003. The district is liable by law for only two previous years of back charges which amounts to $10,337. In a spirit of cooperation, the School Board and village split the remaining $22,240 so that the district will pay a total of $21,457 for back charges.

Three employee group contracts approved

School Board members approved salary and benefit increases for three employee groups including:

  • Confidential support staff, a 2.31 percent salary and benefit package increase for the 2010-11 school year;
  • Administrators, a 2.64 percent salary and benefit package increase for 2010-11;
  • Assistant cooks and associate kitchen employees, a 2.88 percent salary and benefit package increase in 2010-11 and a 3.61 percent salary and benefit increase for 2011-12.

Figueroa recognized for state award

Hamilton High School communication arts teacher Debbie Figueroa was honored for being selected a state winner in the 2010 Kohl Teacher Fellowship Program sponsored by the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation. Figueroa was among 100 Wisconsin teachers chosen because of her superior ability to motivate people, inspire a love of learning and provide leadership and service within and outside the classroom. Figueroa and Hamilton High School were each awarded a $1,000 grant.

Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan said it is exciting to walk into Figueroa’s classroom to see how she “brings learning to life.” She said that by working with staff, Figueroa has taken the school’s site plan to new levels.

School Board member Deborah Briggs thanked Figueroa for the impact she had her daughter who is now in graduate school, and a parent in the audience and another School Board member gave testimony to Figueroa’s effectiveness as a teacher.

The Kohl Foundation Scholarship and Fellowship Program was established by U.S. Senator Herb Kohl in 1990. To date, the foundation has awarded $6 million to Wisconsin educators, students and schools. Recipients are selected by a statewide committee composed of civic leaders and representatives of education-related associations and the program’s co-sponsors: The Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools and regional Cooperative Educational Service Agencies.

Hamilton art students recognized

High school art students whose works were recognized in the the statewide Scholastic Art Award Contest were honored by the School Board and their teachers. Art teacher Kelly Belot and Ellen Acuff introduced their students. Alyssa Gohr, Nathan Klafke and Alizibeth Mikolajczak were at the meeting to receive their award.

Two members take oath of office

Two board members were sworn in for another three-year term following their successful election. Gabe Kolesari and Gerald Schmitz were re-elected April 6. Schmitz was challenged by Ron Fricke for the at-large seat, but Kolesari was unopposed for the Village of Sussex seat.

 Personnel news

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • accepted the resignations of Marcy Early Reading Empowerment teacher Jean Niebler and Lannon special education teacher Traci Ellis, both effective at the end of the school year; and
  • granted leave of absence for Templeton Spanish teacher Cynthia Michael for the 2010-11 school yearl.

Hamilton announces March students of the month

Hamilton High School students representing 11 curriculum areas were selected students of the month for March. They are:

  • Michael Anderson, applied engineering and technology;
  • Uma Avinash, social studies;
  • Lauren Braier, business education;
  • Jessica Doyle, communication arts;
  • Gabriel Kuenn, art;
  • Luke McKeag, mathematics;
  • Courtney Meidenbauer, mathematics;
  • Elliot Poenitsch, fitness education;
  • Sheree Scheufele, family and consumer education;
  • Rebecca Voss, world languages;
  • Sarah Vowels, music; and
  • Amy Walsh, science.


Students received a certificate and a pin for their accomplishment.

Willow Springs plans Music & Muffins

Grandparents and relatives of Willow Springs Learning Center students, along with friends from the Sussex Senior Center, have been invited to join the 4-year-old kindergartners for Music & Muffins April 29 and April 30 from 10:15 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. and again from 2:10 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.


Students will perform spring-themed music for their guests and enjoy a muffin snack with them. Students in the 4-year-old kindergarten classes of Jenifer Haldukiewicz, Heidi Stacy (substitute for Katy Gengler), Lynn Richmond, Deborah Blum and Jamie Burczyk will have their Music & Muffins event on April 29. Students in the classes of Kristy Cravillion, Kathy Schulz, Jessica Hoffa and Rita Forrester will celebrate on April 30.


Willow Springs Learning Center is located at W220 N6660 Town Line Road, Menomonee Falls.

High school seeks nominees for Distinguished Alumnus

Community members are invited to nominate Hamilton High School graduates for the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award which will be presented at the June 12 high school graduation ceremony.

People are asked to include the nominee’s name, address and phone number, along with a 50- to 75-word description of why the nominee is worthy of the award. This information may be submitted through the district Web site at on the Hamilton High School alumni page or delivered to Candis Mongan, Hamilton High School, W220 N6151 Town Line Rd., Sussex, WI 53089.

High school faculty members will review nominations and recommend a finalist.

The nomination deadline is May 1. For further information, contact Mongan at (262) 246-6471

Charger Robotics earn numerous regional awards, right to compete at national competition

Hamilton High School’s Charger Robotics Team came away from FIRST regional competition held at the University of Minnesota April 1-3 with several team and individual awards including the highly coveted Chairman’s Award. It’s an award the team has sought for nearly 10 years – the highest honor given to a team, celebrating its overall effort, accomplishments and community involvement.


The Chairman’s Award honors the team that best represents a model for other teams to emulate and embodies the goals and purpose of FIRST. It was created to keep the central focus of FIRST Robotics competition on transforming the culture to inspire greater levels of respect and honor for science and technology and encourage more youth to become scientists, engineers and technologists. Receiving the Chairman’s Award earned Hamilton the right to compete April 15-17 in Atlanta at the championship event.


The team also took home the Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers Entrepreneurship Award, which recognizes a team that since its inception has developed the framework for a comprehensive business plan to scope, manage and obtain team objectives. Charger Robotics Team 537 was judged to display entrepreneurial enthusiasm and the vital business skills for a self-sustaining program. It was the seventh time in its history as a team that Charger Robotics earned this award.


In addition, an individual award went to senior Matthew Kline who was named to the Dean’s List for student achievement. FIRST Dean’s List Award winners are considered to be student leaders who have led their teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission. Kline was selected based on his interest in and passion for a long-term commitment to FIRST and its ideals, overall individual contribution to his team, technical expertise and passion and entrepreneurship and creativity.


Some 66 Hamilton students are involved in Charger Robotics, which is  supported by QuadTech, Rockwell Automation and GE Healthcare through financial donations and employee mentors. The team is advised by Hamilton teacher Lori Hinytz and co-advised by parent volunteer Kari Woods.


FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – was founded in 1992 by Inventor Dean Kamen to encourage students to consider careers in science and technology. The FIRST Robotics competition now features more than 1,800 teams from around the world, 44 regional events and a 344-team championship in Atlanta.

Templeton Chorus to present “Dear Edwina, Jr.”

The Templeton Middle School Eighth Grade Chorus will present three action-packed performances of the musical, “Dear Edwina, Junior” April 29 in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center.

Follow the adventures of advice-giver extraordinaire, Edwina Spoonapple, as she directs the neighborhood kids in production number after hilarious production number in her Advice-A-Palooza extravaganza while exploring issues of table manners, being polite, saving money, sibling rivalry, tolerance, making new friends and believing in yourself. Written in the style of “Schoolhouse Rock, Live!” and “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” “Dear Edwina, Junior is the perfect musical for a new generation.

There will be two daytime performances that, due to limited space, are intended for student audiences only. The evening performance begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the general public. There is no admission fee. The Hamilton Fine Arts Center is located at W220 N6151 Town Line Road in Sussex.

Woodside students to drop eggs

Woodside Elementary School fifth-graders will hold their biannual Egg Drop at 2:15 p.m. on April 15. The egg drop is the culminating project for the grade’s physics unit. Students will demonstrate Newton’s Laws of physics by dropping a container that contains a raw egg from a fire truck ladder. Fifth grade teachers thank Sussex Fire Department Captain Greg Zoellick for his assistance with this event.

The school is located at W236 N7465 Woodside Road, Sussex.

Templeton students to visit UW-Waukesha

All Templeton Middle School eighth-graders will visit the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha to learn about college. Groups of students will visit the university April 13, April 20 and May 5 to tour the campus and obtain information about academic planning and career choices beyond high school.

The day will consist of three components each lasting 30 minutes – a campus tour, student panel session and lunch in the student union.

Students will take a short career survey after the field trip to identify the careers in which they are interested. Survey results will help middle school staff schedule speakers for career power lunches and provide information to high school staff for postsecondary planning purposes. The survey can link students to local explorers’ programs in Waukesha County. To learn more about the explorers program, visit

Woodside plans Family Fun Night May 21

Mark your calendars for May 21 for an evening of rides, food, prizes and entertainment at Woodside Elementary School. Family Fun Night, which runs from 5 p.m – 8:30 p.m., is a fundraiser to support Woodside Home and School’s enriching learning programs for students and teachers.

Woodside invites the community to join in and welcomes support from local businesses to benefit the event. Event planners are collecting silent auction items and looking for volunteers to help with rides and games. The event provides a great opportunity for students to volunteer together.

The event will be open to the public. Tickets for rides, games and food will be available in May at the school and at the event. For more information on how to get involved, please contact Jessi Wrench at (262) 820-1826.

Woodside Elementary School is located at W236 N7465 Woodside Road, Sussex. The event will be held indoors if it is rainy or windy.