Woodside student recognized in poster contest

Woodside Elementary School fifth grade student Olivia Cannestra won an honorable mention in the 2012 “Slow the Spread by Boat and Tread” poster contest. Her poster was selected from more than 300 entries statewide.

Cannestra will be recognized at the Invasive Species Awareness month awards ceremony at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, and her poster will be on display June 11-22 at the state Capitol.

The Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin (IPAW), conducted the poster contest to increase awareness of shoreline and wetland invasive species. Their goal is to teach people how to prevent the spread of invasive species in these habitats.



Hamilton students named GMC Winter Scholar Athletes

The Greater Metro Conference (GMC) has named the following Hamilton High School students Winter 2011-2012 Scholar Athletes:

  • Danielle Latt – girls basketball;
  • Nicholas Patterson, Brandon Hagenow and Bryan Kristensen – boys basketball;

Coaches nominate student-athletes who:

  • earned a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average;
  • participated in at least 75 percent of the team’s varsity matches; and
  • have at least sophomore standing.

These student-athletes serve as a great example to others demonstrating combined academic and athletic success.


Hamilton students attend Badger State

Hamilton High School juniors will again attend Badger Girls and Badger Boys State.

The young women who will attend Badger Girls State June 17-22 at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus are:

  • Emily Poenitsch; and
  • Kate Wehrman.

Attending Badger Boys State June 9-16 at Ripon College will be:

  • Kyle Bathke; and
  • Sree Karri.

The Sussex Lions Club and the Hamilton High School Athletic Department sponsor the students’ participation in the program. The students were chosen based on their interest in government, class standing and qualities of leadership, character and fitness.

For more than 70 years, Wisconsin high school juniors have been chosen to participate in this unique program where they can meet other students and learn about Wisconsin’s system of government. Students attending will learn about city, county and state government by carrying out citizenship procedures such as campaigning, voting and holding offices.

Templeton teacher selected for national award

Templeton Middle School social studies teacher Rhonda Watton is a 2012 recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award from the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE).

The award recognizes those who have made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and learning of geography in the classroom. A panel of NCGE reviewers chose Watton for national recognition for her professional dedication and skill.

The award will be presented during the National Conference on Geographic Education in October.

Hamilton named a Top Workplace


Thanks to feedback from employees, the Hamilton School District was listed among the best places to work in southeastern Wisconsin in the May 20 publication, “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces.” Hamilton was among the businesses and organizations named in a special section of the Sunday newspaper and online at

Evaluation for the Top Workplaces program is based on feedback from an anonymous employee survey conducted by an independent research firm. With 459 respondents to the survey, Hamilton had an outstanding 91 percent response rate among all employees.


Representatives from the district were invited to attend a reception where top workplaces in southeastern Wisconsin were recognized. Those attending were: (from left) custodial staff member Keith Griebler, Lannon principal Dick Ladd, Maple Avenue administrative assistant Nancy Gin, Woodside paraprofessional Karin Burleson, School Board President Gabe Kolesari, Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Templeton teacher Lisa Schmeling, Lannon teacher Dan Howard and Hamilton teacher Brian Steingraber.


Hamilton on Newsweek’s “Best High Schools” list


Hamilton High School was one of the schools named to Newsweek Magazine’s “America’s Best High School” list for 2012. The ranking highlights the best 1,000 public high schools in the nation – ones that have proven to be the most effective in turning out college-ready graduates.

Only 21 Wisconsin high schools were on this year’s list. It is the first time in the district’s history that Hamilton made the ranking which is based on:

  • four-year, on-time graduation rate;
  • percent of 2011 graduates accepted to college;
  • Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test participation, results and courses offered; and
  • average ACT or SAT score.

Hamilton Principal Candis Mongan said being named to Newsweek’s best high schools list is an honor that she believes Hamilton earned by diligently looking out for the best interests of all students.

“Not only are we increasing rigor, but our teachers and staff members work intently with individual students to help them plan for their future based on their interests and career goals,” Mongan said.

“While rigor in the classroom is increasing, our graduation rate is also going up, and that is good for all of our students,” she said.

Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., credited high school staff for being focused and deliberate in their effort to increase rigor and meet the needs of all students. She noted that the district’s Strategic Plan and the school site plan have success indicators that include the factors that Newsweek used to rank America’s top high schools.

Former student nominates Akin for MSOE award

Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) will present Hamilton High School math teacher Steven Akin with its Award for High School Teaching Excellence.

 Hamilton 2007 graduate Joshua J. Kapelke nominated Akin because his Advanced Placement calculus class inspired Kapelke to purse a degree in computer engineering.

 “Mr. Akin went above all expectations in order to be there for his students,” Kapelke wrote in his nomination. “Mr. Akin changed my way of thinking and my view of education and life in general.”

 “At a time of much concern over the educational skills and competencies of our nation’s young people, MSOE wishes to recognize high school teachers who have had a significant influence on their students’ future educational achievement and career goals,” noted MSOE Dean of Students and Vice President Patrick J. Coffey.

 Akin was invited to attend the MSOE’s spring commencement exercises May 26 at the Kern Center in Milwaukee. He will be recognized and presented with a plaque from the school.


Templeton student chosen in poetry contest

The poetry of Templeton Middle School student Isabel Kelly was selected as a winner in the Milwaukee Public Museum 2012 Student Poetry Competition, Objects and Artifacts—the Poetry of the Museum’s Collections. Kelly’s poem, “The Jeweled Ivory Elephant,” was a winner in the grades 6-8 category, and will be published in the fall issue of “Wings,” the museum’s member publication.”

Kelly, a student of Templeton communication arts teacher Christy Schwechel, was invited to read her poem at a special reading and awards ceremony at the museum and her poem will be published in the upcoming fall issue of Wings, the museum’s member publication.




May 21, 2012

Board gives last budget OK before Annual Meeting

The Hamilton School Board gave its approval to the 2012-13 budget that will be presented to voters at the June 18 Annual Meeting. The budget is $49.1 million, which is a 1.66 percent increase over the current budget, but still 2.13 percent less than the one two years ago. The district expects to lose another two percent in state aid, which shifts a greater share of revenue onto the local property tax levy. The tax rate is expected to be $10.41 per $1,000 of equalized property value. This is an increase of 28 cents per $1,000 of value.

School Board members also approved the Annual Meeting agenda which includes a resolution seeking to permanently transfer .01 acres of district property along Silver Spring Drive to Waukesha County for road construction and .39 acres for temporary easement to provide construction access.

Residents can learn more about the Hamilton School District budget June 18 beginning at 6:15 p.m. with the Budget Hearing in the Hamilton Fine Arts Center, W220 N6151 Town Line Road, Sussex. The Annual Meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Residents vote on the tax levy at the Annual Meeting.

Board recognizes retiring employees

The 2011-12 retirements of a dozen district employees were commemorated at the Hamilton School Board meeting. Combined, the employees provided 257 years of service to the district. School Board members read and approved commendations for each employee that reflected comments from supervisors and colleagues, and each retiree was given a retirement gift.


Those at the recognition pictured with (from left) School Board President Gabe Kolesari and Superintendent Kathleen Cooke were Hamilton custodian Frederick Krull, Jr., district Buildings and Grounds Assistant Manager Steve Pehowski, Maple Avenue first grade teacher Jean Jackson, district Food Service Manager Judy Pinter, Templeton special education paraprofessional Sally Hanney, Woodside technology integration resource teacher Julie A. Smith and Woodside fourth grade teacher Beverly Konkol.

Those unable to attend were Templeton sixth grade teacher Erin Heikkila, Woodside special education teacher Pamala Kursel, Willow Springs custodian Guilio Tanel, Templeton night foreman custodian Dennis Hoyt and Hamilton applied engineering and technology teacher Steven E. Campeau.

Board recognizes Power Test, student rep

The district’s Community Service Award was presented to Power Test. President Alan Petelinsek, Sales and Marketing Manager Todd Jerred and Production Manager Greg Johnson accepted the award. Superintendent Kathleen Cooke, Ph.D., said Power Test was chosen because it has been an outstanding partner. The company has provided input into the curriculum, served on the district’s Business Advisory Council, donated technical tools to the high school, provided student tours of the company and provided jobs for numerous Hamilton students.


Hamilton senior Lydia Salus was recognized for her service to the School Board as the student representative during the 2011-12 school year, which was the third year that she held the position.


District named a “Top Workplace”

Cooke, Ph.D., reported that thanks to feedback provided by employees, the Hamilton School District was among the best places to work in southeastern Wisconsin in “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Top Workplaces.” Hamilton was among the businesses and organizations named in a special section of the May 20 newspaper and online at Evaluation for the Top Workplaces program is based on feedback from an anonymous employee survey conducted by an independent research firm. With 459 respondents to the survey, Hamilton had an outstanding 91 percent response rate among all employees.

Board approves array of documents

The School Board approved several documents including the Technology Literacy Plan, K-5 Science Curriculum, National Honor Society Handbook, Summer Workshop and District Professional Development Plan, Special Education Procedures Handbook, Emergency Nursing Services Policies and Procedures and Bloodborne Pathogens Procedures.

Personnel business

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • approved the retirement request of Templeton custodian Dennis Hoyt, effective July 5;
  • accepted the resignation of Hamilton special education teacher Emily Farley, effective at the end of the school year;
  • appointed Maple Avenue teacher Jodi Rupnow as Woodside technology integrator resource teacher, Christine Wesling as part-time Woodside technology integrator resource teacher, Christine Hoffman as Special Services administrative assistant, Timothy Cunningham as Templeton eighth grade teacher and Desiree Rahmlow as Hamilton alternative programs teacher; and
  • increased the contracts of Hamilton speech pathologist Jennifer Knapp from 60 percent to full time and Hamilton French teacher Michael Tennessen from 50 to 67 percent.