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Notable Alumni

Leah Lechleiter-Luke ’92

2010 Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year

Leah Lechleiter-LukeLechleiter-Luke, an English and Spanish teacher at Mauston High School holds all her students to high standards. “I expect to see growth in each individual before they leave my class at the end of a term. Watching them grow motivates me to continue to work hard to become a better teacher. I’m not there yet.”

Lechleiter-Luke, who earned a master’s degree from Viterbo University in 2002, also has served as an adviser for a number of extra-curricular activities, including forensics, Academic Decathlon, National Honor Society and Key Club.

“I have a passion for student service and have especially enjoyed my time working with Key Club,” she said. “I believe that when you give kids opportunities to do ‘good,’ they will.”

Watch Leah Lechleiter-Luke accept the 2010 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year award.

Watch Leah Lechleiter-Luke's interview with Jamie Hersch of ABC 27 News.


Kay Zastrow ’81

2010 Wisconsin Special Services Teacher of the Year

Kay-Zastrow-1981.jpgZastrow is an early childhood/special education community options teacher in the Green Bay Area School District.

Throughout her teaching career, Zastrow, who earned a master’s degree from UWO in early childhood/special education in 1981, has worked with special education students of all ages.

She currently works with special needs children ages 3 to 5 in their natural environments, such as in their homes, preschools and child care facilities. In these settings, Zastrow has the opportunity to teach the teachers as well as the students so that everyone can be as successful as possible.

“I’m always on the watch for significant teaching moments,” she said. “My awareness of those moments and the power of even one such significant interaction on the life of a student began at UW Oshkosh.”

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Watch Kay Zastrow's acceptance of the Wisconsin Special Services Teacher of the Year award.


Crystal (Hielsberg) Gorwitz ‘80

2010 Wisconsin Pathfinder Award - NAGWS

GorwitzA physical education graduate, Crystal Gorwitz currently is the Hortonville Middle School physical education and health teacher. In January 2010, she won the Wisconsin Pathfinder Award from the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) in recognition of her continuous dedication to the advocacy, recruitment and enhancement of girls and women in sports and sport leadership in the state.

She was the 2004 National Association for Sport and Physical Education Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year and is respected as a national leader in the fight against childhood obesity, garnering praise for inspiring students to remain physically fit for life.

In 2001, Gorwitz and two of her colleagues won a $233,000 grant to revamp the Hortonville School District’s physical education program. The district was one of only 18 in the country to earn the grant. In 2009, Gorwitz received another grant for starting an after-school running program that included an eight-week training program.



Chrissy Makurat ’97 and MSE ’09

2010 Herb Kohl Fellowship Award

Makurat_Chrissy_175.jpgAs the inclusive classroom teacher for the fourth grade at Omro Elementary School, Chrissy Makurat works diligently to understand the unique needs of children with different learning styles and abilities and develop effective strategies and interventions for each child’s situation.

“Pursuing my own education has helped me demonstrate a love of learning to my students and inspire them to love learning as well,” said Makurat, who received a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction last year.

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Edward Mueller ’59

2009 UW Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award

Alumni_Pride_Mueller_Ed_175.jpgUniversity of Wisconsin alumnus Edward Mueller, found the perfect formula for a successful career in science education — a passion for learning mixed with an affinity for teaching middle-school students.

“Mr. Mueller possesses the curiosity and love of science that characterizes a middle-school-aged student,” said Susannah Sandrin, former UW Science Outreach director. “He loves the craft of science and questions everything.  After just a few minutes of watching one of his chemistry demonstrations, it’s apparent he has every student in the room engaged in his show.”

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Cheryl L. Stinski ’94

2008 Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Cheryl Stinski.jpgCheryl L. Stinski earned a Bachelor of Science in human services in 1994. She is owner and founding partner of Alternative Resolutions, a mediation and consultation practice based in Appleton.

As a mediator, trainer, coach and author, Stinski has been providing conflict resolution services for more than 20 years. Alternative Resources, founded in 1995, has grown to be a leader in developing innovative communication and conflict-management solutions for nearly every segment of the population — families, businesses, healthcare, law enforcement, education and more.

Stinski serves on the mediation rosters of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Postal Services and the Wisconsin Special Education Mediation System.



James LaBuda '79 and MSE '81

2007 UW Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award

James LaBuda.jpgJames LaBuda is vice provost of student experience at Nevada State College in Henderson, Nev. Earlier in his career, he was a teacher and principal in Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii and Oshkosh's Emmeline Cook Elementary.

He began working in higher education in 2004 when he became an assistant professor at Nevada State College. A Berlin native, Jim earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in education from UW Oshkosh. He also earned another master's and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.



Samuel Cargile '72 and MSE '73

2006 UW Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award

Cargile.jpgSenior director of grantmaking at the Lumina Foundation for Education in Indianapolis, where his grant-making focuses on issues in higher education that particularly affect low-income students and students of color. Prior to joining Lumina, he held key roles at the Wallace Foundation in New York City and the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis.

Between 1987 and 1991, he was UW Oshkosh's assistant vice chancellor for the Division of Academic Support. Cargile earned two degrees from UW Oshkosh, a bachelor's degree in secondary education in 1972 and a master's degree in guidance and counseling in 1973. He later earned a doctorate in urban education at UW-Milwaukee.

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