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UWO alumni honored as top Wisconsin teachers

Two University of Wisconsin Oshkosh education alumni who received 2009 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year awards were honored on campus April 19.

The College of Education and Human Services chapter of the UW Oshkosh Alumni Association, along with Student WEA, held a reception at Reeve Memorial Union for Leah Lechleiter-Luke ’92, and Kay Zastrow ’81.

Lechleiter-Luke, a Spanish teacher at Mauston High School, is the Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year. She also is the Wisconsin representative to the National Teacher of the Year Program.

Zastrow, an early childhood/special education community options teacher in the Green Bay Area School District, is the Wisconsin Special Services Teacher of the Year.

“I am proud to represent UW Oshkosh,” Lechleiter-Luke said. “Through the guidance of a number of quality professors, I was able to thrive and bring my future in secondary education into focus.”

Lechleiter-Luke 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.”

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.”

Zastrow, who is certified in conscious discipline, has studied how different behavioral programs affect aggression in students.

“I am a lifelong learner, and my educational journey at UW Oshkosh supported that philosophy and, in part, gave me the confidence and stamina to pursue and complete my National Board Certification.”


Story by Natalie Johnson

Photo by See Xiong

Published on UW Oshkosh Today

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