CESA 9’s Hilary Cordova named Employee of the Year at Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance awards
For the Tomahawk Leader
WISCONSIN DELLS – Seven individuals and one organization were honored by the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WiRSA), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping address challenges faced by rural school districts, at the annual Rural Schools Conference in Wisconsin Dells on Oct. 25.
“The Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance was formed to help rural school districts address the unique issues that affect rural schools as they seek to achieve the highest quality education for every student,” a release from WiRSA stated. “Members include a cross-section of administrators, educators, school board members, post-secondary representatives, rural community members, business leaders, and other concerned individuals who want a strong voice for rural education.”
WiRSA presents the rural awards annually at their Fall Conference to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations for their contributions to rural education. Nominations are submitted by the WiRSA membership in eight categories: Rural Teacher of the Year, Rural Administrator of the Year, Rural Principal of the Year, Rural School Board Member of the Year, Rural Support Staff Person of the Year, CESA Employee of the Year, Rural Community Partner of the Year and Rural Advocacy Award.
Hilary Cordova, Director of Finance at CESA 9 in Tomahawk, received the CESA Employee of the Year award. Cordova was nominated by CESA 9 Administrator Karen Wendorf-Heldt.
CESA 9 is part of the Cooperative Educational Service Agencies, designed to serve educational needs in all areas of Wisconsin by serving as a link both between school districts and between school districts and the state.
“Cooperative Educational Services Agencies may provide leadership, coordination and education services to school districts, University of Wisconsin System institutions, and technical colleges,” CESA 9’s website states. “Cooperative Educational Services Agencies may facilitate communication and cooperation among all public and private schools, agencies, and organizations that provide services to pupils.”
CESA 9 is made up of 22 school districts in north-central Wisconsin, including Tomahawk, Antigo, Merrill, Northland Pines, Prentice, Rib Lake, and Rhinelander. CESA 9 services over 2,800 teachers and 35,000 students in 102 public school buildings. Also located within CESA 9’s boundaries are two Wisconsin Technical Colleges and one UW System campus.
Other award recipients
Rural Teacher of the Year: Dena Brechtl, high school math teacher at Waterford Unified High School. Brechtl was nominated by Director of Marketing and Communications, Kate Brown.
Rural Administrator of the Year: Mark Gruen, District Administrator, Royall School District.
Gruen was nominated by community member Ryan McKittrick.
Rural School Board Member of the Year: Gary Gilbank, Clinton Community School District School Board.
Gilbank was nominated by Clinton Community School District Administrator, Jim Brewer.
Rural Support Staff Person of the Year: Karen Mead, Registrar and School Counseling Office Administrative Assistant at Mauston High School. Mead was nominated by Mauston teacher Leah Lechleiter-Luke.
Rural Community Partner of the Year: Norm and Carol Aulabaugh, Parkview School District. Norm and Carol were nominated by District Administrator Steve Lutzke.
Rural Advocacy Award: Ron Fruit and Fruit Broadcasting, WRCO in Richland Center. Fruit was nominated by Ithaca School District Administrator Julie Prouty and the Ithaca Administrative Team.