Voting ends October 29th, 2018 at midnight.
Aime Mitchell (Oregon)This is my 17th year as a School Social Worker. Prior to my current position I worked in a high school in the suburbs of the Twin Cities supporting students who had Individual Education Programs. I gained a wealth of knowledge supporting students and advocating for them and their families and working with staff. The past four years I worked in three buildings; kindergarten through 5th grade. During my time there I was a member of the buildings' student service teams, PBIS teams, Problem Solving teams, facilitated groups, and identified students under the McKinney-Vento Act so as to reduce educational barriers. I worked closely with families to increase student attendance and provided a range of supports to students that were identified as needing Tier 2 and Tier 3 level of intervention. This year I will be working again with high school and middle school students in a variety of capacities.
Being a part of a larger system is a powerful experience that benefits the greater good. I have served one term thus far for WSSWA and have come to appreciate the work that the Board does on behalf of our members. It is exciting to see how change does occur when people get involved. Although I am still learning as a Board member I am excited to have the opportunity to support our profession and the students and families that we serve.
Angela Baerwolf (Madison)I started my career as an English teacher for 5 years before going back to school at UW-Madison to receive my MSW. Upon graduation, I took a position as a Student Services Specialist in a high school in Janesville for one year. For the past five years I have been a social worker at a middle school in Madison. I have lived in Madison for 18 years, and have been an active member in the LGBT community as an activist and educator. I currently advise my school's GSA and host a radio show on community radio called Queery, about queer issues. In my two years as a board member, I have been a member of the legislative and conference committees, and have been the networking chair. I have attended a WAPSO meeting and the SSWAA Leadership Institute in Washington, DC. I will also be leading a workshop at the WSSWA fall conference this year.
I have greatly enjoyed being the networking chair, and hope to further improve our association's website, with more options for our members. I have also enjoyed being a member of the legislative committee, staying current on upcoming bills, and supporting legislation that directly affects our work. I greatly appreciated the experience of being an advocate on Capitol Hill, educating members of congress about our profession. Lastly, I have enjoyed putting together our upcoming fall conference, and look forward to seeing the outcome!
Jackie Jackson (Beloit)I am a retired School Social Worker. I was in that position with the School District of Beloit for 32 years. I have been on the Board for at least 10 years. In the past I have served as committee chair for Publicity and Promotions. I am currently serving as the Conference Chair.
I have served on the Board for at least 10 years and would very much like to continue my service. It is very important to continue to build a base of support for school social workers and provide resources that assistance in allowing us to grow as a profession.
Susan Baumann-Duren (Sauk Prairie)Susan Baumann-Duren earned her Masters degree from UW-Milwaukee in 1994. She has been employed by the Sauk Prairie school district for the past 24 years. She has been supporting students in the district as a district-wide Social worker, ATOD and Homeless coordinator. Previous to her work in Sauk Prairie, she was a social worker for Jefferson and Dane county. Susan has recently completed her term on the State Superintendents AODA Advisory Council.
Susan has been a WSSWA board member for many years. She has been on the conference planning committee and is an area regional representative. She continues to enjoy being a member of the board and helping to further the work of social workers in school districts across the state.
Brianne Nillissen Mah (Kenosha)I obtained my MSW from UW- Madison in 2009 and completed my Post-Graduate School Social Work certification at UW-Milwaukee in 2010. I am currently a School Social Worker in the Kenosha Unified School district in a role split between the district teen parenting program and one of the high school positions. Prior experience in the field includes family preservation work with families involved in child welfare and working with teen parents in a foster care group home. In my professional and personal life, I strive for balance and am a proponent of self-care/reflection. I love being outdoors - running, biking, hiking, gardening, and working for a CSA. I also enjoy spending time with family/ friends and attending concerts and local community events.
As a School Social Worker, I value our multi-level professional role, including involvement in the local/larger community. I believe it is crucial to stay current with evidence-based interventions in our ever changing political and societal landscape. While serving on the WSSWA board for the last two years, I have enjoyed teaming with Social Workers across the state to discuss pertinent issues and advocate for best practices with the goal of moving our profession forward. I had the opportunity to serve as Membership Chair, a position involving ongoing learning with the goal of growing our organization. To continue serving in a board position would allow me to expand my learning, network with social workers, and share vital information with fellow Social Workers.
Naomi Adams (Marinette)I have been a school social worker specializing in mental health, SEL, child development and behavior interventions for over 20 years working with children and families in various educational settings. School Social Workers are the first line of defense in this current climate. We are the “arms” needed to provide early intervention and support to all of our students. I am currently a School Social Worker, Behavior Specialist and Parent Educator with Marinette School District. I am also a current board member for WSSWA, board member for Marinette County Children’s Programs, County Foster Care Liaison, and Marinette county and school district homeless coordinator. I am passionate about education and advocacy. One of my special projects for the past 10 years has been creating and implementing family education workshops/seminars and professional development in several public school districts. I combine positive psychology, mindfulness, child development and strengthening families. I am trained and experienced in utilizing “Second Step”, “Yoga Calm”, "Zones of Regulation" and a trained facilitator for "Strengthening Families". My main focus is to build relationships with the students, families and staff I work with. I believe that public schools are the great equalizer! We welcome any child with open arms no matter what their race, religion, or socio-economic level. My motto is "everyone deserves kindness". I currently reside in Green Bay with my 3 beautiful kids, my beagle, 2 cats, a of course a turtle!
As an advocate for all children and families dealing with many adverse conditions in their life, I believe that we have a great responsibility as a School Social Worker! We are often the voice and heart for the ones we serve. I joined the board of WSSWA 2 years ago as I wanted to be a part of helping not only grow our profession but also to help navigate self-care for each of us. This journey has evolved into an increase in SW and Mental Health knowledge for myself and our profession as I have increased my desire to support each and every school social worker in Wisconsin in any way I can. We need to support one another! If I am voted as a returning board member I am eager to be the delegate for SSWAA (our national SSW association) and take my passion and knowledge to the next level. Thank you all for taking the time to read this and I look forward to seeing you all at our fall conference!
Alex Schirmacher (Middleton)I graduated from UW-Madison Master’s program in 2010. Since that time, I worked two years in home hospice, three years in the Emergency Department at UW-Hospital, and started my first year in schools last year. While working in the Emergency Department, I went to school part-time to complete my School Social Work requirements. I spent the last three years as the secondary School Social Worker in DeForest Area School District. I am happy to start my fourth year as a school social worker at Middleton High School. Personally, I have an energetic, totally crazy Rhodesian Ridgeback named Tucker. He is my partner in crime and we can be found hiking at Devils Lake, enjoying a canoe ride, and reading a good book. I consider myself a life-long-learner and social justice advocate.
I would like to continue to serve on the board as I have found my time on the board to invaluable. I have really appreciated the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. I have been humbled to act as the treasurer the last couple years and hope to continue my services to WSSWA as the treasurer and board member.
Leah Kutschke (Monona Grove)My name is Leah Kutschke, I am currently a school social worker at a 4K-5th grade elementary school in Monona. My professional passions include restorative justice; trauma informed schools and practices; emotional regulation skills; and youth mental health. Within my building I serve as the facilitator of our Community Engagement leadership team; and at a district level I serve on our Mental Health team developing mental health supports and trauma professional development for staff. I am also a certified trainer for the Youth Mental Health First Aid program. Personally, my passions include hiking; biking; gardening; and spending time with my dog. I enjoy being outside in just about any way I can. I volunteer at the East Madison Community Center in Madison leading a girl’s development group for girls in grades 3-5. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and have been happily residing in Madison since!I would like to be a member of the WSSWA board to be more engaged with my professional community, and I am interested in learning more about how public policy affects the work that we do and how we can effect policies. I would like to be on the board to work with a dedicated group of social workers to improve the climate that school social workers work in; as well as to help social workers develop critical skills to do our work more effectively. I am interested in thinking of new and innovative ways to make our annual conference a meaningful experience for our members where not only is knowledge gained, but self-care and professional networking are prioritized. Finally, I am interested in being on the board because I am passionate about this work and want to use that passion to support and empower other Wisconsin social workers.
Shelby Wuebker (Gale Ettrick Trempealeau) I believe I am a strong candidate and would be a good representative on the board for several reasons. I have lived and breathed social work and helping others my whole life. Growing up with a sister that has autism allowed me to have a different perspective and accept people for the unique qualities they bring to this world. Being an Iowa native, I brought my experiences working for the Heartland Area Education Agency as well as direct care in group homes with me when I moved to Wisconsin in 2016. After moving, I immersed myself into a different culture through my work with the Ho-Chunk Nation's Higher Education Department.
In my current position as the School Social Worker for the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau School District, I have been able to broaden my knowledge and gain experiences by working with students of all ages across the district. In my unique position, I also have the pleasure of providing services through Trempealeau County Human Services in the Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) and Children's Long Term Support (CLTS) programs. It really is a unique position in which I am able to be a bridge for connecting students and families to resources in the community while also being the main contact for services through the county. I would be honored to serve on the board and share my ideas while also furthering my knowledge through collaboration with other board members.
Sara Lennertz (Madison)I have been a school social worker for the past 10 years. I started my career in Milwaukee Public Schools where I served as a bilingual school social worker at Allen-Field Elementary for 5 years. I then moved to Iowa City where I worked as a school social worker for Grantwood Area Educational Agency for 4 years. During my time in Iowa, I worked in a rural school district, suburban school district, and an urban school district. I returned to Madison, my hometown, last school year and started working at Sandburg Elementary in the Madison Metropolitan school district. Most of my experience has been at the elementary level and while I have worked in rural, suburban, and urban school districts, I have most enjoyed working in urban schools with bilingual or dual language programming serving more diverse student populations. In the last several years, I have spent time reading, self-reflecting, and attending trainings to deepen my understanding of history, racism, and white privilege in order to work towards being an ally at school with our students and families. I have been working with the school-based leadership team to also implement presentations and conversations as a school.
I really enjoy being a social worker and working hard to support students and families, teachers, and schools. More recently, I have felt like my daily work hasn't been enough. I want to be more educated around legislature that will directly impact students and families, teachers, school social workers, and schools. I want to do more work on a macro level to try to positively impact those I work so hard for and with.
Nicole Berry (Milwaukee)Hello! My name is Nicole Berry and I am currently a School Social Worker with Milwaukee Public Schools. I began working with MPS in 2007 and I simultaneously worked at 3 different schools. Presently, I work in a K-8 Montessori school and I have also worked in high schools as well. I also serve on the Labor Management Committee for the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association. In the beginning of my social work career, I worked with families living with mental health and AODA challenges. I also worked with Child Protective Services as an ongoing case manager and at Horizon House, a halfway house for women. My passion is working with children and families and facilitating changes that allows people to move through whatever challenges they may be facing. For fun I absolutely love line dancing!!!
The opportunity to develop my leadership skills is why I have applied for a board membership with the Wisconsin School Social Workers Association. Developing my leadership abilities would allow for continued advocacy for students, families and the social work discipline. I work with groups and facilitate various conversations with school leaders, staff, and families. This school year my responsibilities have increased; as such I would benefit from networking with other like-minded individuals. This is also my primary goal this school year. As a twelve-year School Social Worker for Milwaukee Public Schools we often work independently. However, I am learning that collaborating with other social workers enhances my communication skills and professional abilities. School Social Workers have a holistic or whole child approach as we focus on school, home, and community. I continue to learn various ways to empower our families while promoting the relevance of School Social Workers in all schools. Despite this, we all have areas that we would like to improve upon, and for me that is advocacy for our social work profession and the families we serve. I would be honored to serve on the Wisconsin School Social Workers Association Board to share and develop more knowledge.