Waupaca teacher earns state award
Jungers named Outstanding Educator
By Robert Cloud
René Jungers received the 2020 Outstanding Educator Award.
The Wisconsin Association of Talented and Gifted (WATG) presented the state award to Jungers at its virtual conference held Oct. 18-20.
Christa Hemmila wrote the initial letter recommending Jungers for the award.
Her daughter Claire was in Jungers’ gifted and talented class for four years.
“My experience – and my daughter’s – with her was what motivated me to nominate her for this award,” Hemmila told the Waupaca County Post. “She is an outstanding educator and she truly cares about her students.”
Hemmila said Jungers meets the intellectual, social and emotional needs of her students.
“René Jungers is a dynamic leader in the gifted and talented field of education,” Hemmila wrote in her letter of recommendation. “She strives to build meaningful connections with all of her students while ensuring that all of their educational goals are individualized and comprehensive.”
Hemmila described Jungers’ approach to education as holistic and said she has, “a true passion for the gifted and talented program in her school district and continues to strive to create new programs for students in her classes while displaying cultural competency.”
In her letter, Hemmila said Jungers “routinely condenses and compacts classes and coursework for her students according to their learning needs while ensuring that each individual student is challenged at an appropriate level.”
Jungers also coaches the middle school chess club and is involved in forensics.
“René is a true inspiration within the field of education and is highly deserving of this prestigious award,” Hemmila wrote.
Laura Janssen, whose son Logan was in Jungers’ program at Waupaca Middle School for four years, also wrote a letter of recommendation.
“When a policy change effectively ended his ability to participate with the high school chess team, he was devastated until René stepped in and created a middle school chess team,” Janssen wrote. “In two weeks, they recruited a team, sourced equipment, organized practice times and space and were able to continue competing without missing a single tournament.”
When Logan was about to enter eighth grade, Jungers suggested he could benefit from an advanced course in social studies.
However, Waupaca did not offer the course at that time.
“Undaunted, she created one for him and a few classmates,” Janssen said in her letter to WATG. “Instead of following the traditional lesson plan, they looked at original source documents and discussed themes like individual liberty versus societal benefits. He was engaged academically and excited for every class.”
Janssen noted Jungers has created a safe environment for students at Waupaca Middle School.
“When my son experienced a few bullying incidents, she knew something was wrong before he said a word and she stepped in to help resolve the situation quickly and safely,” Janssen wrote.
Jungers also encouraged Logan to become involved in forensics.
“I am forever grateful that René Jungers was a caring, passionate advocate for my son during his middle school years,” Janssen said.