Whitewater middle school math teacher to represent WI in National Teacher of the Year program

MADISON (WITI) — Diana Callope, an eighth-grade pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry teacher at Whitewater Middle School and Wisconsin’s 2014-15 Middle School Teacher of the Year, will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year program.

“Diana Callope loves her subject, mathematics, and that enthusiasm inspires her students and colleagues,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “She will be a great representative of Wisconsin’s teaching force in the National Teacher of the Year program.”

Callope was named Wisconsin’s Middle School Teacher of the Year in a surprise ceremony at her school in September. She received a Kohl Teacher Fellowship last spring. As part of the honor of representing Wisconsin in the National Teacher of the Year program, Callope will receive $6,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation. Established in 1990 by U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (retired), the foundation’s various award programs have given $8.98 million to Wisconsin educators, students, and schools since its founding. The total award Callope will receive from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation is $10,000.

“Educators deserve recognition for the important work they do preparing our young people to take their place in society and the workforce,” Kohl said. “My support of the Teacher of the Year program demonstrates the profound respect I have for teachers and their continuing quest to help all children achieve.”

Callope stresses the importance of connections and “becoming a significant, motivating adult” in the lives of her students, inspiring them to “learn anything.” A parent noted how effective Callope is at keeping students focused and engaged even for an end-of-the-day algebra class. “Diana began by solving an equation in one variable, modifying it slightly by introducing a second variable and making connections between the two, noting the similarity of their solutions. All along, students were encouraged to provide steps in solving the equations. ... Diana was engaging, clear, and concise in her explanations, patient in her interactions with students, and transparent in her enthusiasm for a subject that students don’t always enjoy.”

Her “Eighth Grade Reality Fair” provides students an opportunity to gain experience with personal finance,
budgeting, and taxes. Additionally, students learn about identity theft, insurance, and financial planning. The
Homework Zone, and after-school tutoring program, offers middle school students assistance from high school,
college, and peer tutors through a collaborative and supportive environment.

District Administrator Eric Runez noted that Callope’s dedication to providing students challenging
learning opportunities has both strengthened the middle school math program and the district as well. “Due to her
efforts, almost half of all incoming ninth-graders over the past eight years are enrolling, and more importantly,
succeeding in either Geometry or Algebra II as freshmen.”

Callope holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She earned a
master’s degree in teaching through Aurora University in New Berlin. She has been in the Whitewater School
District since 1992.

Callope is one of four Teachers of the Year chosen to represent Wisconsin’s PK-12 teaching corps for the
2014-15 school year. The others are Sarah Franson, a first- through third-grade teacher at Irving Elementary
School in West Allis, Elementary School Teacher of the Year; Carla Kuffel, a pre-algebra and algebra, precalculus,
and accelerated math teacher at Cameron High School, High School Teacher of the Year; and Andrea
Pasqualucci, a school social worker at Valley View Elementary School in Ashwaubenon, Special Services Teacher
of the Year.