Two Racine Unified educators, one from St. Catherine's and a program of the Racine Kiwanis Club will receive the Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce Excellence in Education Awards.
Kathy Dunkerson, director of the Lighted Schoolhouse Extended Day Program, is Administrator of the Year. With RUSD since 2002, she leads the after-school program that serves 1,100 students in 22 buildings. These programs focus on children and who need extended school time for academics and for building social skills.
In the nomination, she was cited for her commitment to closing academic achievement gaps and giving students a safe place to continue their school day. “Sure, we can do that” isn’t just an expression for her, it’s a powerful point of view.
Jill Dickert, a math teacher at McKinley Middle School who joined RUSD in 1978, is Teacher of the Year. She was cited by her peers in the nomination “as a math teacher, as an advocate, as a leader and as a coach”. At McKinley, Dickert helped to develop the Lighthouse Program for Gifted Children and recently helped form an elementary level of the International Baccalaureate Program. As Jill says, “ All children can learn and all future citizens need to know how to think.”
Sister Rosaire Lucassen, Guidance Counselor of the Year, earned accolades from the students, educators and parents of St. Catherine’s High School.
She began her career with a Ph.D in Psychology and taught at Dominican College before coming to St. Catherine’s 22 years ago. She encouraged hundreds of teenagers to success in colleges and careers. Parents wrote that Sr. Rosaire deserves “a great deal of credit for guiding our sons in the right direction.” “Sr. Rosaire is a wonderful woman of God, extremely intelligent, compassionate, and a wonderful advisor.” The larger St. Catherine’s family all agreed, “We love and respect her…. And will remember her forever.”
The Program of the Year is “BUG” – Bringing Up Grades – sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Racine. The program provides recognition to students who raise their grades and encourages them to develop good study and learning habits. The program is offered at three RUSD elementary schools -- SC Johnson, Goodland, and Schulte -- in 57 classrooms to 1,300 students. Each child sets individual achievement goals and every success is shared.
“Because of the Kiwanis belief in our students, and their dedication to our community, coupled with their support for our teachers, they have made it possible for us to enrich our curriculum and help children do their best.”
The awards will be presented on Thursday, Feb 25, at the annual RAMAC Excellence in Education banquet at the Racine Marriott.