Marci Waldron-Kuhn

Position: High School Social Studies Teacher/Academic Advisor

School: Mishicot High School

School District: School District of Mishicot

City, State: Mishicot, Wisconsin

About the Nominee: Marci Kuhn was nominated by her superintendent, Colleen Timm. Ms. Kuhn has dedicated her career to transforming her school district. Mishicot's mantra is, "Every Student, Every Day, Success," and because of the work that Ms. Kuhn has helped to lead, the Mishicot community doesn’t just say those words, but believes in them and acts with fidelity in accordance with them. Every student matters, and the district is committed to delivering excellent opportunities so that each student may achieve excellent outcomes.

Mishicot High School is a recognized leader in preparing all of its students to be college and career ready. At one time, thirteen percent of its students were undecided in terms of future plans at the time of graduation. Today, that number is 1%, meaning that almost all students have decided on a well-explored and well-thought out plan that corresponds to their interests, aptitudes and goals. MHS students not only explore colleges and careers through tours, but they explore careers through Careers on Wheels, Reality Store, Career Expo, Transitional Job Fair, Project Mini Chopper, job shadows, mock interviews and the Youth Apprenticeship. Every student of every ability is exposed to a wide variety of career options and opportunities. Furthermore, students and parents are uniquely engaged in discussion of career options in meetings during fifth, eighth, tenth and 12th grade.

Mishicot High School has a strong and well-established structure to support students in the development of their career portfolio. MHS students tell a rich story about their opportunities to define their interests and abilities, as well as to explore the lifestyle they want to live in the region where they want to live. Some students will participate in a required job shadow experience only to reject a career choice. Some will participate in a second job shadow to explore a new career option, or they'll participate in other tours, presentations, discussions and means of exploring to settle on a different career choice. All MHS students earn college credits prior to graduation from high school, so all students have an opportunity to explore college as an option and pathway to career choices. When MHS students leave with six credits in welding and choose to either continue their formal education toward a technical college diploma or enter the workforce immediately upon graduating, the staff and administration is confident that students have made a purposeful decision to pursue this career instead of following this path by default. These students are graduates who will bring added value to the local workforce, resulting in better employee retention by the school's business partners.

Students at Mishicot High School participate in Advisement Groups throughout their high school career. Students are assigned to groups with 10-14 of their grade level peers and work with an MHS faculty member as their Advisor. During advisement, students participate in guidance lessons to develop skills to ensure success in high school, develop a Career Portfolio and connect with the MHS community, creating a positive environment to learn and grow. By senior year, students at MHS have had a comprehensive opportunity to develop their Career Portfolio and make the connection between educational experiences and career goals. The Career Portfolio contains biographical information, assessments, career exploration and planning, employability, records and awards, job shadowing and reflections and artifacts from courses throughout high school.

Ms. Kuhn has been instrumental in this work. She was an integral leader in envisioning her school's work with Academic and Career Planning and building it, and she continues to be an important leader in sustaining it. In the early days, Ms. Kuhn led her colleagues in the implementation stage. She led them in such a manner that today, every staff member is a vested member in working to ensure that students are college and career ready. Today, her colleagues are strong leaders themselves, but Ms. Kuhn still coordinates their work and facilitates their success. MHS is continuously striving to grow its capacity to ensure the success of every student. Additionally, she has been sought after as a resource by other organizations and districts as they seek to learn from her practices.

Her leadership in career preparation has been recognized through prestigious awards and invitations to present at regional, state and national level conferences.

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