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Delafield Neighbors

Toetz Family Appreciates Local Education and Beautiful Surroundings

Apr 22, 2014 08:41PM ● By Laura Ustanovska

Photo by Heart & Soul Photography

After years away, the Toetz family, Mathew, Rebecca, Alison (20) and Jacob (19), was anxious to return to the Madison/Milwaukee area. The family couldn't be happier to have ended up in Delafield.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education, Rebecca worked as a substitute teacher and then as a Title I reading teacher. “After two years, I was hired as a second grade teacher in the Madison Public School District,” she recalls. Mathew was also teaching in Madison at that time.

“My husband pursued a job as a school administrator and landed in Sparta, WI, as the director of technology in 2002,” explains Rebecca. And thus began the family's journey away from and back to the Madison/Milwaukee area, where they have family. In Sparta, Rebecca again worked as a second grade teacher that looped up each year to third grade (back and forth, teaching the same students for two years). During this time, she began working on a master's degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

“I completed my master's and certification in special education in 2005,” continues Rebecca. “Then, I started teaching in a multi-age second and third grade classroom and completed coursework at night and on the weekends at Viterbo University in La Crosse in order to obtain my administrative license, which I completed in 2011.”

After Alison graduated from high school, Rebecca pursued finding a job as a principal in the area where the family had always wanted to live. She met with success at Cushing Elementary School - Delafield, WI, where she has been the principal for two years.

Cushing is home to 460 students in grades 4K through fifth grade. “Our mission is to provide a strong educational foundation for all children by promoting an excitement for learning through challenging experiences in a safe, flexible, positive environment,” says Rebecca. Using student data, Cushing staff analyzes the interventions and enrichments they are using every six to eight weeks, giving them ample opportunity to adjust their instruction and create the best opportunities for students to grow. Along with focusing on strong reading and writing practices, Cushing staff worked to incorporate elements of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into its curriculum this year.

“Cushing feels strongly connected to the Delafield community,” explains Rebecca. “Students created the scarecrows that greet customers at local businesses. They also carve many of the pumpkins that are used in the grand illumination in October. St. John's Northwestern Military Academy - Delafield, WI honors veterans on Veterans Day, and our school is lucky enough to have a bagpipe player escort us to St. John's to be guests and performers at their celebration. Last year our kindergarten students constructed 'eco-friendly' tree ornaments for the holiday tree that stood in the center of town. Cushing students take regular field trips to the Delafield Public Library - Delafield, WI and utilize its resources. Delafield Arts Center - Delafield, WI is another location that our students enjoy visiting.” The artwork of Cushing students will be on display at the Spring Art Walk - start: 05/16/2014 - 05:00 PM on Friday, May 16.

“As the leader of Cushing, I am fortunate to feel the support and connection to the Delafield community,” adds Rebecca. “I love seeing Cushing students in my neighborhood, at scouting events and at the stores and parks, being the caring citizens that school, families and community have helped develop together.”

Besides her position at Cushing, which Rebecca is passionate about, her hobbies include going on runs with Mathew, hiking with Mathew and the family's dogs and trying new recipes for her family. “I also read a lot of fiction and books about education,” says Rebecca. “I am almost always reading two books at a time, one for my profession and one to let my mind escape into a mystery, romance or suspense.”

Mathew and Rebecca are very proud of their children. Alison is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is studying biology/pre-veterinary medicine. Alison hopes to go on to veterinary school.

Jacob is a Kettle Moraine High School graduate, who is now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He is studying computer science/applied mathematics and hopes to work in software development.

“Alison and Jacob have both gone on Habitat for Humanity Global Village building trips to El Salvador and Bolivia,” explains Rebecca. “Alison recently returned from a build with the UW-Madison Habitat chapter. Our family likes being involved with Habitat for Humanity.” Rebecca plans to go to El Salvador over the summer to work with members of the Dane County chapter on their tithe project.

The Toetz family also includes three important canine members – all rescued from shelters. Jaida is an 11-year-old Black Lab/Rottweiler mix, Charlie is a 12-year-old Collie/German Shepherd mix and Berkeley is a 7-year-old Chow-Chow/Shepherd mix. Glad to be back in Southeastern Wisconsin, the Toetzes take advantage of our beautiful surroundings with their animal friends. “We enjoy hiking with them at Lapham Peak - Delafield, WI and Neshotah Park,” says Rebecca. “We also walk around our neighborhood with them on a daily basis.”

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