Milton West Elementary School first-grade teacher Mackensie Wade has been selected as an honorable mention recipient of the 2020 NBC15 Crystal Apple award. That distinction came earlier this month. The Madison-based television station produced an on-air “shout-out,” featuring recipients, including Wade, on May 6.
Some 650 teachers were nominated. Of that group, 20 were selected as honorable mentions and five were selected as winners. A parent or community member nominates recipients of the award, Wade said.
A parent of a student struggling with grief after losing family members nominated her, Wade said.
Wade described her student as “super special,” and from a “fabulous family.”
“The mother wrote that school was not just about reading, writing and math, but about the whole person. These were super growth years,” Wade said, noting that her student had come “a really long way in all areas of … life.”
She was “surprised and happy” to be recognized with the award, she said, adding: “I always love it when teachers and my colleagues are recognized. I never really imagined I’d be nominated, and when I figured out who nominated me, it became even more special.”
A Milton native, Wade graduated, along with her husband, Ryan, from Milton High School in 2003. The couple has three sons.
Wade graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2007 with a teaching degree specializing in early education.
Wade said she knew she wanted to be a teacher while she was in middle school.
Influenced by her father, Ken Lohff, who served as the executive director of Kandu Industries, a nonprofit organization in Janesville catering to the needs of adults with disabilities, now retired, Wade said she initially thought she wanted to work with special education students.
With many special needs students integrated into classrooms with their peers, she said, she is able to touch a full spectrum of children.
Wade began her teaching career in Evansville, where she taught for eight years before joining the Milton school district.
While at Evansville, she taught second grade for four years and kindergarten for four years.
She has been a teacher at Milton West for five years. She has served as a kindergarten teacher for four years and teaches first grade this year.
“I’m getting kids in my class who have parents who I went to school with,” she said.
Of working with children, she said: “I like to pick their brains; I like to get into the different personalities of kids.”