School of Education honors two area teachers

April 17, 2015
Jessica Soots, left, receiving her award from WCTE President Dr. Melanie Agnew.
Pictured left to right are Christopher Brown, building principal at Neil Wilkins Elementary School in Platteville; Connie Valenza, superintendent; Jessica Soots; Dr. Lindsay Hollingsworth; and Dr. Karen Stinson

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville School of Education recognized two area teachers at an awards ceremony on Sunday, April 12, at the Concourse Hotel in Madison, Wis. The Wisconsin Association of Colleges of Teacher Education sponsored the event.

Jessica Soots, a kindergarten teacher at Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center in Platteville, was recognized for excellence as an early career teacher. She is a 2012 graduate of UW-Platteville and has been employed at Neal Wilkins Elementary School for two years.

“Jessica effectively differentiates instruction to meet the needs of the diverse learners in her class; provides explicit, purposeful instruction to her learners; and often supports them in small group and one-to-one settings,” said Dr. Lindsay Hollingsworth, assistant professor of education at UW-Platteville. “Jessica’s kindergarten classroom fosters a community of respect and she is willing to support pre-service teachers by welcoming them into her classroom as observers and participants.”

Jill Ingersoll, fifth grade teacher at Southwestern Elementary School in Hazel Green, Wis., was recognized for her outstanding work with pre-service teachers, though she was unable to attend the event.

Ingersoll has been a teacher in the Southwestern Wisconsin School District for 32 years. She has both her undergraduate and her graduate degrees from UW-Platteville. She has hosted eight UW-Platteville pre-service teachers in her classroom as student teachers and countless others as observers and practicum students. 

“Jill is always willing to open her classroom to teacher education students,” said Dr. Karen Stinson, director of the School of Education at UW-Platteville. “She is a wonderful mentor and role model for our prospective educators. Pre-service teachers in Jill’s classroom comment that she is very helpful, flexible, receptive, and extremely supportive.”

This is the second year that the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education has sponsored the Early Career and Mentor Teaching Awards. This year, more than 175 people attended the event. Forty-six awardees were recognized and sponsored by nine UW campuses and 14 privates. Thirty awardees attended the event with 119 family members and friends.

WACTE is a professional organization composed of the Wisconsin institutions that prepare individuals for teacher licensure. Its teacher preparation programs offer diversity in size, focus and delivery, but all are designed to prepare quality teachers for Wisconsin’s schools. WACTE is an affiliate of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

As UW-Platteville pursues its vision of being recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities and empowering each individual, it is guided by four strategic planning priorities. The recognition of two area teachers aligns with three of the priorities, including providing an outstanding education, fostering a community of achievement and respect and enriching the tri-state region. 

Written by: Laurie Hamer, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191,


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