By Hannah Bensen, Current Staff
Some people always knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew. For Karen Wysocky, it was clear to her that she wanted to become a teacher.
On Monday, May 4 in the auditorium, Karen Wysocky was chosen for the 2015 Rolfs Teacher of the Year for demonstrating the qualities of a great teacher.
Wysocky has been the choral director at the West Bend High Schools for 29 years. She has developed a wide reputation with her students and staff members for being a brilliant instructor and director.
“I was one of those people that always played school. It was something that I knew from early on. I loved going to school, I loved the classroom experience, and that was always my number one goal, to be a teacher,” Wysocky said.
Even so, Wysocky said it was “humbling” to receive the award.
“The quality and level of her program and the students she’s taught over 30 years reflects the choice for this year. She’s set a high standard for teaching and working with students in the building,” principal Bill Greymont said.
Wysocky teaches several sections of choirs, including two audition choirs called Concert Choir and Vivace.
Classes are just a fraction of what Wysocky does for the choral program. Wysocky is also the musical director, directs the Madrigal Dinner, teaches private lessons, and is also very involved in Solo and Ensemble, a choral competition that allows students to receive choral awards and get feedback on their musical talent.
These extra-curriculars require a huge amount of additional time, which Wysocky says is the hardest part of her job. Yet every production that Wysocky has led has been well-received.
“It increases the pride in the school with the great reputation we have in the arts community,” Greymont said. “It takes a lot of effort to produce a quality show or concert. When you’re a choir director, or band director, or coach, you’re being judged every single time you go out in front of the public. She far exceeds [expectations] all the time.”
Whether it’s in class or in an extra-curricular, Wysocky said that she hopes to instill “a love for music, a good work ethic, and a passion for what you’re doing, [even if it is] not related to music.”
When asked about her future plans, Wysocky said that she plans to retire in the next couple years and hopes to teach at the college level.
“I’ll do something with teaching, I know that. I’m not ready to give it up totally,” Wysocky said.
(Images: Karen Wysocky leads her third period choir class on May 21. Photographs courtesy of Shelby Larson.)