Dear Parents and Friends of Prairie,
This school is a unique and special place, and the thing that makes it so remarkable is the people. Our faculty is made up of hard-working, brilliant, passionate and committed individuals, all who are responsible for making our community so great.
As Commencement approaches and we put the finishing touches on a successful year, I write to share the bittersweet news of those faculty members who will be departing this summer. Whether retiring or leaving to pursue a new adventure, one thing is absolutely certain – our school has become a stronger institution because of their contributions.
Please join me in thanking these dedicated professionals for their efforts on behalf of, and commitment to, our students. We urge them to stay in touch and we wish them all health and happiness in their next stage of life.
Also, I’m pleased to announce numerous faculty members who have accepted new positions here at TPS – we can’t wait to have them get started in their new roles.
Dr. Nat Coffman, Head of School
Colleen McCarthy | Early School Teaching Assistant | 32 Years of Service
For over three decades, Early School families have benefitted from Colleen’s sense of humor, collaborative nature and work ethic. Colleen created the Prairie Educare Program (PEP) that would evolve into the extended day program now known as Early Day and Stay & Play. In the program’s early days, she worked all day in the classroom before running PEP in the evenings. In retirement, Colleen hopes to serve TPS as a substitute assistant is already at the top of our list.
Tracy Waters | World Language Teacher/Department Chair | 26 Years of Service
The consummate professional who always has her students’ best interests at heart, Tracy served as World Language Department Chair for the past seven years while teaching French. She is singlehandedly responsible for the continuation of the French program, most notably through the vibrant, fun PS French Nights and Upper School French Club. Tracy also designed and implemented Prairie’s French exchange program, including 13 student trips to France and Quebec.
Cathy Marbach | US Social Studies Teacher | 25 years of service
From Humanities Chair to faculty advisor to the Cum Laude Society, Cathy’s commitment to TPS is evident by her constant willingness to volunteer and lead. She has lead Model OAS and Model UN delegations to Chicago and UW-Parkside throughout her entire career. Additionally, she has served as faculty chaperone and coach for students participating in Geography Bowl, and coordinated Rubicon Atlas, the school’s digital curriculum project.
Kathy Hart-Braun | PS 1st Grade Teacher | 17 Years of Service
A believer in infusing all aspects of the school day with kindness and compassion, Kathy has been beloved by Primary School students and families alike for nearly two decades. She has served as Student Council Advisor in the PS, as well as Chair of the Character Development Committee. Further, she is the creator of the mobile Character/Leadership Library and the Kindness Board of Recognition.
Rebecca Greasby | Theatre Director/Drama Teacher/Department Co-Chair | 11 Years of Service
To say the Performing Arts program has thrived under Rebecca’s direction would be an understatement. From Leaving Iowa to Addams Family to James and the Giant Peach Jr., 2015-16 offered audiences a thrilling slate of performances under her leadership. As the Performing Arts Department Co-Chair, she has also overseen the Upper School One Acts and coached the debate and forensics teams.
Debby Goyette | 7-12 Learning Specialist | 7 Years of Service
A senior learning specialist on the TPS Compass Team, Debby has collaborated with other team members, teachers, students and parents to implement ideas designed to help students reach their maximum potential. Her love for – and commitment to – the school was demonstrated by her decision to postpone retirement for a year until TPS was able to secure an outstanding replacement to continue her work.
Dominic Inouye | US English Teacher / Department Co-Chair | 7 Years of Service
As Capstone Project Advisor, Dominic was responsible for helping this year’s seniors engage in meaningful, yearlong research in an area of their choosing. He also served as Co-Founder & Co-Coordinator of C.L.A.S.S. (Character, Leadership, Accountability, Sustainability, Service), helping students take on projects and initiatives to help expand their worldview. Additionally, he served as Co-Chair of the English Department (grades 6-12) for the past four years and created the innovative RAFT curriculum in 9th Grade English.
Chris Fusco | Director of Development | 4 Years of Service
Chris led numerous Development initiatives while at TPS, including the Imagine, Inspire, Transform campaign which built the Ruud Soccer Complex, renovated the John Mitchell Theater and also renovated the Middle and Upper School science labs.
Hilary Rinke | Art Teacher/Department Chair | 3 Years of Service
A creative visionary, Hilary continued Prairie’s longstanding commitment to visual arts during his time as Art Department Chair. From glassblowing to throwing clay, his talents are many and his students will miss his master instruction. He also served as advisor to Prairie’s yearbook, Etcetera, the past three years. A veteran of independent schools prior to his arrival at TPS, he will be teaching elementary art near Wausau next year.
Allena Berry | US Social Studies Teacher | 2 Years of Service
An alumna of the TPS Middle School, Allena excelled during her stint as an Upper School teacher for the past two years. She piloted this year’s successful lab school project between Racine’s SC Johnson Elementary and her Intro to Psych Class. Leaving TPS to pursue doctoral studies in Northwestern University’s prestigious Learning Sciences program, she hopes TPS will one day become a lab school for her future research.
On the Move
We are pleased to announce that the following Prairie employees have accepted new positions at the school.
Alan Mills, MS social studies teacher and department chair, has been named the new varsity girls’ basketball coach. Mills takes over the girls’ program after having served as the boys’ junior varsity coach since 2003.
Lynn Zobel is moving into the role of MS Administrative Assistant from her prior role as Executive Assistant to the Head of School and Human Resources.
Mari Grobschmidt has been named the new Learning Specialist for grades 7-12. She previously served as a Primary School senior teacher in 3rd Grade.
Kirsten Cousin has been promoted from Associate Teacher to 3rd Grade teacher.
Stephanie Hoffman is moving from part-time PS Educational Assistant to full-time Early School Educational Assistant.
Mark Winnen, formerly a long-term PS substitute, has been named Rotating Educational Assistant.
Gail Axelson, formerly a long-term PS substitute, has been named part-time PS Educational Assistant.
Carol Schmidlkofer has been named Advancement Administrative Assistant, moving from her former role as the MS Administrative Assistant.