Meet a Few New Members of the Prairie Community

McKenzie Weaver, Director of the SRC/Librarian

WeaverMcKenzie comes to us from Germantown, Tennessee, where she and her family lived for the past four years. Her daughter Emma is enrolled in second grade with Mrs. Leinweber. McKenzie acquired a Bachelors in Education and Masters in Learning, Design and Technology from the University of Georgia. She has over eight years of teaching experience with children in grades Pre K-12.

Why did you choose Prairie? Why education?

I chose Prairie because it appeared to be a challenging and positive environment. I appreciate the high expectations set for students and faculty alike, and I was impressed with the emphasis placed on character development as well as the academics. The openness to new ideas and/or exploration of possibilities were attractive as well.

After working with adults for many years, I found that I while I enjoyed what I was doing, I was still missing something. I have come to love the energy, surprise, and creativity that come from working with children of all ages.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the light bulb that goes off in a child eyes when he or she grasps a new concept.  It is that moment when a student feels empowered with newly acquired skills that allow him or her to move forward independently.  Those light bulbs moments are what pushes me every day as I guide students.

What interests you outside the classroom? What are you passionate about?

Outside of the SRC, I am happiest being just that – outside.  I love to hike, bike, garden, and of course, read.  Being new to the area, I am spending a lot of time with my family trying new restaurants and attractions.

What were your first impressions about Prairie?

My first impressions of Prairie came from two perspectives – as a parent and as a potential employee.  As a parent, I was amazed by the courteous, professional manner of the faculty members, impressed by the behavior of the students, and pleased with the high expectations set for all.  A little while later, I was able to look at Prairie as a potential employee as well.  It was at this time that my first impressions were reinforced, and I was able to see some of the hard work and strategies in place to create such an environment.


Dori Panthofer, Athletic Department Administrative Assistant

DoriDori joined Prairie as a parent last August. Her daughter, Laura is a current 10th grader  and her son, Henry, is a current 7th grader. Early this summer, she joined the Athletic Department and supports Sandy Freres, students, coaches and visitors. She acquired a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing, and when not working part-time, she runs her business as a marketing consultant in the Milwaukee area.

Please share a bit of your background.

This June and after 34 years in sales, 18 of which I owned two businesses, I decided to retire. Currently, I’m a part-time independent contractor for AIM Resources – a company that provides relocation services to prospective hires and transferees which serves the Milwaukee metropolitan area, Racine, Kenosha and northern Illinois. I’ve been a member of the Junior League of Racine, where I received the Volunteer Excellence Award and Spirit of the Year Award. In 2013, I was also recognized by The Volunteer Center of Racine for my contributions to the community.

Why Prairie?

Excellence. Prairie’s goal is to provide the best education to each student, and I wanted to be a part of it. At Prairie, staff and students alike encourage each other to think outside of the box and to reach beyond what the individual student believes is possible. Peers celebrate each others successes and are eager to help each other be successful. Students and staff recognize and appreciate that we are all unique and strive to provide the best learning environment. This is truly a remarkable interdisciplinary school. Prairie is everything we wanted for our children. The 7A’s approach, amazing sense of community, welcoming and inclusive nature of the school are just a few of the qualities that make The Prairie School truly exceptional.