Menomonie Middle School English teacher Ralph Haas has been selected as a 2022 Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Teacher Fellow. Mr. Haas was one of 100 teachers in Wisconsin to receive this honor and will automatically become a Wisconsin Teacher of the Year candidate.
The Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship recognizes educators who have demonstrated a superior ability to motivate students and inspire a love of learning in them and for the leadership and service they provide both in and outside the classroom.
“Working with students is my passion - whether in the classroom, on the court, in a club, or just in the hallway or cafeteria,” said Haas. “I am blessed and honored to be a teacher.”
After being nominated by a teaching colleague, Mr. Haas had to complete a nomination form and submit three letters of recommendation from co-workers or community members. As stated in one of the letters of recommendation:
Ralph has displayed an amazing talent for connecting with students and forming lasting relationships. In education, this is one of the most important aspects of helping students learn. He is able to make students feel comfortable and want to come to school. It is not uncommon to see Ralph laughing and engaging with students inside the classroom or in the halls. When talking to graduates of Menomonie High School, they often cite Mr. Haas as one of their favorite teachers who taught them many life skills and made learning fun. His fun personality, mixed with his knowledge and expertise, makes him an outstanding educator.
"Mr. Haas is one of our most dedicated and caring professionals. He is a leader in our school and community,” said Bart Boettcher, middle school principal. “We are so proud of Mr. Haas, and he is so deserving of this award."
Mr. Haas has been teaching for 33 years, 23 of those years as an English teacher at the Menomonie Middle School. In addition to teaching, you will find him announcing at various Menomonie school district events and volunteering in the community. He serves as a cantor and religious ed instructor at St. Joseph Catholic Church and spends time volunteering at Stepping Stones.
“My educational philosophy is centered on the student. Students need to feel valued in school, and they need to see growth in their learning,” said Haas. “Students learn best when they feel they are important and appreciated. I want my students to know I care and that I enjoy what I do.”
Mr. Haas and the Menomonie Middle School will each receive a $6,000 grant. Neither has decided what will be done with the money, although several ideas and projects benefiting all students and the school are being considered.
The Kohl Foundation award program was established by Herb Kohl, philanthropist and businessman. Since 1990, the foundation has recognized educational excellence and has awarded more than $28.3 million to Wisconsin educators, principals, students, and schools.