Kowalczyk is an alumna of UW–Madison, having earned a reading specialist license through the School of Education in 2005.
Kowalczyk was recognized for her work to bring an international perspective to her classrooms and community.
“Developing global competence takes time. Sandra captures and sustains middle school students’ attention through global literature and face-to-face opportunities to learn from people of other cultural backgrounds,” Carolyn Stanford Taylor, Wisconsin’s state superintendent of public instruction, said in a news release. “She is generous with her time, sharing successful practices with fellow educators here and across the world.”
Fellow teachers, parents, colleagues, friends, or students can nominate a teacher for the Wisconsin Global Educator of the Year Award, which recognizes those who provide high-quality learning opportunities for students and make exemplary contributions to the profession as it relates to global education.
In addition to her classroom use of literature to awaken social justice and cultural experiences, Kowalczyk brings international guests to the classroom and school community and facilitates the Go Global Club, an after school opportunity for students. A parent who supported her nomination noted that Kowalczyk prepares students to have the cultural curiosity, understanding, and skills needed to be a young global citizen.
A Wisconsin DPI news release about the award notes how Kowalczyk graduated from Wild Rose High School and traveled to the former Soviet Union at age 17. Since catching the travel-learning bug, she has visited five continents, gaining experiences and insights to share with her students. Her professional commitment to global education brings artists and authors into her classes and community. She builds relationships with schools abroad and shares her work through state, regional, national, and international education events.
Kowalczyk is a former Wisconsin Middle Level Teacher of the Year and serves on the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Council. She received the Association for Middle Level Education 2018 Educator of the Year Award at the association’s conference last October. She earned National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification in 2009 in Literacy: Reading-Language Arts/Early and Middle Childhood.
Information for this report comes from a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction news release about the Wisconsin Global Educator of the Year award