A fourth school year has begun for University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Taylor Wilch ‘19, a teacher who received an early-career state honor this spring.
Wilch, a physical education teacher at Germantown High School, was awarded the Wisconsin Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (WACTE) Early Career Educator Award—presented for excellence in the first three years of teaching. She graduated from the UWO human kinetics and health education (HKHE) department with a degree in physical education.
“When I found out she won the award, I was excited for her,” said Alexander Mueller, professor in the HKHE who nominated Wilch for the honor. “Too often the extra things go unnoticed by others in the building because they do not know what everyone is up to outside the school day. It was nice to be able to present this award in front of the staff.”
Mueller said Wilch has immersed herself in more than just teaching within her first three years in the field—going over and above to provide unique experiences to her students.
Among them, she came up with the first adapted physical education community field trip and authors a monthly newsletter to increase family engagement.
“For my adapted physical education class I started a newsletter to send to the families of our students so that they can see the amazing work and progress our students are making,” she said.
“My colleagues and I also collaborated to create the first adapted physical education community field trip which was a huge hit! The first year we went sledding at a local park and this past school year we went bowling at a local bowling alley. The students have such a great time on the trips (and) are able to apply all the skills that they work on throughout the year in APE and their other functional skills classes.”
Wilch goes the extra mile, attending her students’ athletic contests and performances to bolster meaningful relationships and even volunteered to officiate the powderpuff football game during her school’s Homecoming.
Along with teaching at the high school, Wilch coaches track and field at Carroll University.
Mueller said Wilch has been “been putting her mark on the (high) school” with her extra effort inside and outside the classroom.
“Taylor is an outstanding teacher and we are proud of how she is representing her alma mater,” Mueller said.
Wilch, who was Taylor Sherry during her time at UWO, met her husband, Corey Wilch ’15, a teacher at the Oconomowoc School District, when they both were exceling on the UWO track and field team. Each won multiple National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) awards and set a number of school records.
The couple live in Milwaukee as they travel between their respective schools and Carroll University in Waukesha.
Wilch said she loves working with students and athletes, helping them achieve success. She said she owes a lot to her colleagues who have taught her a lot since her first year teaching.
“I was inspired to become a teacher and coach from all of the amazing coaches and teachers I’ve had throughout my life,” she said. “They all had such a huge impact on my success and who I am as a person today.”