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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Education and Human Services recently honored two alumni through the Professor for a Day program for their significant contributions to PK-12 education.

Jule Wydeven ’83 and MSE ’84
A native of Appleton, Wydeven has served as a school counselor for more than 32 years at Shawano High School and in the Kaukauna School District.

Wydeven dedicated her career to building leadership skills and positive self-worth in young people through a variety of programs, including Student Council, Positive Behavior Intervention and Support and Peer Mediators.

For the past 10 years, Wydeven along with the help of UWO practicum students, has trained roughly 40 fourth-graders to be peer mediators who use a four-step method to facilitate the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the playground with their fellow classmates.

As one of the founders of Kaukauna High Schools’ Gay-Straight Alliance, Wydeven has worked to help make the school safer while specifically addressing anti-LGBT behavior by empowering students to support, educate and advocate for all students.

Wydeven holds a master’s in education and bachelor’s degree in social work and a minor in psychology from UW Oshkosh. Although recently retired from Electra Quinney Elementary School and New Directions Learning Community, Wydeven has chosen to sub for a month for a middle school counselor on leave.

“I am very proud of my career and my educational roots. My work has allowed me to stay in contact with many wonderful UWO professors and students throughout the years. I have found the best, the brightest and the most prepared come from the UW Oshkosh counseling department,” Wydeven said.

Renae Swanson, associate professor and department chair for the professional counseling department, sees Wydeven as instrumental in the lives of UW Oshkosh’s counseling students.

“As a supervisor, mentor and leader of peer mediation training, Julie’s contributions to education, school counseling and counselor education are vividly clear and deeply meaningful to our department and our students,” Swanson said.

Steven Thiele ’04
A native of Manitowoc, Thiele began his career as a special education teacher in the Valders Area School District. Using his knowledge gained from UWO curriculum, Thiele established an emotional and behavioral disorders program for the middle school. The strong program continues to this day.

Thiele’s dual licensure in elementary and special education allowed him to then teach sixth-grade science for eight years. When it came time to renew his license, Thiele took the opportunity to pursue a master’s in education, studying the relationship between technology and content comprehension.

Shortly after completing his master’s, Thiele enrolled in the UW Oshkosh principal licensure program to become a change agent in the field of education. Upon completing the program in 2013, Thiele was immediately hired as the middle school principal at St. Francis of Assisi in Manitowoc, where he continues to make a positive impact.

Thiele holds a master’s in education from Lakeland University and a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from UW Oshkosh.

“I am honored to be chosen. My professors at UW Oshkosh helped shape the teacher and principal that I have become. The best thing I can say about the program is that I was well-prepared for my career in education.”

Karen Gibson, associate professor and graduate program coordinator, was not surprised that Thiele was offered an administrative position after completing the licensure program.

“Steven has dedicated himself to education and is always doing what is in the best interest of his students. He embodies the qualities and characteristics of an effective instructional leader,” Gibson said.

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