Know The District
We might be a little biased, but we think the people who work for the School District of Janesville are more than a little AMAZING! And once you get to meet them, we think that you'll agree!
But SDJ has nearly 1,500 employees -- so getting to know each one would be just short of impossible.
In an effort to get you started, we present this story series titled "Know the District." Included here is a collection of question-and-answer profiles that feature SDJ staff members at facilities throughout the district. These include teachers, social workers, principals, paraprofessionals, counselors, directors, food service workers, IT people and other front-line folks whose commitment to students is integral in helping shape our leaders of tomorrow!
So check these out, and come back regularly for new additions!
- Position and school: School counselor, Marshall Middle School.
- Hometown: Janesville, Wisconsin.
- Education: Bachelor’s degree, Social Work, UW-Oshkosh; Master’s degree, School Counseling, Concordia University.
- You have two hours of free time. What do you do? If it’s outside of the months of December and January, there is a really good chance I will be playing or practicing disc golf.
- You’re an accomplished disc golfer. How did you get into the sport, and what are some of your greatest achievements? I played a couple of times in high school, but I joined the college disc golf team the first week at UW-Oshkosh (where I attended college). They had a table during orientation week, and I signed up. Fifteen years later, here we are. I had several wins over the years, but the highlight would be winning the state championship and heading down to Emporia, Kansas, for Nationals.
Who is your favorite Muppet? Fozzie Bear is the best because he remains positive and continues to try despite multiple failures. He is also a great friend to others on the show.
- What was the very first job you ever had? I helped my brother with his paper route, but my first job was at Culver’s.
- If you could learn to do one thing, what would it be? I think I would pick video editing. I think it can be fairly complex to learn all of the details and possible options you can do, but I think it would be a useful skill in my daily life.
- What was your favorite subject in school? The simple answer would be to say Phy Ed, which I did enjoy. But if I dive a little deeper, I enjoyed a lot of sociology classes that I had over the years because of the discussions that would happen.
- Share something people would be surprised to find out about you. I have only ever attended one concert in my life. It was back in eighth grade at Riverfest in Beloit. I believe it was Shinedown and Evans Blue.
- Who is the person in history you would most like to meet? I think people always go with someone famous, but I think we know a lot about most of those people already. Therefore, I would pick someone in my family that I never got a chance to meet – my grandpa (my mom’s dad).
- Share one item at the grocery store that goes into your cart whether you need it or not. I’m a big fan of Combos. They tend to be my go-to snack.
- When did you decide you wanted to be a school counselor? When I had my internship during my undergrad. I worked with students that were often tardy or absent from school. After that experience, I knew I wanted to work in the schools, and I thought becoming a school counselor was my best path.
- Share something you find rewarding and something you find frustrating about being a school counselor. I think what can be rewarding is to see some of the positive changes that students can experience with your support. I think the frustrating part can be that, sometimes, students move on to high school, and you often lose touch with them.
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would go to Norway, because I am Norwegian. It looks amazing, and they also have lots of disc golf.
- Share the last good book you read or the last good film/TV show you watched. “Moon Knight” on Disney+. That has been one of the better shows I have watched in the last few years.
- What is your favorite food and your favorite place to get it? Mac & cheese from Noodles is my quick, go-to meal.
- When I think about it, the single coolest thing that has ever happened to me is: Several years ago, I was able to win a small jackpot in Las Vegas, which was pretty exciting on a $5 wager.
- Position and school: Counselor, Youth Services Center, School District of Janesville.
- Hometown: Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
- Education: Master of Science in School Counseling, UW-Whitewater; Master of Science in Community Counseling, Substance Abuse Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist, UW-W; Bachelor of Science in Sociology with minor in Family and Health Studies, UW-W.
- Family: Cooper (son).
- You have two hours of free time. What do you do? Pack it full of tasks. There is nothing more fulfilling than getting things done. I enjoy yard work and home projects both for myself and for others.
- What was the first job you ever had? My cousins owned and operated a family-run carnival business that provided amusement park rides and games for fireman’s picnics and other small-town events. Working for them was my first job. I made $25 a DAY.
- You are a professional snowboarder. How did you get into the sport, and what do you enjoy about it? I was introduced to snowboarding through an adaptive program called BOLD–Blind Outdoor Leisure Development. My career in snowboarding expanded from there. I became driven to advance the world of adaptive sports while pursuing my own professional riding. The joy of helping others that often didn’t have the same accessibility as able-body athletes fueled my love of snowboarding. As much as I enjoy snowboarding myself, the most satisfaction for me comes from being part of others’ snowboarding experiences.
- You are also an Air Force veteran. Have you always been interested in joining the military, or was there a particular reason you signed up? Watching 9/11 unfold as a middle school student had a profound effect on me. Since then I have wanted to serve my county and be a part of something larger than myself. The honor and pride of wearing the uniform is something that you feel through your whole body, and my service is something that I am very proud of.
- You spend a great deal of time volunteering to work with other veterans who take part in adaptive sports. Explain what adaptive sports are and why they are so important. Adaptive sports are competitive or recreational sports for people with disabilities. Adaptive spots often run parallel to traditional spots. However, they allow modifications and adaptations necessary to assist a person’s disability area. I feel passionately about adaptive sports because I believe it is a therapeutic tool. My mental health background helps me see that adaptive sports programs aid in rehabilitation, improve mental and physical health along with promoting healing and a supportive recovery process.
- If you could learn to do one thing, what would it be? I would love to learn Spanish. I have tried a few times with no success. If anyone has a sure-fire way to learn, please send it my way!
- What was your favorite subject in school? Physical education! Who doesn’t love to play dodgeball?
- Share something people would be surprised to find out about you. I have an irrational fear of snakes. I’m positive they have extreme athletic abilities and can bite me even when I am on my mountain bike.
- Who is the person in history you would most like to meet? Harriet Tubman. The impact she made on our country is noble, and she is someone I would cherish speaking with.
- Share one item at the grocery store that goes into your cart whether you need it or not. Pringles. It’s always a need.
- When did you decide you wanted to be a school counselor? I worked in the mental health sector for some time before recognizing my passion was working with at-risk youth. After only three years in the mental health field, I returned back to grad school to pursue my master’s in school counseling. My desire was to start interventions earlier with the goal of promoting healthier adults.
- Share something you find rewarding and something you find frustrating about your job. I absolutely love the students I work with and having the ability to build connections with them. One frustration I have is only being able to do so much for them. Students are at a vulnerable age – one that needs consistent and reliable support.
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Ireland. I have been there but hope to return. It felt like around every curve it became more and more beautiful.
- What is your favorite food and your favorite place to get it? I love Chinese food, and really any place will do! I am open to suggestions!
- When I think about it, the single coolest thing that has ever happened to me is: Teaching my son to snowboard, though he has a few things to learn. For 3, he’s tearing it up!