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Brzinski wins world language award

October 29, 2013 | 01:10 PM
GENEVA — Woods School Principal/Superintendent Ed Brzinski will receive the 2013 Anthony J. Gradisnik Award Nov. 2 at the Wisconsin Association for Language Teachers in Appleton.

The award recognizes those who show enthusiasm and advocate language education in international education and early language learning, as well as those who create language education initiatives.

Brzinski was nominated by Jeanine Kopecky, Woods world languages and cultures teacher.

In her nomination letter, she wrote that Brzinski taught Spanish in middle school for 20 years and become an advocate for starting a world languages program at the elementary-school level.

In 2012, that goal became a reality. Woods began the world languages and cultures program, which is offered to students in the K-8 district.

Kopecky charted Brzinski’s progress in establishing the program.

“There was no world language program when Mr. Brzinski came to the school in 2009,” she stated. “Working without a budget for world languages, Mr. Brzinski collaborated with the (Woods) parent group to bring international awareness to the school through ethnic themes and lunches, established a before-school Spanish Amigos program, invited students from the high school to give French lessons as an elective opportunity at the end of the school day for middle school students and encouraged a parent to come into classrooms to practice Spanish once a week.”

Brzinski “set cultural awareness and early language learning as priorities,” Kopecky stated. He also “pioneered efforts to establish heritage language classes for native Spanish speakers” and helped lay the foundation for a “school-within-a-school” program for alternative education students.

“Mr. Brzinski has truly set a precedent in the state with his vision, his diligence and his success in providing a comprehensive and innovative world languages and cultures program for students, reflecting the values held so dear to Mr. Anthony J. Gradisnik,” she stated.

Kopecky stated that, aside from being a tireless advocate for world cultures, Brzinski “has made things happen,” starting from nothing.

“My children have benefited from this program, the children of Woods School have benefited, our community has benefited, and I believe our ever more closely connected world will benefit as these children reach adulthood,” she stated.

A feature about Woods’ world languages and cultures program appeared on the Aug. 30, 2012, edition of the Regional News.


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