Herb kohl teaching fellowship awards everest educators

Claire Gelhaus, Editor

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Mr. Matthew Cepress

Mrs. Dawn Bohm

Two D.C. Everest educators were recently selected for the Herb Kohl Teacher Fellowship Award for teaching excellence and innovation in the state of Wisconsin.

  Mr. Matt Cepress and Mrs. Dawn Bohm are both English teachers at the Senior High and Junior High, respectively, and each will receive a $6,000 grant.

  To be considered for the Fellowship, teachers must be nominated and then submit an application.

  Mr. Cepress is well known for his creation of the D.C. Everest Literary Magazine and assisting with the Memory Garden book in honor of Diane Look, and Mrs. Bohm is also a well established leader within the district, and has helped with Books on the Bus and Forensics.

  Mr. Cepress was nominated by English Curriculum Coordinator Ms. Kelly Thompson, and Mrs. Bohm was nominated by her principal Mr. McFarlane.

  Each candidate was required to submit three letters of recommendation, and write six 500 word essays.

  “The hardest part was giving people who do not know you, haven’t met me, haven’t been in my classroom, of like ‘this is the picture of this particular person,’” said Cepress. “It was exhausting and frustrating at times, but I weirdly liked getting to articulate these things that I didn’t always get a chance to.”

  Mrs. Bohm in contrast found the essay writing process not very difficult, as she could reuse old written works and had many projects to discuss, such as Books on the Bus.

  She plans to put the money into a fund to keep the Books on The Bus program going even after she retires, which started five years ago, and has branched out to include books in the Hmong gardens so that in the summers adults and children can read during gardening.

  Bohm was very surprised when the announcement email came, running to get colleague and author of one of Bohm’s letters of recommendation, Mrs. Moua so they could celebrate together.

     “I very much wish my mom was still with us to be able to witness [receiving the Herb Kohl Fellowship],” said Bohm. “I think this is one of the high points of my career, and it would’ve been nice if it could have happened a little bit sooner, but recent projects helped my application, and I might not have gotten the award without it.”

  Cepress plans to put the money back into Point of Convergence and to offset printing costs of the book and other student books. He is also interested in field trips, or money for different events, travel, a submission fee for workshops, a woodtype museum for printmaking, screenprinting, metal letters, trained staff.

  Cepress described being chosen as surreal and satisfying.

  “You put a lot of work into what you do, you try to make your classroom, and environment, and what you do the best you can, and I didn’t ever think I would win a teaching award, so there’s that sense of satisfaction and pride, and also I want to live up to it, I feel like I do a good job, I’m super flattered, but it also makes me go ‘be an award winning teacher every day.’”


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