Valley Christian School Teacher Surprised with Award

Shannon receives a rose from each kindergartener in her current class.

Shannon receives a rose from each kindergartener in her current class.

Wisconsin’s Private School Teacher of the Year was announced today at a surprise student assembly at Valley Christian School, leaving veteran teacher Shannon Van Scyoc speechless with delight from the honor.

In addition to being surprised by the presence of her husband, two children, their families and a dozen more friends, Shannon was presented with a plaque from WCRIS and an unrestricted award of $3,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation.

She was also presented with a rose from each kindergartener in her current class.

Abbie Pavela, Communication and Outreach Coordinator of the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools (WCRIS) made the announcement today during the surprise all-school assembly.

“Shannon’s career as a kindergarten teacher for the last twenty years demonstrate the traits of an exemplary educator: she is, in no small way an overachiever, she is a creative problem solver who finds ways to reach even the most challenged student, and above all else genuinely cares for each child in her classroom” Pavela said. “WCRIS is thrilled to promote outstanding educators. Our schools are full of teachers like Shannon. Their hard work is what makes WCRIS schools extraordinary.”

Shannon was selected from among the 14 WCRIS 2017 Kohl Teacher Fellowship winners. This year, Senator Kohl increased the Teacher Fellowships from $3,000 to $6,000 per winner.

This is the second opportunity that private schools have had to select a Private School Teacher of the Year. Wisconsin has had a Teachers of the Year program for nearly a decade, which is supported by the Foundation.


Shannon (left), holding her WCRIS plaque, poses with Kim Marggraf from the Kohl Foundation

In talks with WCRIS, the Foundation agreed in 2015 to support the creation of a Private School Teacher of the Year award that would be similar to the public school award program, including the element of surprise.

WCRIS worked with the Kohl Foundation and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) last year to learn from their existing process and create a selection panel of WCRIS representatives who could review applications.

The panel of diverse private school representatives from around the state met in March, together with the DPI’s panel, to select the public and private school teachers of the year. This year the awards are being announced to line up with Wisconsin Teacher Appreciation Week.

Shannon has been a kindergarten teacher at Valley Christian School for over twenty years. She is supported in her work by the school’s head administrator, Brad Dunn, and principal, Sean Freund. The school is part of the Association of Christian Schools International.

She is very active in the community, giving presentations and guest speaking at local organizations about her teaching and life experiences, as well as assisting in providing meals for those in the community in need.

Shannon is a true servant leader and represents excellence in education for Wisconsin’s private K-12 schools.