Mike Werdeo was nominated by colleagues who wish to remain anonymous.
Mr. Werdeo has been a science teacher at Antigo High School for 22 years and has had a significant impact on student education within his school and district. For many years, he has worked together with community and district members to develop a learning center at the school forest. With his leadership, funding has been secured through the school district to upgrade the facilities on the property. A new outdoor classroom structure was built in 2000. This upgrade has given all students in the district the opportunity to participate in authentic, hands-on environmental learning activities. Students taught by Mr. Werdeo are enlisted to teach at the many learning stations. Many of them learn to become mentors as they work with elementary school students during the year.
Mr. Werdeo’s desire to activate student learning does not stop at the classroom door. He has served as the lead advisor for the Student Council for a decade. Additionally, he was awarded the Region I Advisor of the Year by the Wisconsin Association of Student Councils. His efforts focus on developing leadership and teamwork. Student Council plays a vital role in the yearly planning of events and activities at the high school level, and Mr. Werdeo’s leadership has generated much success. He facilitates the student planning and works together with his team of advisors to assure high quality activities for the community.
"Both school forest planning and student council advising require someone who is able to model leadership, integrity, and high expectations. Mr. Werdeo encapsulates these traits, each and every day. Because of this, he is frequently invited to mentor our new staff members," his nominator said. "Mr. Werdeo has played a critical role in supporting new educators as they get to know the students, school, and community. Regardless of the new challenges public education has experienced over the past few years, Mr. Werdeo continues to be a leader and role model for all."
Mr. Werdeo's educational impact goes well beyond his teaching discipline. The relationships he builds with students allow him to help mold values associated with learning and service to others.