MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction today announced Wisconsin’s representative to the National Teacher of the Year Program is Lori Danz, a biology teacher at Superior High School and the school forest coordinator for the district.
Danz has more than 20 years of experience in education, and earlier this year was among a group of five educators named 2023 Wisconsin Teachers of the Year. She was selected to be the state’s representative for the Council of Chief State School Officers’ National Teacher of the Year Program by a committee composed of educators and representatives from partner organizations.
“When I first met Lori, I was so impressed by her ability to inspire her students to think critically and creatively about the natural world around them. We had the pleasure of visiting the school forest with her students, and I agree with them – there really is something magical about learning science in the woods,” State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly said. “After seeing her passion for outdoor education and how she builds community in her district, I am so excited that she is going to represent Wisconsin educators at the national level.”
As the coordinator of the school forest in the Superior community, Danz has worked to make improvements to the forest since its creation, making it a place for students and educators to enjoy outdoor education. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she set up a camera system for classrooms across the district to observe the forest virtually and created various video lessons for classes.
“Being named Wisconsin’s representative for the National Teacher of the Year program is a very emotional experience,” Danz said. “This recognition validates not only my years of working as an educator, but just as importantly, it recognizes and validates all the talented and generous teachers who I have had the opportunity to work with. There has never been a more important time to be an educator, as we face not only the recent and alarming teacher shortage nationally, but also as a time to work together with our families and community leaders to address a recent, divisive culture. We have to focus as one, on our children.”
As Wisconsin’s National Teacher of the Year representative, Danz will receive $6,000 from the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation, and will participate alongside other state representatives in various professional learning opportunities provided by the CCSSO. A National Teacher of the Year is selected from the group and travels nationally and internationally as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession.