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Julie Tess-MichekMiddle School Reading and Math
Phone: ext. 325

My journey into the world of education began twenty-eight years ago—following graduation from UW-Madison—with my first assignment as a volunteer teacher at an inner city school in Washington, D.C. After a year of inner city experiences, I traveled to the Deep South, where I served the next two years as a volunteer for a small school in rural Mississippi. Combined with my education, these two unique and diverse settings shaped the teacher I am today and reinforced my belief in the vital importance of quality education.

Upon returning to Wisconsin, I accepted a teaching position in a place I did not even know existed, a charming little community nestled in the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin called Highland. Having grown up in the similarly small town of Edgar, it did not take long for me to embrace my new home. Twenty-five years later, I continue to enjoy my life here as a middle school teacher, as a wife, and as a mother of three children enrolled in the Highland District.

Seven years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to help establish the Highland Community Middle School, a project-based/place-based public charter school focusing on community and 21st Century skills. Our learning experiences take us beyond the four walls of our classroom to the shores of Blackhawk Lake, the banks of Big Spring, and into the homes of long-time residents who share their wisdom and knowledge of the rich history of Highland. We appreciate the value of community and frequently welcome community members to join us as experts and mentors. In collaboration with our community partners, and most importantly with the leadership of students, we have developed numerous outdoor learning areas including a prairie, butterfly gardens, a school forest, and most recently a rain garden (which is definitely a work in progress).

I feel truly fortunate to be part of the Highland Community Middle School team, and look forward to another year of learning, sharing, and growing together