The 7th Annual SUMMER SUMMIT took place on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021 at Sun Prairie High School (and via Zoom for virtual participants).

Universal 2021 Summit archive/resources:

Schedule with recordings and resources:

9:00-9:50 Morning Meeting featuring Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly and Governor Tony Evers + welcome from Mayor Paul Esser, Sun Prairie Area School District Superintendent Brad Saron, Board President Steve Schroeder and Vice President Bryn Horton, Sun Prairie educator and Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Chris Gleason, and Wisconsin Public Education Network Executive Director Heather DuBois Bourenane

10:00-11:15 Breakout 1 (see below for sessions)

11:30-12:00 Keynote: Closing the Gaps with Keron Blair, Executive Director, Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools
(Video clip from full plenary/keynote recording)

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:15 Breakout 2  (see below for sessions)

2:30-3:45 Breakout 3  (see below for sessions)

4:00-4:30 Critical Conversation: Closing the Gaps with Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings and Dr. Kevin Lawrence Henry, Jr.
(Video clip from full plenary/keynote recording)

4:30-4:45 Pre-recorded message from Senator Tammy Baldwin

4:45-5:00 Call to Action + Closing Remarks: Wisconsin Public Education Network: Announcement of Drawing winners and presentation of the Changemaker of the Year Award

Breakout 1

1A. VIRTUAL SESSION:  Closing the Gaps Nationwide: Advocacy Lessons from Around the Country. Panel of advocates from Arizona, Indiana, Mississippi and more! Nancy Loome, The Parents’ Campaign, Mississippi; Sharon Kirsch, SOS Arizona; Julie Larrea Borst, Executive Director, Save Our Schools NJ Community Organizing and Board President, NJ Community Schools Coalition; Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer, President, Indiana Coalition for Public Education; Mary Sinclair, Game On for Kansas Schools

1B. Where are we now? Budget & Legislative Updates with policy experts & Capitol insiders. Chris Thiel, Legislative Policy Manager, Milwaukee Public Schools; Kim Kaukl, Executive Director, Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance

1C. HYBRID/VIRTUAL SESSION: Preventing Weight Stigma and Disordered Eating in Schools. Laurie Cooper Stoll,  Professor and School Board Member University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the School District of La Crosse; Jessica Sprengle, MA, LPC; Stephanie Campbell, Ph.D. Candidate, School Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Kathryn Draper, LEO Program Coordinator, CW Solutions, LLC (Awaiting video)

1D. Closing the Gap in Literacy Instruction: Best Practices from Scholar Practitioners. Dr. Cathy Toll, Center Director; Faculty Member, UW Oshkosh Center for Literacy Educators & Leaders; Dr. Kathryn Allen; Dr. Katrena Leininger; Dr. Chelsea Faase, all faculty members at the UW Oshkosh Center for Literacy Educators and Leaders

1E. Seize the Moment! Preparing to Push for Robust District-Level Nondiscrimination Policies. Elisabeth Lambert, Attorney, ACLU of Wisconsin; Hope Owens-Wilson, ACLU of Wisconsin

1F. Gaps in White Racial Consciousness. Tasha O’Malley, Teacher and Equity Team Member, Sun Prairie Area School District

1G. Understanding Hunger in Families and the Importance of Child Nutrition Programs. Ashley Best, Community Nutrition Program Manager,Hunger Task Force – Milwaukee; Bard Meier, Educator, Hunger Task Force

1I. Using the Science of Math to Close Learning Gaps. Misti Trowbridge, Principal & Director of Student Services, School District of Thorp; Amanda VanDerHeyden (Cancelled)

1J. Closing the GAP:  Public Schools-Public Health-Public Education Advocates. Sandy  Whisler, President, Citizen Advocates for Public Education; Samroz Jakvani, Jefferson County Health Department Epidemiologist; Pam Streich,  Jefferson County Health Department; Dr. Tonya Olson, District Administrator, Lake Mills Area School District

1K. Empowering Students to Rise. Jacqueline Gonzalez Reyes, Chief Executive Officer and Founder JGR Consultancy (No session)

Breakout 2

2A. VIRTUAL SESSION: School Finance 101. Bob Soldner DPI; Dee Pettack, DPI

2B. Vouchers and Charters: What are they and how do they work? Dr. Julie Mead, UW-Madison

2C. Talking to Early Learners about Race. Ashley White, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, UW Madison

2D. Closing the Gap with Legislators. Jim Bowman, Coordinator; Patti Clark-Stojke; Ann Cattau; Nancy Jones; Marcia Engen; all with Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education (Awaiting video)

2E. Doing Social Justice in Schools While Navigating Resistance. Laurie Cooper Stoll, School Board President, School District of La Crosse; Aaron Engel, School District of La Crosse Superintendent (Awaiting video)

2F. Using “The Science of Reading” to Close Achievement Gaps and Raise Achievement for All Students. John Humphries, WI CARE: Call to Action for Reading Excellence; Misti Trowbridge and Pati Montgomery

2G. Closing the Efficacy Gap with Questions. Ryan Champeau, Innovation Coach & Mentor,  Secondary School Redesign (Awaiting video)

2H. Understanding and Applying the Neurodiversity Paradigm to Provide Respectful Supports for All. Katy Hayes, Student Services Coordinator, Oconomowoc Area School District; Allie Tasche, Sheboygan Area School District

2I. Everyone Needs to Own Equity – Our Journey in Helping Create an Inclusive Equity Team for District (Central) Office Support Staff. Chandu Vemuri and Michele Vollmer, Administrative Assistants, Sun Prairie Area School District

2J. Closing Gender and Equity Gaps in Educator Pay. Peggy  Wirtz-Olsen, Vice President, Wisconsin Education Association Council; Mendy Dorris, WEAC Region 6 Director; Elizabeth Fernandez

2K. VIRTUAL SESSION: Closing the Gaps in Voter Turnout: Ensuring that Youth Become Voting Adults. Wendy Heyn, Voting Outreach Advocacy Specialist Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition/Disability Rights Wisconsin; Jenny Neugart, Disability Community Organizer, Board for People with Developmental Disabilities

2L. “Disabling Inequity” in Wisconsin Schools. Joanne Juhnke Advocacy Specialist – Special Education, Disability Rights Wisconsin; Lydia Hartlaub, Special Education / Victim Advocacy Specialist, Disability Rights Wisconsin

Breakout 3

3A. VIRTUAL SESSION: Beyond Vouchers: Legislation to Watch. Sharon Kirsch and Melinda Iyer, SOS Arizona

3B. Close the Gap Between what Voters Want and Legislators Do. Janine Edwards, Wisconsin Public Education Network partner; Myra Enloe, Women Voters Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign; Mel Barnes, Law Forward; Carlene Bechen, Fair Maps Coalition

3C. Amplifying your Message by Getting Organized and Building an Advocacy Team. Martha Siravo (Madtown Mommas and Disability Advocates President), Anna Hauser (MTMDA Secretary), Margarita Rubio (MTMDA Vice President), Mattie Reese (MTMDA Treasurer), Beth Ivankovic (Past Eau Claire Special Ed. PTA SEPTA President), Dan Grandone, WiLD (Wisconsin Leadership Development) Project

3D. Wisconsin’s Unfair and Inadequate Funding System: Background, Progress, Next Steps.  John Humphries, Executive Director; and John Gaier, WI Association for Equity in Funding (AEF)

3E. College Prep: Racist Structures in High School. Heather Price, Assistant Professor, Marian University

3F. Building Community Through Joy. Jamie Racine, Community Schools Program Coordinator, Sun Prairie Community Schools; Sun Prairie Community Schools Site Coordinators: Stacy Darga, Tenisha Winn, Shenika Moss (Awaiting video)

3G. Creating School Communities of Belonging through Children’s Books. Andrea Bernstein, Associate Director, Milwaukee Jewish Community Relations Council; Rona Wolfe, Early Childhood Educator and Consultant (Awaiting video)

3H. Excellence Gaps: How to Narrow Them through Anti-Racist Gifted Education. Pamela Clinkenbeard, Past President; Professor Emeritus, UW-Whitewater    Wisconsin Association for Talented & Gifted; Jackie Drummer, Past President, WATG; Christina Gomez-Schmidt, advocacy committee member, WATG, & school board member, Madison Metropolitan School District; Dr. Sharon Alexander, Director of Advanced Learning, Madison Metropolitan School District; Dr. Maria Katsaros-Molzahn, Advanced Learning Specialist, Oregon School District; Dr. Scott Peters, Professor of Educational Foundations, UW-Whitewater; Dennetra Williams, STAR Coordinator, Boys & Girls Club.

3I. Closing the Gaps for LGBTQ+ Students. SJ Hemmerich, Ph.D. candidate and former Welcoming Schools Facilitator and art teacher, and Phillip Edmonds, educator, Madison Metropolitan School District (Not recorded) 

3J. Educator Self-care and Living a Balanced Life. Pam Klein and Kalise Horst, Educator Self-care and Well-being Consultants, Steeping Wellness, LLC (Cancelled)

3K. Families and Schools Together: Time is Now.  Lynn McDonald, Founder, Families and Schools Together; Toni Rivera-Joachin, Executive Director; Molly McGowan, Program Director; Dr. Lisa Marion Howard, Principal, Engleburg, Milwaukee; Rachael Wichgers, Indian Community School, Franklin, WI

Wisconsin Public Education Network held its 7th Annual Summer Summit, hosted by the Sun Prairie Area School District, on August 2, 2021 at Sun Prairie High School (with a limited virtual participation option). Registration is just $25/person, which includes lunch for in-person attendance.

  • Summer Summit: Monday, August 2, 2021 8am-5pm, followed by (optional) dinner reception at The Loft in Sun Prairie, catered by Salvatore’s, which is also $25.
  • Equity in Action Leadership Circle – an optional six-week learning & action-planning opportunity for educators, board members, school leaders and community advocates on the Summit theme – CLOSING THE GAPS.  Sessions will take place virtually on June 17, June 24, July 15, 22, 29 and August 5 from 7-9 pm. Participation is FREE with Summit registration, through the generous sponsorship of the Department of Public Instruction.  Attendance at the Summit is expected of all who participate in the Leadership Circle.
    • Districts and organizations sponsoring staff/member participation include Sun Prairie, Green Bay Education Association, Lake Mills, La Crosse, McFarland, Oregon and WEAC Aspiring Educators

August 2 Summer Summit Schedule (subject to change)
See the full schedule at-a-glance for the 2021 Summit here–includes notes about which sessions will be available for the limited virtual participation option. Subject to change.

8:00-9:00     Equity in Action Leadership Circle Breakfast: (for participants in pre-summit leadership circle only)
8:30-9:00     Morning Mingle! Networking, Breakfast and Event Overview in virtual “lobby”
9:00-9:50     Morning Meeting featuring
                       Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly
                       Governor Tony Evers  
                       Welcome from Sun Prairie Area School District  and Wisconsin Public Education Network 
10:00-11:15   Breakout
11:30-12:00   Keynote: Closing the Gaps with Keron Blair, Executive Director of Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools
12:00-1:00     Lunch catered by the award-winning Salvatore’s Tomato Pies! (included with registration)
1:00-2:15       Breakout 2
2:30-3:45      Breakout 3
4:00-4:30 Critical Conversation: Closing the Gaps with Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings 
4:30-4:45 Senator Tammy Baldwin
4:45-5:00     Call to Action + Closing Remarks: Wisconsin Public Education Network
                      Announcement of Drawing winners, and presentation of Changemaker of the Year Award
5:00               Adjourn to dinner reception sponsored by WEA Trust
at The Loft at 132 (132 Market St.), catered by the award-winning Salvatore’s Tomato Pies – with door prizes & special guests!
                      Dinner is included with Blue Ribbon Partner ticket! Dinner tickets available in advance or at the door.

Dinner at The Loft, catered by Salvatore’s, will take place after the Summit. The dinner is sponsored by WEA Trust, and tickets are $25.

Lunch menu: piece of fruit, a soda or water bottle, chilled farro salad with grilled Spanish chorizo, grilled chicken, and market vegetables, with a smoked tomato vinaigrette. (vegetarian and gluten free options available)

The 7th Annual Wisconsin Public Education Network Summer Summit is hosted by the Sun Prairie Area School District, with support from the Sun Prairie Action Resource Coalition (SPARC) and Support Sun Prairie Schools.

The welcome reception is free and open to all!

Special thanks to our 2021 Summer Summit Sponsors:
Department of Public Instruction
Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) Region 6 
WEA Trust
Wisconsin Education Association Council
AWSA (Association of Wisconsin School Administrators)
Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools
Bray Architects
Kobussen Buses Ltd.
Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA)

Want to join this list and show your support of Wisconsin’s students and their public schools? Contact!


We are looking for full baskets, individual items, gifts cards, book bag sponsors and more to help liven our day and raise funds to support local action for strong public schools!  Link for donating to the 2021 Summer Summit Auction & Drawings:


Arriving the night before? Live nearby and want to maximize your networking? Join us at our a welcome reception Sunday, August 1, at Buck & Honey’s. 805 Liberty Blvd, at 7pm for an informal socially distanced gathering in the Tap Room and outdoor patio seating available. Note: masks required indoors.

A conference rate is available for a limited number of rooms for both August 1 and 2 at two area hotels:

Hilton Garden Inn, 1220 S Grand Ave, Sun Prairie, WI 53590. Conference rate: $139/night – must book by July 5. Book online[ using the code WEN. To make reservations by phone, call the Hotel Front Desk at 608-856-4500 and mention the group name “WI Public Education.”

Quality Inn and Suites, 105 Business Park Drive, Sun Prairie, WI, 53590, US. Conference rate: $95/night + tax (double queen) based on double occupancy (additional $10/person if you have more than 2 guests). To book, call (608) 834-9889 by July 3 – ask for Neel and reference the Wisconsin Public Education Network or email

We anticipate that by August 2, enough people will be fully vaccinated and our COVID infection rates under control enough to feel safe attending an in-person event. Every precaution will be taken to ensure our Summit is safely distanced and all district guidelines, including the required use of masks, will be followed. If you are not fully vaccinated or prefer not to gather in person, a limited virtual option will be available, and we are prepared to move the entire event to a virtual conference if necessary. In the event that we have to cancel the dinner due to public health concerns, “dinner only” tickets will be refunded. NOTE 07/27/2021: The majority of registrants have indicated that they prefer to attend in person, so the most robust version of the Summit will be the in-person option. We encourage all who are vaccinated to join us at Sun Prairie High School if possible. MASKS REQUIRED.



A special message from Charlie Berens of Manitowoc Minute for supporters of Wisconsin public schools:

THANK YOU to all the participants, presenters, sponsors, and the local planning team for making our 6th Annual (and first virtual!) Summer Summit a success!

You can view Wisconsin Eye footage of the plenary, keynote & featured panels here.

Click here for the full schedule!

Click here to access our #VotePublic action toolkits:!

6th Annual Summer Summit – July 24, 2020: ONLINE

  • SUMMER SUMMIT REGISTRATION is closed for 2020! The ,6th annual Summer Summit, hosted by Sun Prairie Area School District
  • This year’s theme was Public Education and Democracy: what civic engagement really means in and to our schools, and how we can work together to defend the most essential pillar of a strong democracy – a sound public education!
  • Guest speakers included Governor Tony Evers, State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor, Despite the Best Intentions author Dr. John Diamond; Charles Franklin, Marquette University; Angela Lang, BLOC (Black Leaders Organizing Communities, and many more!
  • Thanks to our partner districts and education associations who provided professional development opportunities and sponsored staff/members to attend!
  •  Facebook event here.
  • The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and the fiscal agent of the Wisconsin Public Education Network. Your donation to WAES supports the work of the Wisconsin Public Education Network and local level action with statewide impact.

This event was held online using the Run the World platform! Run The World is a revolutionary all-in-one online events platform that enables engaging online experiences through videos. We bring hallway conversations, fireside chat, cocktail parties, and roundtable online to engage and connect relevant people worldwide. Run The World enables a new type of online event where attendees can actually socialize, meet new people, and have those serendipitous experiences.

Here are some things for registrants to know about this virtual platform:

– Run The World will link attendees to the Summer Summit via email before the event begins. It will prompt you to sign up or sign in and direct you where you need to go. Please make sure that you register using the same email you used to register in Eventbrite (the email address we sent this message to).

– If you’re curious and want to explore the platform before the Summit, you can visit the Run the World YouTube page containing video tutorials. This is not necessary to be able to participate.

– If you have both a smartphone and a computer available, we recommend signing into the event on both devices.
The email you receive from Run The World will allow you to sign in on your browser.
To sign in on your mobile device, download the FREE Run The World Events app for AppleGoogle, or Android.

Here’s why: watching sessions on your computer will allow you to see presentations in all their glory, while using the app will give you simultaneous use of the social features–starting private messages with other audience members, continuing follow-up conversations with people after a session is over, and more–all at the same time.
Feel free to use only one device, but using both the app and the browser will help you maximize your experience!

NOTE: all in-person events for the Summit have been cancelled, including the dinner and welcome reception. We have postponed our invitation to Keron Blair of the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools until he can join us in person!

past Summer Summit archive:

5th Annual Summer Summit – August 5, 2019: La Crosse

Our 5th annual Summer Summit was held at La Crosse Central High School. See the schedule and event details at https://summersummit2019.eventbrite.comClick here to see the full program

Past Summit archive:

August 1, 2018: Appleton

Our 4th Annual Summer Summit was held at Appleton North High School and hosted by the Fox Cities Advocates for Public Education. Agenda included keynote speaker Jitu Brown, a plenary panel with members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding, special guest Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, a morning welcome from Superintendent Tony Evers and 28 breakout sessions! PLUS: silent auction, a #VotePublic workshop & much more!

See our 2018 Summer Summit photo album here and click here for the full program.  Scroll down for presenter materials and news from the Summit, and click here to view photos and Wisconsin Eye footage from the event.

Presenter materials and resources.

2018 Summit cover-2

August 2017 Summer Summit: Lake Mills

Over 350 people attended our 3rd annual Summer Summit in Lake Mills, hosted by CAPE (Citizen Advocates for Public Education) and the Lake Mills School District, for a full day of workshops, presenations, and the Wisconsin Premier of the film “Backpack Full of Cash,” with a conversation with the filmmakers. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL AGENDA  and click here to see our 2017 Summer Summit resource page with videos and descriptions of sessions.


August 2016 Summit, Wauwatosa

Our 2nd Annual Summer Summit featured a full day of workshops and strategy breakouts led by Wisconsin public education advocates and experts, featuring keynote presentations from Rev. Dr. William Barber II and John and Tashia Morgridge, and a special welcome from Dr. Tony Evers, Superintendent of Public Instruction.  CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SCHEDULE!

Wisconsin Eye footage:

Tony Evers interview 8/24 (mentions WPEN partners in opening)

Wauwatosa Hosts Statewide Education Summit:

Public School Leader Worries about “Haves” and “Have-Nots”

School leaders push for more K-12 public school funding. Public Education Summit held in Wauwatosa

August 2015: Middleton

Our first annual Summer Summit was held at Kromrey Middle School in Middleton.