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Western Washington UniversityCommunications and Marketing
DATE: October 22, 2008 9:40:02 AM PDT
Wisconsin Council Honors Program Co-founded by Cyndie Shepard

Contact: University Communications, (360) 650-3350

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin PK-16 Leadership Council on Oct. 15 presented an award to the Phuture Phoenix Program, co-founded by Cyndie Shepard, as they recognized collaborative efforts that improve student transition in the PK-16 educational system in the state of Wisconsin.

Cyndie Shepard
Cyndie Shepard

Cyndie Shepard served as director and co-founder of the Phuture Phoenix Program at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She is the wife of Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard, who was chancellor at UW-Green Bay before coming to Western.

The award-winning Phuture Phoenix Program, launched in 2003, encourages students to graduate from high school and move on to higher education. It does so by bringing students from at-risk schools to the UW-Green Bay campus and by providing positive role models.

The Wisconsin PK-16 Leadership Council presented one of two Programs of Distinction awards for 2008 to the Phuture Phoenix Program. The Council's Programs of Distinction awards recognize effective practices in education in which collaborative efforts produce documented results in student learning or teaching practice.

"It was an honor to be present to accept this award on behalf of UW-Green Bay and the Phuture Phoenix Program, and I am pleased that Phuture Phoenix continues to receive attention for its timely efforts to encourage post-secondary education," said Cyndie Shepard, who attended the Oct. 15 event.

The Wisconsin PK-16 Leadership Council named UW-Green Bay's Phuture Phoenix a Program of Distinction award winner for 2008. The Council is made up of leaders of Wisconsin's government, state agencies, education sectors, professional associations, business and industry. Posing at the meeting were, from left, Rolf Wegenke, president, Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; Phuture Phoenix Director Kim Desotell; Associate Director Stephanie Cataldo Pabich; co-founder Cyndie Shepard; Daniel Clancy, president, Wisconsin Technical College System; Elizabeth Burmaster, state superintendant of public instruction, and Kevin Reilly, president, University of Wisconsin System.

She said she is exploring the possibilities of establishing a similar program in Washington State.

The Council noted that Phuture Phoenix mentoring activities between UW-Green Bay students and fifth- through 12th-grade students inspire at-risk, low-income, first-generation youth to focus on academic achievement, finish high school, and consider postsecondary education. Results after five years show improved achievement, reduced truancy, and it is hoped that this will also increase UW-Green Bay admissions, to be determined as the first fifth grade cohort graduates in 2010. Equally impressive is the impact on university students, many of whom enter teacher education as a result of their participation.

The Wisconsin PK-16 Leadership Council is comprised of leaders of Wisconsin's four educational sectors: PK-12 schools through the Department of Public Instruction, the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System, and the state's private colleges and universities through the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. The voluntary council works in partnership with leaders in business, industry, and government to enhance learning and learning opportunities throughout the state so that all students are prepared to live in and contribute to a vibrant 21st century society.

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