|Left to right: Ruth Wood, Bonnie Jones-Witthuhn, Gail Possley, Tom Possley, Patty Hulne, and Don Leake|
Gail Possley is the unit's new president. Gail has been a member of WREA since 2008 and a members of RFAreaREA since 2014 after moving from the Wisconsin Rapids area to Baldwin. She received her undergraduate in speech therapy at UW-Stevens Point, later received a Master's degree from UWSP, and also earned certification as a reading specialist. She began her teaching career in Johnsburg, Illinois. She spent most of her career as a speech therapist and a reading specialist in the Pittsville School District. Gail has previously served as our unit's secretary.
Bonnie Jones-Witthuhn assumes the vice president's role. Bonnie taught English for 15 years at Prescott High School, her third career! She spent 20 years before that as a United Church of Christ pastor. She began her professional life as a social worker. Bonnie is now involved in a number of community activities. She was the moving force behind and serves as the board chair of Among Friends--a social respite program for individuals with dementia and their caregivers. That led her to a position on the Pierce County Human Services Board and to an appointment on the state of Wisconsin Department of Health advisory committee on aging. She also serves as the pastoral care minister for the Unitarian Universalist Church in River Falls.
Tom Possley continues his service to our unit by assuming a new role as treasurer and retaining his position as legislative representative locally and statewide in WREA. He also has a special connection to our new president (Gail is his wife!). Tom was a longtime resident of Wisconsin Rapids and a business education teachers in the Pittsville School District. He and Gail were members of the Wisconsin Rapids WREA unit before moving to Baldwin and joining our local unit in 2014.
Patty Hulne assumes her new duties as secretary. Patty has been a member of RFAreaREA since 2015. Patty and her husband Roger (our president for the past three years) are natives of North Dakota. They moved to Wisconsin 28 years ago, first to Shell Lake where Roger spent 9 years as superintendent of schools there and then to Prescott, where he was superintendent for 13 years. Patty spent many years running the household and raising their six children. She ran a licensed daycare in her home for 15 years. She then worked at Brown College in Mendota Heights in a variety of roles--as a student account representative, a default manager, and as a corporate employee for Brown. Patty has an associate's degree in accounting from WITC in Rice Lake. She and Roger are also the proud grandparents of four grandchildren.
Ruth Wood will be one of our unit's programming co-chairs. Ruth retired from UW-River Falls, where she was a professor English Education and literature. In that position, she taught English Education techniques and composition theory and also supervised student teachers in both Wisconsin and Minnesota school districts. She also taught course in international literature, American literature, and composition. Ruth got her Master's degree at Bowling Green University and taught high school English in Robbinsdale for many years before entering the Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota. Ruth now serves on the Pierce County Board and on several county committees, including health, aging, and WestCAP. Ruth has previously served as our unit's vice president and programming chair.
Don Leake will also serve as programming co-chair. Don retired from UW-River Falls, where he taught in the Math Department for many years. A native of Missouri, Don earned his BS and MS from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and DSc from Washington University. Don met his wife Ann as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Congo. He and Ann then re-upped with the Peace Corps, spending a year in Sierra Leone in 2016-17. They returned to River Falls for a year and then were off to Morocco during 2018-2019 where Ann taught English and Don enjoyed exploring the country and culture.
Laura Zlogar and Marylin Plansky will lead membership initiatives. If you would like to join them in this endeavor, please contact them. We need to make sure that retired teachers, support staff, and administrators know who we are and what we are about. We especially need to make some inroads in area school districts to increase membership from our public schools. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you would like to help with ideas, writing letters or postcards, making phone calls, or coming up with new ideas to get our message out.